When we awoke on New Year's Day, the beach was packed with children and families. It seems that they arrived during the night by the busload from Managua, Granada, and all across Nicaragua. The beaches of San Juan del Sur provide the perfect playground with ample space to set up camp (literally, with tents) and enjoy the holiday. While last night was filled with young partiers, eager to get into the discos, today was filled with families eager to enjoy a day together drinking Flor de Cana rum and eating traditional foods.
After packing up our very dirty stuff, we walked down to a beach restaurant we'd been eying for days: Meson Espanol. This Spanish restaurant featured fresh paella and the waiter had been encouraging us to join him for the past few days. Today was finally the day. We got a great table beachside and enjoyed a few beers, glasses of wine, and tapas. Steve and Sam went crazy over the paella, which included fresh mussels, shrimp, clams, and fish. The nice waiter even had a gift for us- a large patch that says, 'Made in Nicaragua.' For two hours we sat there and ate and drank and it cost us less than $40.
Once we got back to the Hotel Victoriano, our driver Sergio and guide Raymundo were waiting for us. The service we've received from Adventure Life and Careli Tours has been fabulous. We were driven back to Managua in the same spacious, clean van in which we traveled the entire country. Bottled water was available the entire way and the crew is friendly and fun. When traveling to a country as 'foreign' as Nicaragua, it's nice to have consistency in some ways. Sergio and our guides (and our little van) have been the consistency that we needed.
We've met a lot of other travelers along the way who have not been so lucky to have the kind of luxuries that we've had during this trip. Others have traveled by bus or taxi and searched high and low for available lodging. Some have told stories of crazy nights in hostels. We are grateful that we put our trust in a company that took such great care of us. Traveling is not always comfortable, especially in a developing country like Nicaragua. However, we've felt lucky to be able to stay in nice hotels and travel in air conditioned comfort most of the time.
Upon arrival in Managua we checked into the Hotel Contempo, the same hotel where we spent our first night. Again, it was nice to be at a familiar place with familiar faces who recognized us from two weeks ago.
Our adventure is coming to a close but these memories will last a lifetime. Back to the original question, 'why would you want to go to Nicaragua?' The answers are endless but the best answer is, 'Why not?'