This last week our group ventured to Nicaragua! It was quite an adventure that began with a stop in Northern Costa Rica. We spent the first night in Liberia, a central point for tourists in the Northern Province of Guanacaste. Liberia has an airport utilized by many tourists who arrive to vacation in the Northern Pacific region of the country.
The next morning we left for the border, but first we stopped at Santa Rosa National Park, which is famous for being the site of a 14-minute battle in Costa Rican history. The process of crossing the border took about two hours. First we had to go through the process of exiting Costa Rica, and then of entering Nicaragua. The process went smoothly, but we were all ready for the real adventure to begin!
We spent our first night in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. We arrived late and took a short drive through the city. We were able to see the beautiful Christmas light decorations along the main road and in the park. The next morning we took a tour of the city with a young woman who was a native of Managua. We had the opportunity to see many important historical sites. After our tour we left for Grenada.
All of us were enthralled when we arrived in Grenada; it was a very colonial and colorful city with narrow cobblestone roads. It reminded me of what I imagined small towns in Europe, specifically Spain, would look like. The construction of Grenada represents its’ Spanish influence. The next day we explored with a local guide, who was very knowledgeable and friendly. One of our stops included a church where we were able to climb up into the bell tower and overlook the whole city, including Lake Nicaragua, which borders the town.
Our last stop on our trip was San Juan del Sur, which is a small beach town less than an hour north of the border with Costa Rica. As a reward for our hard work this semester we had a free day in San Juan del Sur. Some of the group spent the day on the beach in town, while two other girls and I decided to take surf lessons! It was my first time, but the other two girls had both tried surfing once before. Our lesson was through a local surf shop and they provided the transportation to a local beach about 30 minutes away where we would have our lesson. Every person that we talked to said that the beach we went to was the best for surfing in the area. We traveled down a dirt road to get there and it seemed as though it would be deserted but when we arrived there were over 40 people surfing in the water and there were some restaurants and hostels right on the beach. It was very neat to experience this “surfing culture”. It will be one of my favorite memories of my time abroad.
This week we are starting to wrap up our classes, as next week is Thanksgiving Break and after that we have finals. A lot of fun and hard work left in the next three weeks before we return home.