Blog
Honeymoon in Nicaragua
Katie and I left Vancouver's cold, wet weather behind over Christmas and New Years heading South to the San Juan del Sur area of Nicaragua for our honeymoon.

Katie and I left Vancouver’s cold, wet weather behind over Christmas and New Years heading South to the San Juan del Sur area of Nicaragua for our honeymoon.

A two week trip to Nicaragua over Christmas and New Years is exactly what we were looking for for our honeymoon. Katie knew someone from Whistler who now lives in San Juan del Sur, having built her own house as well as a rental place that’s listed on AirBNB, so we figured why not; when else would we ever do this trip? We got married in August 2013 — you can see more about that here at this blog post.

 

San Juan del Sur is a beautiful little surf town... Looking down the main beach.

San Juan del Sur is a beautiful little surf town… Looking down the main beach.

We stayed at Casa Santosha, part of a yoga/surf community in the hills a couple kilometres up the road from San Juan del Sur. It’s run by Heidi, a fantastic host, sharing her home with us, cooking us a few delicious meals, taking us out to a couple different beaches with surfing lessons, and setting us up with lots of activities and tours of the area. Armed with a little less Spanish than we should have had, we did pretty good at learning on the fly, or having our rough translations down in our pocket book. The people of Nicaragua were very friendly with our broken Spanish, and we were always able to figure out what we needed to do. 

Casa Santosha; that pool was a godsend to cool off from Nicaragua's heat.

Casa Santosha; that pool was a godsend to cool off from Nicaragua’s heat.

On one of the hottest days, we walked down the road to do a Canopy tour with howler monkeys. It’s part of a tour that has 16 long zip-lines, and it was pretty awesome. The braking was all manual on the zip-lines with a thick piece of leather glued into the palm of a glove so you could control how fast you’d go down the line. I’m pretty sure I came in way too fast on most of the lines, but especially on the 1000+ foot one. Looking down above the tops of the trees is pretty spectacular.

That's me soaring through the treetops flying down one of the larger zip-lines over 1000 feet long. The braking is manual with a thick leather glove, so you can get going ridiculously fast.

That’s me soaring through the treetops flying down one of the larger zip-lines over 1000 feet long. The braking is manual with a thick leather glove, so you can get going ridiculously fast.

A howler monkey jumps from a branch just above us in the bottom left corner.

A howler monkey jumps from a branch just above us in the bottom left corner.

We went on a 3 hour horseback ride that meandered through the countryside and then across 3 beaches — Playa Mathilda, Playa San Lorenzo, and Playa Maderas. This was a great way to see the area, at a nice slow pace where you could take in the sights and animals along the way.

We went on a 3 hour guided horseback tour that spanned 3 beaches; a great way to see things we otherwise would have never seen.

We went on a 3 hour guided horseback tour that spanned 3 beaches; a great way to see things we otherwise would have never seen.

I love this heavily styled photo I took of Katie as we headed onto the first beach, Playa Mathilda.

I love this heavily styled photo I took of Katie as we headed onto the first beach, Playa Mathilda.

We did a day tour of some other areas of central Nicaragua where we started off the day with a visit to an organic coffee plantation on the Mombacho volcano. We then continued on to the colonial city of Granada, which was absolutely beautiful with all the old buildings so brightly painted. Granada was founded in 1524 and is rumoured to be the first European city in mainland America. We stayed here for a few hours and took our driver Edgard out for a nice lunch in the Central Park area of the city.

The La Merced Church in Granada; originally built in 1534 is a couple blocks away from Granada's Central Park. We paid the $1 entrance fee to climb up the bell tower on the left side so that we could view the whole city.

The La Merced Church in Granada; originally built in 1534 is a couple blocks away from Granada’s Central Park. We paid the $1 entrance fee to climb up the bell tower on the left side so that we could view the whole city.

The Cathedral of Granada, shot from Central Park.

The Cathedral of Granada, shot from Central Park.

The colours of the buildings all over Nicaragua are just beautiful; I shot so many photos of the buildings and doorways that I've created a post just that.

The colours of the buildings all over Nicaragua are just beautiful; I shot so many photos of the buildings and doorways that I’ve created a post just that — you can see that here.

After lunch, we took off to the artists market in Masaya and checked out hundreds of individual markets to find some local pottery. To end the day off we swam in the crater of the massive Apoyo volcano; it’s the largest volcanic lagoon in Nicaragua and was breathtaking to swim in, and was so refreshing after so much walking and driving around. We left just before the sun went down, and as we made our way back down the sketchy mountain road, we came across an old cemetery. I asked our driver to pull over so we could check it out. It was a pretty surreal experience to be in this very colourful mountaintop cemetery just as it was getting dark out.

Katie stands in front of the main gate at the Masaya artists market.

Katie stands in front of the main gate at the Masaya artists market.

Mountaintop cemetery visit just as the sun was setting.

Mountaintop cemetery visit just as the sun was setting.

We ended our trip by taking a ferry over to the Isla de Ometepe (Ometepe Island) where we rented ATV’s, and toured the island that’s made up of two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas that create the shape of an hourglass. Okay, I change my mind; I think seeing the island by ATV’s is the best way to see things firsthand. In the couple of days we were on the island, we were able to see a lot of the island that we absolutely would not have been able to see without. Some of the roads were so bad that they were a pretty rough ride on the ATV’s, and we had to drive miles on them, particularly when we were making our way over to do a kayak tour.

Touring the Ometepe Island countryside's back roads on ATV's was definitely the best thing we did on the trip. Here we went around the backside of the Concepción Volcano on our way over to the east side of the island to find some ancient petroglyphs.

Touring the Ometepe Island countryside’s back roads on ATV’s was definitely the best thing we did on the trip. Here we went around the backside of the Concepción Volcano on our way over to the east side of the island to find some ancient petroglyphs.

We did a kayak tour of the Rio Istiam (Istiam River) where we were able to explore the lush biodiversity, see huge iguanas and baby howler monkeys up in the trees, and even saw the elusive caiman alligator. We had to stand up and balance across a couple kayaks in order to see and get a picture of the caiman; not a great time to lose your balance.

Just kayaking down the Rio Istián to find a caiman alligator — NBD.

Just kayaking down the Rio Istián to find a caiman alligator — NBD.

We fell in love with the food there, which is primarily rice and beans — which can be very boring, but we found it really flavourful in Nica. I ate a ton of fresh fish almost daily, and was blown away by the prices; quite cheap by our standards. That top left fish plate was caught just minutes before it was thrown on the grill; a great way to finish off our kayak tour of the river. We found some recipes for the rice and beans and now make it at home all the time, served on our hand-made pottery from Nicaragua almost puts us back there. We cannot wait to get back down there and explore even more of the country.

So much great food in Nicaragua from open street market grills to nice restaurants. The coconut-crusted fish (bottom right) was definitely a favourite.

So much great food in Nicaragua from open street market grills to nice restaurants. The coconut-crusted fish (bottom right) was definitely a favourite.

 

PHOTO GALLERY  |  Enjoy this photo gallery from our Nicaraguan honeymoon below; just a small sampling of the 1000+ photos I shot. This gallery has all the images from the above article, and plenty more; scroll through them with your ‘right arrow’ key.

Posted in: Blog, Photography
Related Posts
All work © 2012 Chris Young Design unless noted otherwise. All rights reserved.