Nicaragua was a nice surprise for us. A country we knew absolutely nothing about before we went there.
The south of the country is marked by a beautiful chain of volcanoes and by agriculture. We cycle between banana and papaya plantations and see huge fields of sugar cane and rice. The cattle often have to make do with the lower side of the road, 10 m of greenery on each side of the road. The first volcanoes we see are the Concepción volcano and the Maderas volcano on the island of Ometepe in the middle of Lake Cocibolca. We take a ferry to visit the island and go around the Concepción volcano. On the way, we also do some lazing around on the beautiful beaches of the island.
Back on the mainland, we head for Granada, the former capital (like León further northwest) of Nicaragua. Granada is located further west of Lago Cocibolca. We love the rainbow coloured houses, the beautiful patios of the colonial houses and the pretty lakefront, but we don’t linger, the next destination is already waiting. We move on to Laguna Apoyo, the largest crater lagoon in the country, before settling down at Laguna Masaya for the night.
The next day is our highlight of our stay in Nicaragua (fitting for Christmas Day). We drive up to the Masaya volcano, a very active volcano that smokes non stop. We walk around an extinct crater to enjoy the view of the surroundings, then we admire the active crater, or at least what is visible through the smoke. In the afternoon, we go to Managua, the capital, to rest and celebrate Christmas together (we even got a nice hotel room for the occasion!).
Then, we head north west towards Honduras. We ride along Lake Managua, with the Momotombo volcano and its little brother Momotombito in our sights. Tonight, we camp on the edge of the lake at the foot of the volcano, classy! For our last day of cycling in Nicaragua, we pass the northern side of the volcanoes chain and pass one by one of these more or less conical mountains, some smoking, others looking quite calm. Just on the last few dozen km, we turn our backs on them to get to our next border.
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In the land of the volcanoes