Costa Rica 2015: The Rest of Our Secret Trip
Our next stop on the longest day trip ever was lunch and shopping in Masaya. We pre-ordered our lunch on the bus; Eric ordered fish and I ordered pork. The food was decent but I got my pork after everyone else got their food, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t have as much time to shop. The french fries also came out later and were just like McDonald’s fries. We did get a beer that was included, and that was good at least. When we finished eating, we got to walk around and shop for a bit. We didn’t buy much but it was fun just to look around and see what kinds of crafts the Nicaraguan people make. There were also tons of kids with palms made into different things that they were trying to sell to people.
After we were finished, we headed to the lake and got to take a boat tour. Lake Granada is so big that when the Spanish arrived, they thought it was the ocean, but realized their mistake when they saw their horses drinking from the water and not getting sick. It really is that big. There are even tiny islands in the middle of them and many have houses on them. There was one island that had spider monkeys living there. Someone had bought them and placed them on the island. There were actually islands with and without houses for sale, so if anyone is looking for cheap international property, I know just the place!
After the boat tour, we got to walk around the city of Granada for a few minutes. This was the part that I wished we had had more time for. The city is beautiful and reminded me a lot of Granada, Spain. We went into a little hammock shop where they hand-make beautiful hammocks. The shop also employs the less fortunate and is a mission of sorts. We got to lay on this really huge hammock and the guy working there took a picture of us!
We walked by La Merced church but couldn’t enter it because they were in the middle of Mass. I guess I will have to go back someday so I can see inside.
We also stopped at the Hotel Alhambra. This is a gorgeous hotel and it is super cheap. It had a beautiful indoor pool and rooms are like $90 a night. I don’t know of anywhere in the US where you could stay in a hotel this amazing for that kind of price. I plan to go back someday and stay at this hotel.
Upon leaving Granada, it was a couple of hours to head back to the Costa Rican border. Our tour guide turned up the music and got everyone dancing for awhile. He also gave us hand-carved maracas with our names on them, which was a nice gesture. When we got to the border, we had to check out of Nicaragua and check into Costa Rica, so basically the reverse of going into Nicaragua. It took a little less time than before because there were less people crossing the border at this time of night, but it still seemed like a long time, especially since we were all ready to get back. We got to chat with the guide for a few minutes and he said he has to get a new passport every two months or so because he goes back and forth across the border so often that he runs out of pages in it. I can’t imagine how expensive that is to do!
We were also starving on the way home. We weren’t scheduled to get back until almost 10 pm and I knew everything in Playa Hermosa would be closed. We talked the driver and the tour guide into letting us stop at McDonald’s. I know we don’t normally eat at American chains in other countries, but this was our only option for dinner that evening. It actually tasted the exact same way as it does in the states.
We arrived back at our hotel super late that evening. All the reviews of this tour are right. It is a really long day, but it is a really great experience. I don’t like that so much of it was spent driving, but all the things we got to see and do more than made up for it. I don’t know that we ever would have gone to Nicaragua other than on this day trip, and now I have Granada, Nicaragua on my list of places to explore further!
To read more about our trip: