I am a Nicaraguan warrior

One of the stops during my holiday vacation was San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I, like many others, arrived in Nicaragua with a prejudice against the country. The wars, the drugs, the violence, etc. But like all prejudices, these feelings are based on naïveté and not knowing the facts.

“Park facing the exit”

That's where Guillermo came in. He was our tour guide for the day. He spent four hours with us, two hours on the way to the Masaya Volcano located about 20 minutes from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, and two hours on the way back.

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Guillermo spoke the entire time. He was passionate about Nicaragua and proud of the turn his country has made in the last decade and confident in the bright future they are facing. His pride was contagious and I found myself wanting to champion what he was feeling.

This current tour season (2009-2010) is just the third year of cruise stops for Nicaragua. And in the last three years, they have added more and more stops. They went from 30 to 40 to 59. Each stop means tourist income into the country as well as an opportunity to lure people into return trips.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why my husband and I do cruises. It is a great way to get a broad overview of a particular area and figure out where we want to go back for an extended trip.

Smoke from the Masaya Volcano
Smoke from the Masaya Volcano

I have been near volcanoes before, dormant ones, but I had never been to an active volcano. So I really didn't know what to expect. We reached the top of the volcano and I have to say I was a little freaked out with all the “park facing the exit” signs, etc. Like I was going to be running for my life at any moment!

J'adore #30

You can really only look at it for a few moments because the fumes coming out of the volcano are noxious, horrible… You gag and cough and have to walk away after a minute or two, take a breath of “fresh” air, and then you can go back and look.

Hard to take pictures and while we could see for miles and miles, all the photos are smoky and hazy, so it doesn't make for good panoramic images. It was interesting, glad I did, but wouldn't do it again. No one with asthma or breathing problems should get anywhere near this place and one guy got a massive migraine and suffered all the way back.

Catarina Overlook for a picture of the Apoyo Lagoon, Granada, and Lake Nicaragua
Catarina Overlook for a photo opportunity of the Apoyo Lagoon, Granada, and Lake Nicaragua

On the way back to the ship we stopped at Catarina Overlook for a photo opportunity of the Apoyo Lagoon, Granada, and Lake Nicaragua. It was breathtaking to see and somehow reminded me of French Polynesia, in particular, Bora Bora.

There were quite of few visitors and it is sort of an “Inspiration Point” for local lovers as well. The town of Catarina also has a little market selling food and handicrafts, so the little town was quite busy.

Having just spent seven hours traveling by bus in Guatemala the day before, the four-hour bus trip to see the volcano was a bit torturous, but it was worth it to see this view. Even more worth it was the opportunity to feel the passion of someone who has hope for his country.

That the past can be overcome and that everyone and every country has a chance to change their destiny.

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When we arrived back at the port, Guillermo informed us that we were now brothers and sisters and the new Nicaraguan warriors, sent out into the world to tell people what we found and to encourage others to come and see. And I say to you, go and see…

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  1. I met someone from Nicaragua while in Costa Rica and it made me want to go. Your tour guide sounds amazing and your pictures are beautiful!

  2. Awww, your posts are bringing back SUCH beautiful memories of my time in Latin America. How awesome was San Juan del Sur!? I wanted to buy a beach house there and never leave, haha.

  3. @AndiP, It was great! The interesting thing to see was how much of a difference there was between Guatemala and Nicaragua in terms of progress. The both have a lot of the same natural resources, but there is better infrastructure and educational processes in Nicaragua, I don’t know my South American history post the last wars to know if they were aided by other countries (including the U.S. who had caused more harm than good) which gave them a leg up on Guatemala.

    @Susan, I really enjoyed Nicaragua the most of all the places we got a peek at. The only thing was I did not eat a meal there, which I would have loved to do, I am sure it would have been wonderful!

  4. Stopping by from SITS to say hi and loving this post about your trip. The volcano sounds amazing and scary at the same time. I have never seen an active one so I’m amazing. I love to travel but have never been to Nicaragua before.

  5. I can’t imagine how do you up there. But it is a great picture. Say how bout visit my country with many volcano trip collection

  6. I am so in envy of your travels. Ah, the life I could have had had I not become a mother. Must live vicariously through you. It’s almost good enough.

  7. Oh, I love Nicaragua so much! Masaya is very beautiful, as is the rest of the country! We were touring around Nicaragua for 4 weeks and saw so many things from Corn islands to Indio Maíz jungle and Somoto canyon, a handful of colonial cities and stunning beaches. Still, we want to return to explore deeper! Nicaragua is one of those rare countries that just keeps calling us back 🙂