Leaving our little paradise in Jiquilillo meant also leaving the peace and quiet and returning to the constant blaring of reggaeton. It’s been pretty much the same ten songs since Mexico and somehow people seem to like to play five of them on loop. Don’t get me wrong, I like reggaeton but there’s a time and a place for it and 6 am is definitely not that time haha.
The road to Chinandega was a bit hilly and very scenic.
We stopped in Chinandega for lunch (17 chicken nuggets are a decent lunch, no?) and then got into some pretty heavy rain on the way to Léon, but at least it cooled down a little bit due to the rain.
Léon is very similar to Antigua, Guatemala, just a bit bigger and with more locals. We really liked the chill vibe of it. Whereas in many places on the road, nobody seems to go out after dark, in Léon there’s actually still stuff going on and you can still find restaurants and shops open at 8/9 pm.
(I didn’t take a lot of pictures in Léon.)
We really enjoyed our breakfast at “El Desayunazo.” Great food, big portions for a decent price plus many locals went there as well which is usually a good sign.
Apart from at Rancho Esperanza in Jiquilillo, where the food was good and actually nutritious, and Léon, we’ve really struggled with finding decent food in Nicaragua. For me, that has made the cycling pretty difficult too because it’s already very hot and then having “disappointing” lunchbreaks with shitty food (fried chicken and soggy fries don’t give you much energy) is not very motivating. Even finding rice and beans hasn’t been easy, most places on the way to Managua had only fries. We even had a day where we felt too tired to cook or head out and struggle to find something decent. In Managua, we then had the worst of all meals, possibly of all times, when we tried to have steak. New York steak they said…
While we have our beloved MSR Whisperlite International, which we use for breakfast and dinner on most days, for lunch we have to find something on the road because we don’t have time to get the stove out and start cooking. And that lunch meal really determines how you cycle during the afternoon, so that has been quite tricky.
Another thing that has made it difficult for me to enjoy Nicaragua as much as the other countries we’ve visited is the constant staring. I feel like I’m in the Middle East. And there are lots of other white women here and we’ve seen local women on bicycles, so what’s this about? I talked to other European girls about this and they’ve had exactly the same experience. I didn’t have that in any other country, we’ve cycled through.
Also on the road, there has been a lot less encouragement compared to the other countries, here it’s really been rather exceptional that somebody waved. Even children have been shouting swear words at us, which we didn’t have anywhere so far. In general, people have been a lot less kind than for example in El Salvador. Maybe my expectations were too high because everyone we met who was coming from the South told us that “Nicaragua is soo amazing, soo cheap, people are soo kind and it’s just wow.” Maybe it is very cheap if you’re coming from Costa Rica, but it’s not much cheaper than El Salvador and definitely a lot more expensive than Guatemala and Mexico.
The landscape has been quite stunning. On the way from Léon to Managua we saw a smoking volcano, which was pretty cool.
A little girl on a horse
And some more volcanos:
The locals also reaaallly load their bikes here.
I guess the kid wasn’t too happy about me taking a picture but I didn’t really have a chance to ask him. Sorry!
Hassan had his first flat tire but we actually fixed it ourselves, yay!
And some shots of Managua: