Skip to content

Nicaragua: Managua and Popoyo

December 6, 2011

After Barra De La Cruz, we travelled through southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras over three days by bus. The buses, run by Ticabus, were clean and comfortable, with A/C and a toilet. The toilet was not as horrendous as we’d been warned; you just need your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. There were even movies played during the ride; some were English with Spanish subtitles, and some were dubbed in Spanish. They were great for practising our Spanish comprehension.

Managua was a little jarring after being in the tiny, laid back town of Barra. The bus station is in the middle of a bad neighborhood with many reported muggings, where you need to take a taxi at night and it’s even sketchy to walk during the day. Strangely, many budget hostels are located in the area, and we were only staying two nights, so we chose a hostel 2 blocks from the bus station. As soon as you get off the bus, aggressive touts who are paid a commission by the hostels start harassing you and trying to convince you to go to one of their hostels. They’ll tell you the one you’ve chosen isn’t safe or as nice as the ones that they work with. They grab your bags and try to “help” you. We were happy we knew which hostel we were going to, though it was still hard to get our bearings with those guys on our tail.

We chose a hostel called Los Felipes at $20 US a night with fan and private bathroom. The rooms were not bad, but the grounds are really pretty.

We are addicted to gallo pinto, a side of rice mixed with black beans, that’s ubiquitous in Nicaragua:

We walked up the Loma de Tiscapa, a hilltop lookout over the city. The view was pretty, and there was a small attached exhibition about the history of Augusto Sandino, a revolutionary who fought against government corruption and US control of Nicaragua. Ulysses, a guide who works at the Loma, gave us an informative and interesting rundown of Sandino’s life story.

There’s a huge metal silhouette at the top of the hill, which is supposed to be where Sandino was murdered.

One day in Managua was enough for us, so we took the bus and a cab to Popoyo, a small town on the beach about 2 hours south.

We had considered knocking Nicaragua off our travel list because we’re hitting it in the small-wave season, and had heard conflicting information about whether there would be waves at this time of year. We decided to try it since we’d never been here, and WE ARE SO GLAD WE DID!!! Popoyo is beautiful, quiet, deserted beaches, undeveloped, and with very consistent, uncrowded waves. We surf Popoyo, a reef break with rights and lefts, at least once a day, often twice a day. We’ve surfed another wave called Santana a couple of times. It’s a super fun, fast, short, barrelling ride. the waves have been head-high to one or two feet overhead.

In between the two breaks is a giant rock that looks like a battleship, called Magnific Rock:

We’re staying in an apartment with private bathroom (no kitchen), on gorgeous grounds, called NicaWaves. The owner, Mike, is incredibly thoughtful and accommodating. There’s an on-site restaurant with an extensive, very reasonably priced menu. It’s a 10-minute walk to Popoyo, and a 30-minute walk to Santana from our apartment.

We’ll be sticking around here in Popoyo until the waves get flat, or a bit closer to Christmas, whichever comes first. Then we’ll be heading to Granada, a colonial city 1 hour north of here, back towards Managua. After a few days of looking around Granada, we’ll be taking the bus to Bastimentos, a quiet island beside Bocas Del Toro, in Panama.

Our Spanish is getting better day by day. We’re trying to learn a few Nica expressions, to impress the locals who work at Nicawaves. We’ll leave you with these so you can learn along with us:

  • El que madruga come pechuga, el que tarda come albarda: Equivalent to “the early bird gets the worm”, literally means “He who is early eats chicken breast, he who is late eats the saddle.”
  • Barriga llena, corazon contento: Full stomach, happy heart.
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: