updated: Februari 7, added video on the bottom of this blogpost
As I mentioned in my previous blogpost, we met a lady (L.) from California on our second Volcano hike. While John was recovering from his injury, L. and I had made plans to go on a little adventure. And an adventure it was…
L. and I caught the first bus departing from Leon at 5 am, to Esteli just on time, the bus took about 3 hours to get there. In Esteli we took a taxi to the Luna hostel. Jane, the owner of the hostel and the Luna bar, saw us getting out of the taxi and welcomed us, even though she did not expect us at all because we did not announce we would come. She told us that we were to late to visit Miraflor (The coffee processing fields) because the bus already left for 2 hours. There was a tour operator (treehuggers) on the other corner of the crossing where we should walk in and wait for her. In the end it turned up that we had 20 minutes to re-assemble our backpacks and daypack for a canyoning trip.
A guy working for Jane brought us by taxi to the bus-station of Esteli and waited together with us to be sure we had the correct bus to Somoto. In total it took us 5 hours of driving with taxis, express buses to go travel from Leon to Henries House, 12km from Somoto at the start of the canyoning.
The canyoning was incredible, the first 2km we had to walk to- and into the canyon, the landscapes were beautiful on this hike. The canyoning itself was not hard to do, but rather fun with combinations of swimming, walking, little climbing and the most fun part jumping. The highest jump we took was 8m (evidence will be there in the video from the GoPro shots I made). If you have plans to visit Nicaragua once, you have to put this on your 2do list.
After the hike we went back to Henries house to enjoy a lunch (included). But then… we had to go back to Esteli and the public transportation in Nicaragua is not exactly the same as in The Netherlands. Nevertheless, the buses drive on a kind off a schedule, if they drive at all. We just missed the bus from Somoto to Estelli by a few minutes, but it looked more like this bus was broken because there were a lot of other people still waiting for that single bus. We had to wait for an hour for the next and also the last bus of that day, since it was a national day in Leon, we were not the only people who heading that direction.
We were lucky that we could sit in the bus, also called chicken bus over here. I had to turn my body because it was impossible to position my knees in front of my body. The designer of these buses must be kind of hobbit, dwarf, child or something of similar body length, but I was happy that we didn’t had to stand the whole 3 hours. Within 2 stops the bus was filled with people. Within the two next stops there were even people traveling on the outside of the bus, my knees got warmed up by the genitals of a local standing next to me and the 2 other tourists sitting in the row next to got a baby on their lap from one of the Young local woman. The temperature had raised with 10 degrees and more and more people were gazing at me. That last part was understandable and rather funny than annoying. In this part of Nicaragua not all people are used to pale, foreign people with ginger hair and freckles.
We were more concerned about our backpacks, which we left abandoned at the Luna bar because we had no time to bring them to the hostel, which we only verbally confirmed to stay the night. After all they’d put our backpacks in a closed room and everything was still in there. We wanted to go to Mariflor the next day, but it seemed that the coffee beans are still growing and we could not see the process of collecting and handling the beans it self. Our other option was to visit the cigar factories, but that was closed on Monday because of a national holiday. We decided to take the next bus at 5am back to Leon where L. took the next bus to the beach and I reunited with John and travel by shuttle bus to Granada.
The canyoning trip from Treehuggers (Esteli) costs $ 25,-, this is included a taxi from the Somoto bus station to Henry Soriano & community at Somoto Canyon, excluding all other buses and taxis. Advantage of the chicken buses is that they are very cheap, but express buses are not to expensive as well but more comfortable and thus recommended. Taxis are expensive for long distances and often you have to pay per person instead of per ride