We can’t believe it has already been a month since we have been gone. We have had some amazing experiences along the way. Below is our top ten list of things to do in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and reflects our favorite moments of the first month of our journey.
1. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
Before coming here, we had heard a lot of great things about San Juan del Sur, and now we can see why. This is a breathtaking town overlooking the bay of San Juan del Sur. Just hanging in the city, eating in the market, wandering through the streets and checking out real estate with Pedro Resau (from Aurora) has been awesome. About 4,000 people live in the town, but during the high season, many Nicas and tourists come visit this fun beach town.
2. Renting an ATV on Nicaragua’s Isla Ometepe and visiting the San Ramon waterfall
We rented an ATV from Robinson and drove all around and finally reached the biological reserve where we hiked up to the San Ramon Waterfall. Simone and Robert from the American Cafe and Hotel helped us set up the ATV rental. After a long day out, and a couple of jumpstarts, it was nice to come home to a clean room and hot shower.
3. Diving in Roatan, Honduras
This was hard work for Debbie, as she went to classes daily and participated in drills to get her open water certification with Coconut Tree Divers. However, it was well worth it to be able to dive in the second largest reef in the world. We dove together after her training was complete. The water was clear and we spotted a shark, turtles, eels, a diver in a santa hat (because it was Christmas day), and many other wonderful creatures.
4. Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador
We rented a car and drove up to Tacuba, where we stayed at the wonderful Hostal de Mama y Papa. They were so welcoming and made us feel at home. We took a fantastic tour to El Imposible National Park, where we hiked and jumped off of 12 meter waterfalls into cold natural pools, and slid down natural rock slides. This tour is amazing (www.imposibletours.com). The next day we drove over to the finca Santa Theresa. This is a coffee farm (they produce for Starbuck’s) and they have some amazing natural thermal baths ($10 entry fee if you get there using your own transport).
5. Surfing in Sunzal, El Salvador
We spent a few days in the surf town of El Tunco, close to La Libertad. This area is packed with surfers, but you still have enough space in the water to catch waves. This is rated as one of the top ten surf spots in the world. There isn’t too much to do in the town other than surfing, but it is considered to be the most happening of all the surf towns. Don’t miss out on trying El Chef’s burritos, yummy!
6. Turtle tour to La Flor reserve
While in San Juan del Sur, we organized a tour (through Casa Oro) to the reserve at La Flor ($25 per person). It was awesome to see the Olive Ridley turtles digging their nests, laying their eggs, covering the nests back up and making their way back to the water. This is a virgin beach, where you can truly enjoy unspoilt nature. The stars were also an amazing sight. It had been a while since we had seen such an amazing night sky. Even though we went at the end of the season and only saw a few turtles, it was an amazing experience. About a month or two ago, thousands of turtles could be seen at the same time on the beach.
7. Hiking Volcano Concepcion
Hiking up the 1,000 metres up Volcan Concepcion was challenging but amazing. Some people go all the way to the top (1,600 m), but they don’t advise that, since this is an active volcano that spews ashes and sulfur. Once you make it up to the 1,000 m mark, the views are spectacular. You can see Lake Nicaragua and can look out all the way out to the mainland (Rivas). Luis Romero (our guide) was great!
The isletas (small Islands) were formed when the Mombacho Volcano erupted thousands of years ago. The volcano threw huge rocks into Lake Nicaragua and the result was 365 small Islands. The Isletas range in size from very small to some that are large enough to have several houses built on them. You can organize a tour through one of the many travel agencies in town, or do what we did, which was walk to the port area (about 3 km from downtown) and rented our own boat for $10 (for the whole boat)/ per hour. It was very cool to see some of the amazing houses built on these islands and to see the nature.
9. Granada City
Granada is a beautiful colonial city, which was founded in 1524. It has a rich colonial heritage and has that historic feel. The streets are lined with restaurants and coffee shops. La Calzada is the main strip where the restaurants and coffee shops are (right off of the Central Plaza). It is a great place to explore architecture from the 16th century.
10. Last but not least, we have met a lot of new friends from all over the world, that made all these places much more special and fun.