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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Our first wild monkeys

In the light of day we got our first good look at the Xalli Ometepe Beach Hotel where we spent the night.  We paid $65 USD for a really fabulous room including breakfast.  We considered this a steal of a deal, but the backpackers we ran into at breakfast had found it a bit more expensive than they had planned.

Though when we saw this sign later in town, we understood the backpacker perspective a bit more.  You can get a room here for as low as $8 per person.  And a hammock is less than that.  Generally prices here are much lower than we expected.  Its what we imagine Mexico used to be years ago - friendly, quiet, and cheap.

The hotel is also a Kite Board school.  We wandered down to the beach to watch for a bit.

We asked the hotel to make us a reservation for the ferry back to the mainland, only to discover that apparently on Friday nights people must leave the island in droves because the latest ferry we could take was at noon.  So we packed up the car and drove around the island for a bit.  One of the oddest things we found was that the main road goes right across the main airport runway.  There are guards at both ends that will presumably close the road in the unlikely event of a plane actually landing.

In the lower right of this picture you can see the island runway.

We wandered out onto a small beach and were surprised to find women washing clothes in the lake water.  They have built small structures they use to hang the wet clothes that have been washed while there is a platform underneath they use for scrubbing.

We wandered into the main town where the ferry dock is located.  There are a number of small but cute restaurants.

We decided to order a pizza to go that we could take on the ferry with us.

Then it was time to say good bye to the island.  We wished we had planned more time here as there are a number of hikes and waterfalls it might have been fun to go see.  (Jim and Margaret - this should be on your bucket list!)

The ferry ride back was quiet.  And the ferry workers used a similar technique to turn the boat around at the dock as they did yesterday.  First they tossed a line over to the boat docked next to us.  Then used that to pull the bow around so that the ferry could back into the dock. 


We then started driving towards our ultimate destination on Mombacho Volcano.  We stopped in one small town along the way where we noticed this very poor old woman walking across the street. 

But poverty here is relative as we then watched this family give the old woman a giant avocado without any payment.

When we reached the volcano, we turned off the main road onto a dirt road that looked about like this.  Fortunately our Rav4 was able to make it over the dirt, rocks, and steep grade.

In late afternoon, we finally made it to Mombacho Lodge.  The dog in the picture is Ally.  She loves visitors.  The lodge is made up of 4 individual cabins and one main dining area.  We loved it.  Electricity produced by generator, but there is no air conditioning.  Fortunately its a bit cooler on the volcano so we didn't need it. 

This is the owner - Cynthia.  She is a blast.  She cooked our meals and helped us with activities.  She is an ex-lawyer from the US who moved down here before corporate America "killed her".  We spent a very entertaining evening with her asking her lots of questions about Nicaragua and how she came to build and own the lodge.  She confirmed our perception of Nicaragua as being cleaner and better equipped (better farming equipment and cars) than Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala.  She says its because there is just more pride here than up North.  If you look at Panama, the dress standard is very formal.  And it appears that the culture of formality comes as far north as Nicaragua.


We also finally got our first look at monkeys.  These guys were in the tree just outside where we were having dinner.  They are howler monkeys.  Shy but they do make a racket that would make you think they are as big as orangutans.





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