· Crossing my first border (legally) by foot. I’m not going to lie, it was a little intense, a lot of hasslers and insolent immigration officials, but we crossed successfully! We also got our visas renewed for another 90 days (one of the reasons for the trip). Perfecto!
· Trying probably one of the most random sports near Leon, a colonial city in northern Nicaragua. Volcano boarding entails hiking up Cerro Negro (a small volcano) and then sledding down the ash on a contraption that looks like a sled. The tour was complete with orange jumpsuits, goggles, and a couple of wipe outs on the way down. It was also topped off with one of the most fun four wheeling adventures I have ever been on and some very minty mojitos back at the hostel. I was still cleaning out black ash out of my hair and ears days later.
|The five volunteers (aka Power Cinco) looking like escaped prisoners prior to boarding down the volcano|
· Hiking the smaller volcano on the island called Magdalena. It was an 8-hour hike in total up through the rainforest ending at a crater lake covered in clouds at the top. It was beautiful and left the five of us, muddy, sore, and ready for bed at 9 pm!
|The view of Lago Nicaragua and the bigger volcano Concepcion on the island from our hostel|
· Going to Playa Maderas- the home of the Nicaraguan surf competition and having some of the best fish tacos I have ever eaten. It’s always an adventure watching the surfing crowds and the people the sport attracts. Since the surfing competition was taking place the day after we were there, it was too crowded for us to try surfing. One day though!
|The beach close to our house in San Juan del Sur|
· Riding on a variety of buses and never knowing what to expect. Whether it was a charter bus almost breaking down on the way to Tegucigalpa, a school bus complete with a plasma T.V. blaring Latino music videos in northern Nicaragua, or standing in a packed city bus through Managua with the door constantly flinging open, there is never a dull moment traveling in Central America.
|The Power Cinco at a little French cafe we found in Leon, it was so delicious we went there twice in less than 24 hours!|
Nicaragua was a great trip and just another reminder of the abundant beauty here. We met a lot of interesting people (locals and tourists), had a lot of fun as a group (maybe a little too much fun at times!), and I could not be more thankful with how the trip went. I am so lucky to have a great support group here and while the trip was wonderful, I am also thankful to be back in the tranquility of Santa Lucia and the countryside.
P.S. Right now I am reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. If you are looking for a good read, I would highly recommend it! Thinking of you all!