Until now, we haven’t seen any beaches on the Pacific coast and have spent most of our time lounging on the white sands of the Caribbean. Caribbean beaches are, obviously, beautiful, but, in my opinion, you just can’t beat the rugged, wide sandy beaches and crashing waves of the Pacific.
Another amusing journey to get there. Our ‘shuttle’ was really a pick-up truck again which felt slightly sketchy as we were clinging on along the motorway. I was trying very hard not to look at the speedometer! When you arrive at the river, the only way to cross is in a rickety old lancha and, at the other side, you are met by the next ‘shuttle’, a frail old Nicaraguan man with a worryingly skinny pony towing a ‘carriage’ made up of a large trailer with a wooden plank. It was tricking holding on through the forest and I’m pretty sure we could have walked faster, but an experience none the less!
The Surfing Turtle lodge in Poneloya is perched right on the beach and the breeze rustles right through the dorm. So refreshing after the stifling heat of Leon. Other than the beach, there’s literally nothing else there. It’s incredible peaceful and we spent a few happy days taking surf lessons and horse riding along the beach.
We had hoped to head straight to the Corn Islands from Poneloya but, surprise surprise, storms were forecast! Not feeling too excited by the prospect of yet more rainy Caribbean beaches, we rerouted down to San Juan del Sur, a big surf and party town.
It’s the most visited place in Nicaragua, which makes for a strange mixture of rich American tourists and a lot of street crime. Although it felt laid back and safe, we were told it’s not a good idea to walk around by yourself at night and only to take small amounts of money out each time. We successfully managed a full week without being robbed, although a lot of people we knew were.
We met up with some friends and spent a week doing some more ‘surfing’ (belly flopping) in the monstrous Pacific waves before heading to Ometepe – an island on Lake Nicaragua formed by two volcanoes.