This first thing everyone has asked me since learning I recently travelled to Nicaragua was “Why Nicaragua?” my immediate response has been strongly “Why Not?” This small country has a reputation that does not equivalate to its mass amounts of culture, history and absolutely breath taking views. Finally this beautiful country is getting it’s chance to begin to shine and I could not have picked a better vacation spot to celebrate my fiancés 30th year on this planet.
Usually the over planner I decided to take a step back on this trip and let the puzzle pieces fall into place and I am so happy I did that. Nicaragua has so much to offer and a variety of activities for all types of interests. From volcano boarding (yeah you read that right!), to nearby island getaways, fishing trips, surf spots, city tours, and your regular beach bumming activities there is a lot to do.
My biggest advice when travelling is to look for the path less beaten! I know it sounds scary but sometimes walking in your own direction you will find something much greater. I opted to stay in Playa Gigante for 5 days which is a small surf town, fresh with locals and a massive fisherman community. It may have been a small town but it was full of life, culture and the most amazing human beings I have met to date. We seriously didn’t want to leave, and it is no wonder why people tend to drop their North American lives for a chance to move to Playa Gigante.
My favourite you ask? Well the food is literally amazing. Breakfast had to have been my favourite meals, we opted for a mix of traditional Nicaraguan breakfast with a sprinkle of North American intertwined. We stayed at the newly opened Hacienda Amarilla del Mar which included breakfast that was made fresh for us every morning by this wonderful local woman named Merna. A traditional breakfast is usually rice and turtle beans accompanied with chorizo or eggs, Merna made us all of the above every morning with fresh fruit, traditional Cafe con Leche and fresh juice. I never wanted breakfast to end.
The Hacienda Amarilla was THE BEST DECISION we made. The architecture was unbelievable, our room was beautiful and spacious, and our host was one of a kind. Don, who owns the Hacienda, was probably the best part of our trip, he was full of incredible stories and was so helpful with recommendations and things to do. He is truly one of a kind and we cannot wait to go back and see him again. The personality he exuded and the pride he had for Nicaragua made the trip all the better, he was a wealth of knowledge and a great addition to our vacation.
Typically we spent our days wandering around along the shoreline or the tropical streets following wild hogs, oxen and chickens to local eateries. There are so many beautiful natural trails to hike along and view the most amazing coastal lines. However if you are a surfer or interested in learning Playa Gigante is DEFINITELY the spot for you, it is known for its surf culture and classes with tons of hostals that offer lessons and day trips to some incredible Surf Spots.
We did end up traveling to Granada for one day, and I wish we spent a couple extra days here. This city boasts colourful spanish colonial landmarks and is full of life day and night. Located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua the city itself is beautiful with picturesque colourful buildings, ornate architecture and the best way to get around town is by horse and carriage.
One of the best places to get food was recommended by Torontonian expats called El Tercer Ojo which is located in the middle of the Pedestrian Walkway Calle La Calzada and is a mini paradise one you walk through the wrought iron gates. With lush trees inside the restaurant (this is common for most restaurants in Granada) the tables and decor are literally every hipster’s dream. My favourite dish was the Grilled Seafood Salad that seriously lived up to the hype.
Overall we left this trip feeling full of life, definitely relaxed and ready to book again.