Things to do
Book a random shuttle I walked into a travel agency in el Tunco and booked the first shuttle that would leave this place. I saw that the agency offered three options to go to: Honduras, Guatemala or Nicaragua. The first shuttle leaving was the one to Leon, Nicaragua. A 10-hour ride was waiting for me; let the adventure begin!
Check out the AirBnB options - living the Jershey Shore life
My shuttle was maximum loaded with 12 persons. We all shared the same idea of celebrating new years eve in San Juan del Sur. This town is a very popular backpackers place, which offers loads of parties - not really my thing, but well, yolo. While looking for a hostel, we found out that we were not the only ones wanting to spend New Years Eve in San Juan; every hostel was fully booked. There was only 1 thing left to do: checking out the AirBnB options. We were lucky with finding a crazy big villa located upon the hills, which was affordable with this many people. To me it felt crazy to spend 3 days in a place like this, it almost felt like living the Jersey Shore life.
Travel to the Corn Islands by boat
Since the forecast showed me there wouldn't be any waves for the upcoming days, I decided to visit the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. There are two possibilities to get there: by plane or by bus, panga, and boat. Obviously, the plane is way faster, but I wanted to sail through the rivers of the jungle and hear the howler monkeys. What should have been a 2-day journey, turned into a big adventure of 5 days. Though, for some people it turned into a big disaster.
While entering Captain D - for us also known as Captain Drama - we noticed a big amount of people, huge pigs, many bananas, and sand bags. The ship broke down at a peninsula called El Bluf: a place to get permission to enter the ocean. After waiting for 5 hours, we heard that we couldn't continue our journey to the Corn Islands, so we had to wait for the next boat. Unfortunately, they didn't say when that boat would arrive, so we decided to check every hour, 24/7. Two exhausting nights with sleeping between drunk people on the street, without seeing any boats made us all very hopeless. The coastguard gave us hope three times a day by telling us there was a ship coming up, but we never saw it until Thursday; the day we finally spotted that tiny fisherman’s boat getting closer and closer. After hearing a double confirmation that he could bring us to the Islands, we jumped of joy with the last energy we had. We sailed overseas by night, which was extra exciting with the darkness, bright stars, and big waves. We all kissed the ground when entering Big Corn and couldn't be happier finding a hostel with normal beds. The cockroaches didn't matter at all!
Tips for traveling
Shuttles - enjoy the ride For me, going to Nicaragua was a spontaneous trip. I wanted to celebrate New Years Eve at a special place and decided to book this random shuttle leading me to Nicaragua. The driving within Central America is crazy, but I have never had such a scary experience with shuttles before. When we negotiated with several drivers, we stepped into a shuttle but eventually walked out of it again and took another one, as this one offered us the best price. Once on the road, we saw a big truck tipped over on the side of the road and a few meters further there was a crashed van surrounded by rescuers. The driver of our shuttle told us that he had to take a look because he recognized the van, which belonged to a friend of his. Eventually, he said this was the van we got into in the first place: 4 people were brought to the hospital and the others were dead. Holy pancakes. Since that moment, I tried to watch the road with our driver, but I gave up quickly after 5 heart attacks I got during overtaking. You just have to be lucky, cross your fingers, and enjoy the ride.
Tips The best tip I can give is to build up some good karma. Have a good feeling about the driver and make sure he's not intoxicated. During the payment, it’s useful to assign a passenger as 'the bank'. Let everyone pay its part and recount the money every passenger gives. Let the driver recount it as well and then everything will be fine. Don't let everyone pay their part to the driver separately, otherwise you might go pay too much.
If you like adventures, take the boats! You do need some time margin for the possibility of getting stuck and stuff, but you will experience the best things when doing this.
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