Wednesday 23 January 2013
Highlights: Island Wildlife, religious stone statues, relaxing thermal springs.
Today was a chance to explore this unique island while others went bike riding and the more fit and willing climbed Conception Volcano.
But first I had breakfast at our homestay. The homestay wasn’t on the original plan when I booked but G Adventure added it recently. So now I stead of staying in a hotel we stay in a local house which gives you a chance to see how people actually live.
For this stay I was sharing a room with Stephen and Daniel while normally I would have a room to myself as per me booking the single supplement. This made for a good change and a chance to get to know my roommates better. At around 5.30 am the shower suddenly turned on waking us all. The shower water was cold but given the 30 degree plus day it was quite refreshing way to start the day.
The activity I booked today would take me around the island. My first stop was at the Charco Verde which is set on the edge of Lake Nicaragua and had the Green Lagoon. We got to see a number of howler monkeys, horses, and tree snakes which some brave people handled. This was followed by a small hike up to a lookout point that provided a great view of the surrounding area. The struggle on the hike confirmed I was right not to climb the volcano! During this hike my small group ran into Yomi, Nomi, Stephen and Laura on their bike ride.
Next up was a stop in the largest town on the island to see the oldest church which for safety reasons has now been closed. The frequent earthquakes caused by the volcano have weaken the structure too much. The grounds of the church have a number of stone statues that relate to the local religion. As in most places the Spanish encourage the incorporation of local revisions into Catholic practises in order to convert the native population.
Lunch was overlooking Lake Nicaragua in an idealistic setting. You would swear we were on the edge of a great ocean not an enormous lake. You couldn’t see the other side of the lake so it felt like an endless ocean.
Our last stop was the thermal springs. The water wasn’t too hot as it we were a distance from the volcano but it still had all the minerals just none of the bad sulphur smell. I floated in the water for close to an hour just relaxing.
The trips around the island was part of the adventure as well. For example we run into a lot cows and bulls just walking around on the streets, in fact there were pigs, horses and chickens everywhere. Over 60% of the island’s population work on a farm but there is an increasing proportion moving into the tourism industry. In fact the island’s first airport should be completed in the next 18 months. It will be interesting to see how this effects the island, hopefully the character of the island will remain.
Dinner was with our local family after which we headed down to the local area to watch the sunset and enjoy the hammocks.