About 8 months ago Bayley sent me (Holly) a text that said something along the lines of would you wanna go on a trip with me? I wish I could find it and screen shot it because Bayley didn't expect my reply, but between riding, photography and just being best friends in general we text....A LOT! Anyways, I replied with a simple "Sure! As long as its not expensive to fly."! Our first step was researching different places we could visit and after some googling and chatting with friends and family, we decided on Nicaragua! Both of our husbands are rock stars and were completely supportive of us taking off for a couple of weeks, so Bayley booked the flights, I started researching and the countdown began! (Fun fact, I LOVE to research things, Bayley very lovingly makes fun of me for it but I am slowly turning her into a researcher too!) So without further ado, here is a little sneak peek into our adventure....
Like everyone from Vancouver Island, our trip began with a good old ferry ride! We were super lucky to have Bayley's dad pick us up from the ferry and take us to Steveston! It was Super Bowl Sunday so we decided to hit one of Karl's favourite pubs - The Buck and Ear.
We woke up bright and early the next morning to catch the shuttle from our hotel to YVR. We checked in, made it through security (another fun fact, Holly beeps EVERY time she goes through security...she likes to say its the plate and screws in her wrist but pretty sure it's just her bra...) and enjoyed some Starbucks before taking off on the first leg of our journey, YVR to Mexico City. We got on our plane and proceeded to sit on the tarmac for 45 minutes, thus causing our flight to leave late, which made us nervous because our layover in Mexico City was only supposed to be an hour and half. Fast forward through 4 and a half hours of stuffy and cramped air time to Mexico City airport. We had been told upon landing in Mexico that we just needed to go to the desk and tell them we were connecting and we would then be pointed in the right direction, which turned out to be the customs line...that everyone else from every other flight landing in Mexico was in! We looked at the length of the line (it was loooooong!) and looked at our watches...only 50 minutes until our connection! Were we going to make it? We weren't sure, but no matter who we talked to we were told that was the line we had to be in. Twenty minutes into this line someone approaches us and asks if we have a connection. "Yes! We do!!" we reply, and we are told to go stand in another line...that doesn't end up being much quicker. We finally make it through Customs only to be told that we better hurry because now there is only about 15 minutes before our connection leaves, so we hurry up the stairs only to find we have to go through security again! Luckily that line wasn't near as long as the customs line and we made it through with no issues. Then we were those people you see racing through the airport dodging other people shopping at the duty free to catch their connection. We came to a screeching halt at our gate, gasping for air, only to find that our plane had already taxi'd out. We had missed it. By 5 minutes. The next flight? The next day at 9:30am. But thats ok! Its all part of the adventure! We found ourselves a hotel for the night, ordered pizza, enjoyed a cerveza and a good nights sleep, and headed back to the airport the next morning to fly to Managua, Nicaragua.
Our first stop was Granada! It is located on the Pacific side of Nicaragua along the shores of Lake Nicaragua (another fun fact, there used to be SHARKS in the lake!). It is an adorable little colonial style city that is full of life and bright colours...
We stayed at an awesome Hostel called Hotel El Maltese. Our room was the size of a walk in closet but it had AC, great wifi, super yummy breakfast, and BIKES! We discovered the bikes on our second day and ended up spending a lot of time biking around the city enjoying the sites!
The day before we left Granada we took a day trip to Laguna De Apoyo which is a lake located in the crater of an extinct volcano! The water is warm and blue, surrounded by black volcanic sand! It was super windy the day we were there but we had the dock out on the lake all to ourselves! It was the perfect afternoon!
From Granada we headed to the Pacific Coast and San Juan Del Sur! It started with a 3 hour shuttle ride in which we met some great people and watched as several backpacks fell from the roof rack onto the side of the road from our van! Luckily ours stayed safe, and the driver of our shuttle noticed that the bags had fallen so was able to go back and retrieve them! The moment we checked into our hostel we changed into our swim suits, put on some sunscreen and headed to the beach! Our hostel was just minutes from the beach and on the way was a corner store that sold tall boy beer for just $1USD! The minute we walked onto the beach we were in love! We walked a ways down the beach and picked a spot for our towels and settled down to sun tan, enter our first lesson of San Juan Del Sur...it is WINDY! We were covered in sand in just minutes but it was completely worth it.
