Saturday, September 24, 2011

La Fortuna and San Jose, Costa Rica 20 - 24 Sept 2011

Volcan Arenal
La Fortuna 20-22 Sept 2011

The Jeep Boat Jeep is actually van boat bus, a door to door service. It was a pleasant journey with view of mountains, valley, lake and Volcan Arenal. The bus dropped me at Hostel Sleepers. The hostel was empty, I had the dorm all for myself :-) I went for a stroll around town, first to post office and then bought some food for the next few days. It was very hot, especially when I just came down from Monteverde. A change from 20 degree to 30 degree is too extreme! Can't take the heat so I went back to the hostel for a nappy.
For the next day I booked myself on a horseback riding trip to La Fortuna Waterfall, though I don’t know how to ride a horse, I guess they will give me a crash course tomorrow. :-)

I left at 8:30am, it was just 5 minutes drive to the ranch. My horse is called Yulin. A white 8 years old female. I put on my helmet and the guide help me to get on the horse then he passes me the rope that was connected to the mouth of the horse. He said to stop pull the rope, to turn right pull to the right, to turn left pull to the left and to go just give it a kick. That was the crash course I got. :-) The rest is learning on the go. As soon as he whistles the horse start to move. At the beginning I felt like falling off but I then I learnt that I need to step on the thing where I put my feet in to balance. The horse actually knows what to do. When the horse tried to go faster, it gets bumpier. :-)
After about 30 minutes of riding, we arrive to La Fortuna Waterfall. We got off the horse and trek down to the 65m high waterfall. The water was ice cold! On the way back it gets more challenging when we go off the road to the farm and field, we have to go down slope, uphill and cross a small river. I screamed and held so tight to the saddle, so scared that the horse will tumble with me on her. :-O On the way back we pass by the indigenous home to see their handmade souvenirs. They were wearing wood made material cloths. I guess being so close to the town, this is just a show to the tourist that this was how they were before being civilized.  When we came back to the starting point, we got off the horses then the horses just went back to their home on their own. As if like “ok job done, let’s go home” :-) It was a great experience for my first horse riding adventure, but I think it’s not good for my knees because it hurt after that.

After spending US$40 for a 3 hour horse riding tour, I hit my budget for the day. Don’t feel like paying another US$25 to go to the hot spring. Better spend a day visiting San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. I will have one day to see the city and then fly back to Guatemala.

San Jose 22-24 Sept 2011

The scenery on the bus journey to San Jose was breathtaking. Everything is green except the road and houses. Farms, agriculture, forest, ranch and mountains cover the country side. It's really beautiful here. Arriving at big city makes me nervous. I knew which hostel I want to going, I always find at least 2 hostels to go before I arrive at any place. I copied down the direction in Spanish and read it out to the taxi driver. Lucky he understood. It was peak hour at 5pm, traffic jam everywhere, the meter clicks every second, makes me more nervous. We found the place easily. The hostel is very tranquil, nice ambience, spacious, bright and the weather is cool. There is also a big fat cat :-) I love cats so it makes me happy when I see one.

National Theater

I only have one day to see San Jose, I started my day with the Jade Museum. It was a great choice, they exhibit lots of pre-Columbian stone carve, clay pots and jade made tool use for cutting and jade jewelleries.  Then I went for a stroll to the main avenue, wow! shops and shops, I can’t resist shopping and bought myself a tank top, I figured my bag can squeeze in one more :-) but along the way I lost my one and only sweater. :-( Adelyn, I’m sorry!

I went to the Central Park, Post Office and Central Market. The Central Market seems interesting, they sell vegetables, meat, fishes, animals, sweets, cheese, fruits, souvenirs and also some food stall. Everything under one roof! By 2pm, I saw the cloud coming in and I decided to go back to the hostel, I just made it back before the heavy down pour. Phew!

That will wrap up my trip in Costa Rica. Tomorrow I will be flying back to Guatemala to spend 2 weeks with Santiago. :-) South America is coming up soon. Stay tune!

