Leòn, San Juan del Sur & Playa Madera
I wake in Leòn and decide to spend a lazy day around the city, taking in the sights and enjoying not driving. I spend most of the morning trying to buy a map of the whole of Nicaragua, with no success. Apparently such things don’t exist, and if they do, it’s not possible to get them inside Nicaragua. The city has the oldest cathedral in Central America on which construction began in 1747 and went for over 100 years. It’s a beautiful stone structure on the edge of the town square and I spend lots of time hanging around the area getting the feel for the city. The heat in the concrete city is intense, making for a very lazy afternoon.
In the morning I make my way to Jan Juan del Sur, arguably the surf capital of Nicaragua. The town itself does not feel like much to me and the bay seems to prevent swell from rolling in so I make my way north on a little gravel road to Playa Madera, which comes highly recommended. Tourists seem also to have heard about this place, arriving twenty at a time on ‘learn to surf’ tours. A few hundred meters further up the beach is Matilda’s, a great campsite right on the beach. I setup here and wind up staying for a few days, enjoying the surf, sun & monkeys that come right into the campground.
I meet up with a bunch of different people, all hanging out around the area and am amused how most of the surfers are depressed at the lack of swell for the last few weeks and aren’t much to talk to. I meet a couple of crazy American guys who drink rum like I drink water and so of course we head into San Juan del Sur on Saturday night to see what we can find. It’s not hard to find drunkenness when beers are $1 USD and rum is equally cheap. The Iguana Bar is the place to go and it’s extremely crowded with both gringos and locals. I finally bump into my friend Ty, who’s car I saw in Antigua. He’s had an awesome drive down and his trusty old Subaru had done just fine, minus a couple of broken windows. He’s moving into Costa Rica soon to sell his car and then continue on foot and we’re both certain we’ll see each other again.
While hanging out one sunny afternoon two motorbikes roll up that are obviously geared up to ride a very long way. Quickly I recognize Adrian who I met in Stewart, Northern British Columbia many months ago. Riding with him is James, who has come down from Toronto in a few short months. We chat for a long time before Adrian has to move on, so James and I continue the conversation for many hours. He’s had an awesome ride down and we swap story after story, discussing everything and nothing at the same time. Checkout his blog at http://tripdown.regioncoding.com/
Hanging out on the beach is great for a few days and I’m thoroughly ready when it’s time to move on.