Goodbye our Volcanic Friends – Final days in a couple of very different craters

Paradiso they call it here, and that’s indeed what it was. We arrived in a rickshaw after been dropped on a motorway half-way to Managua. The lake is the crater of a really old dormant volcano and on the side of it is a steep windy road leading to a few hotels and Paradiso hostel. This place was recommended as the place to go when you want to chill, relax and take in the scenery.
We checked in for two nights to quite a warm welcome. This place was extremely serene, away from all the madness of the traffic and markets elsewhere.
We took a dip in the lake which after 5 or so meters gets really deep. I jumped into a tire tube to try and get a bit further out but unfortunately I looked more like a big baby splashing around a swimming pool.
The highlight was the the moon rising every night over the lake. Shining all the way over the lake directly to our shorefront it would take your breath away.
Romantic dinner, check. A few glasses of wine, check. A random conversation with an American, Londoner and Newcastle/Texan, check. The first two reminded us of our previous working life, the third reminding us of why we travel. The menu here was a long list of American food and a longer list of cocktails. Thanks to that and great company we stayed up way past our bedtime, totally engrossed in everyone’s traveling stories and Nicaraguan politics. The rife topic being the Nicaraguan canal which is planned on being built, cutting right through lake Nicaragua. It would do great for the economy of the country but would destroy this natural beauty. Even the Nicaraguans are torn on this one.
Totally hungover the next day, I went for many dips in the lake to try and wash it away. We barely drink while travelling, which means when we do, it hits us badly. Me especially.. Old age I guess! It was a our chill day where we just caught up on life and gathered our thoughts for the upcoming South America leg. And when I say caught up on life….
Our final Nica days included this lake and a hike up the Volcano Masaya. We got up close and personal to this not-so-dormant volcano crater.
Deciding as usual to skip the overly expensive tour drive up to the top, we chicken bussed to the entrance and hiked the 6k up.
It’s a pure paved round so Neem didn’t feel the natural aspect and refused to call it a hike. It was hot and uphill all the way, but we had plenty of time to relax and take in the scenery. This was mainly miles of dried volcanic rocks from centuries of eruptions.
When we did arrive at the top, our hard work had instantly paid off.
Sulphur dioxide filled smoke bellowed out, almost too much when you leant in over the edge. They say on a clearer day you can see the red lava inside. We spent a good hour there, walking a bit higher to a dormant volcano to check the view from all around. It was a perfect way to finish this volcano filled part of the world.

Granada was our last stop for our final night. One more trip to the delightful outdoor Nica restaurant in the main Zocalo and treating ourselves to michelada, Nicaraguan style.
Guatemala and Nicaragua were eye opening countries in terms of pure beauty and indigenous culture. We decided to skip Costa Rica and Panama to allow us more time here and it truly paid off. We’re sure we’ll definitely be back.

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