La Fortuna  – Hostel Sleepers – US$7 for a dorm bed with breakfast and WIFI available
San Jose - Tranquilo Backpackers Hostel - US$10 for a dorm bed with breakfast and WIFI available

Bus from La Fortuna to San Jose – C2150
Taxi from bus terminal to Tranquilo Backpackers Hostel – C2500
Taxi from Tranquilo Backpackers Hostel to Bus Station - C2500
Bus to Airport - C700

Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall – US$40 (approximately 3 hours)
San Jose Jade Museum – US$5 (student price)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Liberia and Santa Elena, Costa Rica 15-20 Sept 2011

Liberia 15-16 Sept 2011

Crossing the Nicaragua border to Costa Rica border was not as tough as I would expect. At the Nicaragua border I was once again on my own, the Argentineans left with a bus at the Nicaragua border, I walked across the 500m road in between border. Arriving at the Costa Rica side, I was able to get my stamp easily. Then I waited for 30 mins for the bus to Liberia. The custom officer waves his hand on me to tell me to go without checking my bag. :-) My original plan was to get to Santa Elena on the same day but I could not catch the connecting bus there so I have to stay one night somewhere. I chose Liberia as it is 2 hours from the border and seems to be a decent town to stay a night.
On the way to Liberia, I noticed the change of landscape in Costa Rica. It is greener, more farming and bigger houses here. More people speak English. In the supermarket, there are more variety of fruits and vegetables. Feel like it is more develop and people are wealthier.
The currency is called Colones. The exchange is US$1 to C500. Suddenly the money is in thousands. My brain need to reset and use a new calculation. 1 bottle of 2L water cost C950. It suddenly sounds a lot but actually it’s only less then US$2. :-)

At Liberia, I went to a Hostel that was recommended by a local but it was close. Low season I guess they cut cost to run it. Then I found the 2nd option, I was the only backpackers in the Hotel. Liberia has nothing much to offer, normally this is a town for travellers to transit. I went around the town for a while, it is the Independence Day of Costa Rica, in fact all Central America country. Many people gathered at the central park, a fight started and police chased after the youngsters. It was a bit chaotic. As usual I found a supermarket to buy some drinks and fruits. Then I took my lunch/dinner at the nearby local restaurant and back to the hotel to rest.

The next day is another travelling day to get to Santa Elena, it involves changing 3 buses. I have to catch a bus to Canas, about 1 hour away from Liberia. Another bus from Canas to Tiralan about 45 minutes journey. At Tiralan the only bus of the day to Santa Elena is leaving at 12:30 noon, I had 2 and a half hour to kill at Tilaran. It is a small town up in the mountain, weather was cool. There was a modern church in front of the central park. I found a place to sit down and read my book till time to leave. From Tilaran to Santa Elena was another 3 hours journey on a bumpy road up and down the mountain. It was raining the whole time, the view was fantastic, we past a lot of farm house and horse ranch. I finally arrived at Santa Elena around 4pm. I felt like I am in Cameron Highland. A place in Malaysia with the temperature of 20 degree Celsius. :-)

Santa Elena 16-20 Sept 2011
Santa Elena is the small town located at 1400m altitude, the nearest access to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. When I arrived at the town, I have shortlisted 2 hostels, Pension Santa Elena and Sleepers. The owner of Sleepers was waiting at the bus station, he approach me to ask me where I am staying. He is offering US$7 per night with breakfast. I told him I will check out Pension Santa Elena first. After viewing the rooms and checking out the price US$6 without breakfast, I decided to go to Sleepers. It turns out to be a good choice. Sleepers hostel is run by Ronny and his wife. They have 3 beautiful kids. The breakfast is good and they clean the room and make the bed every day. Ronny is very helpful with the tour information we needed. He recommended me to go Santa Elena Cloud Forest and the frog pond.

I went to Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve the next day. The trail was clear and at every junction there was proper marking. I trek for 4 hours around the 12km trails. It was awesome. I was surrounded by birds and followed by hummingbirds. The forest was foggy and big trees cover the canopy. Along the entire trail, I only bump into 1 couple. It was tranquil with only sound of insects and birds. I really enjoy myself in this reserve.

The next day during breakfast, I met Richard from Austria. Both of us decided to go to the Giant Fig tree. It was much bigger than I imagined it. When I saw this giant Strangler Fig Tree, I immediately imagine myself climbing up this giant tree like Jack and the Beanstalk. :-)

The Strangler Fig Parasite comes when an infected bird poops on top of a tree. The parasite then forms vines that grow down the tree to reach the ground. Once at the tree’s roots, the parasite takes over the tree’s root system and slowly kills the tree. To make a long story short, the parasite eventually kills the tree, but the vines are left in it’s place. This leaves us with this, Lord of the Rings looking, hollowed out tree. The vines of the parasite become very large and very strong, almost tree like. They are so strong in fact, that one can actually climb inside of the tree and use the vines as a “ladder” all the way to the top of the tree.

