Friday, April 13, 2012

Off the Grid: Nicaragua

Surfing with Chris and Pat! 

It’s been awhile since I last updated this. We made it to Nicaragua after a lonnnggg day of travel. I was pretty sick when we left on our journey to Nicaragua. I think it was because of the “red tide” because it was my sinuses that were bothering me. We took the 6am bus out of Santa Teresa and got to the ferry around 8. Crossed the Nicoya Peninsula by 10:30 and got back on the bus until we got to Barancas which was only 30 minutes away. We didn’t know if we were going to take local “Tica” busses to the border or a direct. Just our luck there was a direct “Trans-Nica” bus waiting in Barancas. It was expensive but it was super cushy with AC and a TV playing movies in Spanish. We got to the border after a few hours and crossed without much difficulty. I had heard rumors that the border wait can exceed 6 hours during the Semana de Santa holiday but there was hardly anybody there. We got back on the Transnica and went for about 30 minutes where Chris and I got dropped off at an intersection in the middle of nowhere! We waited for about 20 minutes until a car came by which happened to be a “taxi” and got a ride to San Juan del Sur which was about 45 minutes away. San Juan del Sur was also in the middle of nothing but was a pretty established town with lots of hostels and bars. We tried a few hostels but everything was full because of the holiday. I spotted a few girls that were speaking English in the middle of the road so I asked them if their hostel had room. Turns out we were in luck again. It was the poorest excuse for a hostel I had seen thus far in my travels, but for 8 bucks a night you can’t expect too much! Chris went to a pharmacy for me and picked up some antibiotics for me which did the trick in less than 24 hours. We stayed another night in San Juan del Sur to wait for our buddy Pat to arrive. It was an insane party night because of the holiday and the music continued to the next day.
Hanging out with Holland and Pat!
Boat trip to Manzanillo!
Our plan was to make it to a town called Guasacate (Popoyo) which was about 1.5 hrs from SJDS. The girls that showed us the hostel were from Holland and both named Lotte. The Lottes came to Popoyo with us to explore the town off the beaten path. We all took a cab out to Popoyo and had no idea what to expect. It’s all dirt roads this far out from town and I was surprised that our rattle-trap for a taxi made it to Popoyo. We almost got stuck in a river crossing when the cabby missed a gear when downshifting. We made the amateur mistake of assuming that Popoyo would have an ATM. Lucky for us the hostels are only a couple bucks a night and food is really cheap as well. The “town” is so small there isn’t even a market to buy food. There is a food truck that comes by every so often but I am yet to see it because I’m always in the water. We have to eat at the little “comedor” restaurants for every meal but they’re only 2-3 bucks a meal. We met some new Brazilian friends at the “Popoyo Loco” hostel who let us sit in the bed of their pickup. We surfed 6 different surf breaks in two days with them. Every spot was better than the previous! My favorite spot was when we took a boat out to a break called Manzanillo which was a firing left with zero people except the 6 of us in the boat. Pat had a little bounce off the reef and scrapped his back pretty proper but after that he figured out the main break and slayed.
Found Pat!
Nuggetz!
A portion of our days has been us sitting in the back of the Brazilian’s truck which is super fun and very dusty. There are the 5 Brazilians in the truck and Chris, Pat and Me in the back with 8 boards. Quite the adventure!! Semana de Santa was still in full swing even out at Popoyo with hundreds of locals partying on the beach. On Sunday, the last day of the holiday there was a sad tragedy out here. I was sleeping on the bench between surf sessions when the hostel owner came sprinting into the hostel. I woke up to him frantically unzipping his board bag. He said that there were people drowning out front. I ran out there with them to see what was going on. I saw surfers paddling and a few people swimming out to see. There were three locals who got sucked out in a rip who didn’t know how to swim. By this time, the entire town came over to see what was going on. They pulled two people out and put them on surf boards to float. When they came in I heard the most frightening scream I’ve ever heard from a family member. There was a third person who got sucked out into the rip that they didn’t get to in time. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen in a long time. The town was so happy just minutes before and after the event, the music stopped and everybody cleared out. They found the body two days later right in front of our hostel. Apparently during the Semana de Santa holiday it is very common because it is a beach holiday and a huge majority of the locals don’t know how to swim.
Truck rides with Chris and Pat
Nicaragua Nuggetz!
After Semana de Santa, we were all running out of money so we left Popoyo with Pat back to San Juan del Sur to see him off and to visit the ATM to recharge the wallet. Pat left early in the AM and Chris and I liked the surf so much we headed back to Popoyo which is where I am right now. Nicaragua has had the best surf thus far on our trip. We haven’t had concrete plans since the start of this trip but we didn’t plan on staying in Nicaragua that long but because the surf has been blowing our minds we’re staying until further notice! Our hostel here in Popoyo doesn’t have internet so we’ve been off the grid. There are only two places in Popoyo where you can get it. Everyday has been wake up early, surf, eat, surf, eat, surf, eat. There are only a handful of travelers here in Popoyo and I’m guessing that there are less than 50 Nicaraguans. It’s been quite the run in Nicaragua and I couldn’t be happier with the simple lifestyle we’ve been living. We will probably spend another week out here because another swell in cruising in and we enjoy the tranquility of this very small and desolate “town”. After that we will most likely head back to San Jose in Costa Rica and either go to Bocas de Toro in Panama or back to Santa Teresa in search of more waves. I still don’t have a return ticket home but have to come home to move out of my apartment in the middle of May at the latest. We will see how things pan out!
New Brazilian buddies! 
Getting Pitted

5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Awesome entry. If you ever make it back check this out...http://www.nicacoast.com/

      Delete
  2. Really enjoy the stories dude!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so friggin great! You guys should definitely post more blogs and stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Caleb. I'm a TV producer and would like to speak to you. Please email me...ahecht1@gmail.com. Thx!

    ReplyDelete