Every morning we hit Simon Says for breakfast! It was the cutest little garden cafe with the most delicious fruit smoothies and all you can eat tradition Nica breakfast! It was the perfect way to start the day! We spent our days on the beach and it didn't take us long to realize that instead of laying on the beach and being assaulted by wind and sand, we could rent a couple of lounge chairs and an umbrella for $5 - the best $5 we spent!
Sunday is a special day in San Juan Del Sur! Sunday Funday! It is a pool crawl run by a couple of the hostels and it attracts many backpackers and locals alike! We knew we couldn't skip out on Sunday Funday so we lined up with everyone else and prepared ourselves to party! (Ok maybe not party, but we still had fun!!)
Another popular thing to do in San Juan is hike up to the Jesus Statue! The view is phenomenal and completely worth the 30 min uphill trek! We decided to head up in the later afternoon so we could catch the sunset..
For our last day in San Juan we headed to Maderas Beach to go surfing! It was the best feeling to surf in the Pacific Ocean and NOT be cold or have to wear a wet suit!!
From San Juan Del Sur we headed back to Managua to catch a flight to the Corn Islands on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua! It's a one hour flight from Managua to Big Corn Island, and from there just a 2 min (and $1USD) taxi ride to the docks where you catch the boat, or Panga, to Little Corn Island! The panga's are approximately 28ft, open and have wooden benches for seating, with storage for luggage in the front hull of the boat. We had read a little bit about the ride and ended up lucking out by getting seats in the middle of the middle row! There is no good way to really describe the ride over to Little Corn, it is about 45 minutes through open seas. The day we went the swells were approximately 2 meters. We had an amazing captain and a great crew and had an absolute blast on the way over! By the time we arrived on Little Corn it was close to dinner time so we dropped our bags at our hostel and headed out to find food! There are no cars on Little Corn, just pathways for walking and some bikes. It is also quite a small island so walking is easy! We settled on a restaurant that ended up becoming one of our favourite places to eat while we were there. (it had the yummiest fish tacos and 2 for on 1 happy hour for drinks!) The first night we selfishly picked a table that could have actually sat 5 people, but we wanted to watch the sunset! This turned out to be a great decision because we ended up meeting a great group of guys - 1 of which worked on the island 4-6 months of the year taking tourists fly fishing. We ended up chatting the night away with them, and then running into them multiple times the next day, so took it as fate that we should all just be friends, and ended up hanging out every night. They took us to some great local spots including a Reggae bar and a place that served the best fried chicken we have ever tasted!
We also went snorkelling while on Little Corn and it was some of the most amazing snorkelling we have ever done! The water was so clear and we saw a giant eagle ray, a sting ray, lots of different species of fish and Nurse Sharks!
We rounded out our trip by heading back to Big Corn Island for a couple of days. The first day we spent relaxing on the beach until a storm blew in. The second day we spent at Casa Canada - spend $10USD on food or drinks and you can use their infinity pool and lounge chairs all day! We soaked up all the sunshine we could before starting our long trek home the next day!
We are so blessed to have been able to go on this trip! Thank you to all of YOU for supporting us over the past 3 (almost 4!!) years! Without With Love Photography a lot of this would not have been possible and we are so so thankful! We are all rested, refreshed and ready for Wedding Season 2018!
Where we stayed: Hotel El Maltese (Complimentary Breakfast!)
Where we ate: O'Sheas Irish Bar, The Garden Cafe, Pita Pita, Taco Stop
What we did: Bike, Dona Elba Cigars, Laguna De Apoyo, Cathedral De Granada, Central Parque, general site seeing
SAN JUAN DEL SUR
Where we stayed: Hotel Central, Moke Huhu Guest House
Where we ate: Simon Says, Dale Puse, The Loose Moose, The Taco Spot
What we did: Sun tan, Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia (Jesus Statue), Sunday Funday!, Surfing at Maderas Beach
LITTLE CORN ISLAND
Where we stayed: Seaside Hostel
Where we ate: Tranquilo Cafe, Cafe Desideri, Rosa's Cafe, Colour View
What we did: Sun tan, Snorkelling
BIG CORN ISLAND
Where we stayed: Island Roots Hostel
Where we ate: Pizzeria Italia Ristorante, Seaside Grill, The Dive Cafe, Restaraunte Relax
What we did: Sun tan, Pool at Casa Canada