We took some photos but we didn’t know we could climb to the top. 3 local ladies who were there showed us the way. After about 30m of climbing inside the hollowed out tree, we came to a small opening where we can exit and sit right at the middle section of the tree and view the forests canopy line. That was fun! I felt like a kid again. :-)

I also visited the Frog Pond twice, each ticket allow 2 entries so we could see the frog during their nocturnal period and during day time. I absolutely love them! They were so cute, colorful and some are poisonous. Thank goodness they are all kept in a huge aquarium.

Since I like the forest here so much, I decided to visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This time I paid for a guide tour hoping I could see more animals in the reserve. It was expensive I must said. I met Menaka who was also going to the same reserve and doing the guided tour, we shared the cost for the transport there. Elbert our guide managed to show me the most beautiful bird in Costa Rica-The quetzal  but it was just a glimpse of the blue feathers before it flew off. :-(

He also showed us the hummingbird nest he found by the waterfall. It was so tinny, the size of my fist. We didn’t see any other animals. At Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, there is a hummingbird garden where they hung up sugar water for the hummingbirds. We see tons of them in close 1 foot distance. :-) After the guided tour end, Menaka and I went trekking to one of the view point and the 300m hanging bridge. The trails here are wider and the forest is less dense and less foggy. I preferred Santa Elena Cloud Forest.

After 4 nights here I really have to move on, my original plan was to take the 8 hour bus to La Fortuna US$8, the other options is the Jeep – boat – Jeep trip which cost US$20 but it is half the time faster. I spoke to Ronny and he was so kind to offer me the same price with one night of hostel stay in Hostel Sleepers La Fortuna (run by his brother) Well of course I took the offer. :-)
Liberia– Hotel Liberia – US$10 for a single room with fan and WIFI available
Santa Elena – Hostel Sleepers ( )– US$7 for a dorm bed with breakfast and WIFI available

Bus from Penas Blanca to Liberia – C1500
Bus from Liberia to Canas – C1300
Bus from Canas to Tilaran – C400
Bus from Tiralan to Santa Elena – C1400
Taxi to Monteverde – US$3.5pp share car with another traveler
Bus from Monteverde to Santa Elena – C600
Jeep-boat-Jeep from Santa Elena to La Fortuna – US$20 (incl 1 night in Hostel Sleepers in La Fortuna)

Santa Elena Reserve – US$7(student price) + US$4 (return transfer to hostel)
Frog Pond – US$9 (student price - 2 entries)
Climb Strangler Fig Tree - Free
Monteverde Reserve – US$9 (student price)
Monteverde Guided Tour – US$17
Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall – US$40 (approximately 3 hours)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ometepe and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua 9-15 Sept 2011

Lake Nicaragua

Ometepe 9-12 Sept 2011
Volcán Concepción is one of the 2 volcanoes that form the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. It is an active volcano, since 1883, Concepción has erupted at least 25 times; its last eruption was on 9 March 2010. It is the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world. It is my target to conquer Volcán Concepción.
While I was waiting for the ferry at the terminal, I made friends with the 3 Argentineans and a gal from London. We planned to stay at Hospedaje Central and they wanted to climb Volcán Concepción too. A guide approaches us and she wanted to be our guide. She has been guide for 10 months, I decided to follow them as going with a group will be better. She helps us to get to Hospedaje Central but it was full, then she showed us to another hostel. All 6 of us move in to a dorm. The hostel seems to be nice with new bed and hammock at the roof top to chill. But when night comes, the Karaoke bar next to the hostel was just too loud! :-( The British gal-Fev suspected she has malaria, she has rashes and fever off and on for 2 days. She went to the local hospital to get herself tested but the hospital do not have the facility. They gave her drips and kept her for observation in the hospital and wanted her to go to Rivas for the check the next morning. So we got her some food, her backpack and emergency insurance contact number just in case she wanted to get help. She stayed one night at the hospital. After a proper test the next day at Managua, she was confirmed not infected by denggi or malaria. I was glad to hear that.
Back at the hostel, another 3 Argentineans join us, so they are total 6 now. :-) They speak spanish like they are singing. 5 Argentineans and I decided to climb the volcano. We bought some bananas, biscuits, bread and 2L of water for the hike. I have asked the guide to lend me a walking stick and a small backpack. I have learnt from Rinjani that a walking stick is crucial for mountain climbing.
The next morning the guide pick us up at 5:45am, she brief us that it will take us about 8 to 9 hours the entire journey depending on our fitness. We hop onto a local bus to the nearby village, from the village we walked 2km to the foot of the volcano, then we start our first 1000m ascent trekking up the jungle to reach the view point. It was an easy climb up. We stop at the view point to admire the beautiful view and recharge with some bananas.
From the view point onwards there was no more shade, we have to climb on hard sharp rocks 45 degree up. The view was magnificent. We reached the top at around 11am, at the crater the sulfur smoke was too strong, we could only stay for a few minutes and we didn't get to see the inside of the crater because it was too cloudy and too smoky. We had to cover our nose with wet cloth in order not to get suffocated from the sulfur smoke. We started our decent down.
The way down was horrible, we have to walk down the rocky slope which is slippery and dangerous. People died from falling and injured their head. I was scared even with my climbing shoe and a walking stick to support. My knees were literally shaking every steps I made. On the way down we saw a group of White-Faced Capuchin monkeys. I was too tired to take out my camera. :-( We all made it down eventually. Exhausted!
The next 2 days we were in pain, but instead of sitting in the hostel, the 3 Argentineans wanted to go for mountain biking, so I joined them, lucky me! :-) I could see the entire island, we went riding around the 2 volcanoes basically the entire island. The road was really bad, at the end of the day we can’t feel our butt anymore. We drove to a fresh water pool, had a soak in the fresh cool water, we drove pass many villages and people are just so warm and friendly here. It was just another great day!
I left with the 6 Argentineans to San Juan Del Sur. It was great travelling with them as they will deal with all the bus and touts. :-) I just follow.

San Juan Del Sur 12-15 Sept 2011

San Juan Del Sur is a coastal town on the Pacific Ocean and a surfer's paradise. Facing west towards Pacific Ocean means we get the best sunset from the beach. There are not many tourists during the low season now. The Argentineans found a great deal for hostel @ US$5 with breakfast. All 7 of us packed in 1 dorm. At night, Chef Jerry made Pizza on the BBQ pit. It tasted just like a famous Italian pizza. On the 2nd night Chef Martin made BBQ Chicken. Yummy too! :-) Travelling with them was just so relaxing. I don’t have to think too much of where to eat, what to eat and what to do. :-)

The bay in San Juan Del Sur is not suitable for surfing or swimming as drainage goes into the bay, so the boys got a private transport to Maderas beach. They rented 2 boards for surfing, I went with them to chill at the beach. I didn’t know learning surfing was so hard! One need to paddle so hard to go out to the sea and a few waves will just push you back to the shore. It’s even more difficult to stand on the board, by looking at the 4 of them trying so hard and only 1 succeeded, I don’t think I will learn surfing.
We stayed one more day at San Juan Del Sur just to chill and do nothing. We were at San Juan Del Sur on eve of Independence day. That night I join them out partying, the bar was so packed. It was by the beach with nice view from the upper floor.

We left for Costa Rica all together, at the Nicaragua border I bid farewell to all of them as they are heading towards San Jose and I am going towards Liberia.

I have enjoyed Nicaragua especially for the volcanoes, and it is the cheapest country to travel in Central America. People are nice and friendly, always available to help. :-)
Ometepe – The Landing Hostel – US$5 for a dorm bed and WIFI available
San Juan Del Sur – Joxi Hostel - US$5 for a dorm bed with breakfast and WIFI available

Chicken bus from Granada to Rivas – C25
Taxi collectivo from Rivas to San Jorge – C25
Ferry to/from Ometepe – C30 one way
Bus to/from foot of Volcan Concepcion - C10 one way
Bus from San Jorge to Rivas – C5
Bus from Rivas to San Juan Del Sur – C15
San Juan Del Sur – Transport to Maderas Beach – US$5 return
Bus from San Juan Del Sur to La Virgen – C10
Bus from La Virgen to Sapoa – C20

Ometepe – Guide fee to climb Volcan Concepcion – C10 with a group of 6
Ometepe – Motobike rental for a day – C15 including petrol and share bike
To leave Nicaragua - Pay C20 to the Municipality of Sapoa
- Pay C45 to exit Nicaragua

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Masaya and Granada, Nicaragua 5-9 Sept 2011

Masaya 5-7 Sept 2011

I arrived at this small town after changing 2 minivans from Leon. There was no tourist here, I had to look for Hotel Regis which is the cheapest in town. I walked for a good 20mins with my backpack in this hot weather till I reach this street with a few cheap hotels in a row. I was dripping wet. There was no other guess in the hotel.

Masaya famous for its Mercado Artesanias, selling hand woven hammocks, embroidered blouses, wood carvings, bags, etc. The market in located in a Spanish fortress built in 1900s. Other then the market there is a few old churches around. There is actually nothing much interesting here. I can’t even find a decent place to eat, had to eat in a Chinese Restaurant nearby the hotel, after travelling for 3 months and 20 days my first Chinese meal-a mix fried noodle. How does it taste? Well, I would say it is not bad at all, tasted soya source in it and there were cabbages, onions, prawn and beef :-)

From Masaya, it’s just 45 mins to Granada by chicken bus. The conductor in the bus was very friendly, he started chatting with me even tho I told him I know a little Spanish. He was trying to convinced me that Nicaragua is more beautiful then Guatemala after I said Guatemala is better. :-) So I learnt from this, next time wherever I am, I will say that country is the most beautiful.

Granada 7-9 Sept 2011

The bus station in Granada is just behind the market, I walked pass this hassle bustle market which looks very interesting. I was planning to go to Oasis Hotel but just 2 doors before it I saw a sign that said US$6 for a dorm incl breakfast. I thought that was a really good deal compare to US$9 for Oasis Hotel without breakfast. So I checked in. It is a family run house that has few rooms converted to dorm and private rooms. The girls working there are very friendly. Breakfast was typical red beans with rice, egg, toast and coffee. It was a good choice afterall and the hostel is just corner away from the local market.
In the afternoon after I checked in, I was in the living room using my computer, then I saw people running frantically outside followed with people screaming. In my mind I thought this seems familiar, like when there was a fire that broke out next to my hostel in Belize. A few second later, the receptionist told me that there is a fire opposite the hostel. What! I just thought about that scene! :-O I saw thick smoke behind the front building, the fire engine is already there. The burning is from the inside, we can’t see much from the outside. Not sure what happen but by the night we had no power till midnight. That's the problem when you don't speak the local language, you miss out a lot of interesting stories. :-(

I like the market in Granada, it is very colorful and lively, vendors sell rice, corns, tomatoes, chilies, fruits, cloths, etc. I found a store in the market that cooks great local food, for 2 days I went to the same place for lunch. J It only cost $2. Granada looks similar like Antigua in Guatemala, a colonial town with colorful buildings. There were 6 famous churches at walking distance. My favorite is Iglesia Guadalupe, built between the year 1624 and year 1626. While walking around I saw this beautiful hammock shops, it is a factory as well, inside there is a huge hammock that measured 7x1.8m, weight 27kg and can take up 17 person of total 1500kg. It cost US$475. It is HUGE!

From here I took a chicken bus to Rivas, and from Rivas I wanted to take another bus to San Jorge but the bus conductor told me there is no bus to San Jorge. The is a group of Argentinians on the same bus went for the cab but there were already 4. They paid US$1 each = C22. A swiss gal and I have to take another taxi but the driver was quoting us US$4 each. We couldn’t find anyone else to share, finally we deal with C25 each. When we reach San Jorge, guess what? We saw the bus coming, in my heart I thought “never trust one person, always ask for second or third opinion”. The bus only cost C5 each. :-(
Masaya – Hotel Regis – US$4.5 for a single room with fan and WIFI available
Granada – Hostel Amigos – US$6 for a dorm bed with breakfast, kitchen and WIFI available

Tricycle from Hostel Sonati  to Bus Terminal– C15
Minivan from Leon to Managua – C40Minivan from Managua to Masaya – C13.50 + C13.50 for my backpack as it took up a seat in the minivan
Chicken bus from Masaya to Granada – C9
Chicken bus from Granada to Rivas – C25
Granada – Access to the tower of Iglesia La Merced – C20

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

León, Nicaragua 30 Aug– 5 Sept 2011

An 8 hour bus from Tegucigalpa to León, the TICA bus drop me off at a petrol station on the highway, I took a taxi to Hostel Sonati. It is a very nice and tranquil hostel with a hummingbird garden in the courtyard. Every day we see hummingbirds. :-) This hostel profits finance their FREE environmental activities for thousands of local school children. Staffs are very friendly and some of them are volunteer.

León itself is very pretty, another colonial town with lots of churches and museums. Something extra here I noticed was there was numerous amounts of boutique shops on the street. It’s more than any other city I’ve seen. Later found out that León is known to be a University town of Nicaragua, with a concentration of young people.

The currency in Nicaragua is córdoba. The exchange is US$1=C22. US$ is commonly used here, we could withdraw US$ from any ATM machine.

Next morning, I visited the town, the main attraction here is the grand Cathedral of the Assumption, built from 1706 to 1740, with two towers added in 1746 and 1779. In the year 2011, the Cathedral of the Assumption was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a number of tunnels that connect this church with other churches in León.

There are many churches around León town just walking distance away, I went to at least 7 of them. They are all colorful and unique at its own way. The weather is not great, with slight drizzle and overcast. In the afternoon, I went to the post office to check out the postage fees to Asia, I’ve been carrying some souvenirs with me since Mexico, I need to send them back coz it’s filling up my bag pack. :-( Well, the postage here is cheaper then Guatemala and Honduras! For 1.5 kg, it only cost US$18! :-) The next day I went to do some shopping, bought more stuff for everyone back home. Finally got it packed and sealed and sent off. It will take about 6 weeks to arrive. Hopefully it will arrive!

This afternoon, I have signed up for the most popular sports here - Volcano Boarding. It involves carrying a home made wooden board weight about 5kg up the 728m high active volcano called Cerro Negro (Black Hill), putting on a jump suit, gloves and goggles and slide down the 45 degree slope of the volcano.

We left at 3pm after a slight drizzle, we all jump into a truck for a 45mins ride to the foot of the black volcano. We started trekking up the volcano from the Park office, walking on loose rocks and pebbles with that heavy board. We first reach the ring of the old crater with a magnificent view of the surrounding. Here we drop our board and bag and walk down to the old crater, in the old crater there are still hot sulfur smoke puffing out from the ground. Then we continue our climb with our board up to rim where we  are going to slide off and then walk to the highest point of the rim to have a look into the new crater. We were very lucky that day, the sun just appeared from behind the cloud before setting into the horizon. It was breath taking. The guide then brought us to the slope where we will all slide down, it was pretty scary looking at it from the top. :-C We were then given a quick briefing on how to use the board, how to slow down, brake and maneuver. The boys went first while I took some photograph of them zooming down. We have 2 options going down, either we stand like we are snowboarding or we sit. I chose to sit down because I have only tried snowboarding once and I felt badly. :-( But sitting down creates more speed! I went last but I zoom pass all of them and tumbled a few times when I could not straighten my board. Luckily we had the jumper and gloves to protect us from scratches by the pebbles, but the dust covered my whole body from head to toes. I think I must have swallow some too. :-) It was great fun!

The next couple of days were rainy and cloudy, I didn’t want to move and I did nothing! :-)
Finally on the Sunday, the sun was out. Eric arrives from El Salvado and I met Alice from Australia few days back. We went to the nearby San Jacinto Hot Spring. A few kids were very helpful showing us where to go. We knew about this before we arrived. The field is no huge, about the size of half football field, boiling mud holes in all sizes, connected probably to the Telica volcano. The kids told us that the mud is good to threat skin disease. Hmmmm….

Back from the hot spring, we decided to go watch “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. It is in English with Spanish subtitles. For 2 hours I felt like I was away from Latin America, it was nice feelings. :-)

There are a few things that I missed in León, I wanted to do the Quetzal watching & Rainforest tour. It is a 2 days tour in the cloud & mountain rainforests of northern Nicaragua. The tour combines wildlife watching and rainforest ecology. Unfortunately the weather is too bad, we cancelled the trip. I also wanted to do the Telica volcano – trekking to see lava but there were no other people sign up for the trip. :-(
After 6 days here in León, I have to move on… next to Masaya.

Leon – Hostel Sonati ( – US$6 for a dorm bed with kitchen

Taxi from TICA drop off point outside Leon to Hostel Sonati – C40 per way
Chicken bus to San Jacinto Hot Spring – C12 per way

Volcano Boarding with Sonati Tour – US$26
Entrance to San Jacinto Hot Spring – C44 per person
Guide from kids – C20 per person
Movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – C58