Today's plan was to take a little overnight trip to San Juan del Sur - a nearby spot on the Pacific Ocean where we had read about a lovely bay and a charming inn. We researched car rental vs car and driver and came up with a far better price with car rental, though we had heard otherwise. The car and driver would have been $85 each way and the rental was just $26.00 per day! Plus it would be more of an adventure to drive and we had Bill who has younger eyes than ours!
The car rental place was to pick us up at 10 but at about 9 the owner called and said there was no one to pick us up to we took a taxi to the place. It was only a couple of miles away and the usual 50 cent pp rate for the taxi so off we went. There was much confusion about which car we were to have and at what rate, but in the end, we got our cute little blue ()?) Japanese something and off we went.
We had heard that the road was pretty good most of the way and that did prove to be true. Once we reached the Pan American Highway (which goes all the way through Central America incidentally) the going was pretty smooth with some intermittent potholes and speed bumps (unmarked I might add, and treacherous). It is just a two lane road though.
But eventually we saw the turnoff sign for road 16 to San Juan del Sur through Rivas.
Well, now the going became VERY interesting. No habitations at all that we could see and very few cars or trucks. The road was very rough and stony and potholed and strange piles of large rock lined the sides of the road every km or so. We were curious about these, but the biggest surprise was that very soon we came upon a roadblock. A large, impassable pile of rock and stone across the road. No way past it, only a small path around it to accomodate the two way traffic and no one in sight guiding traffic.
You could see fairly far ahead and no one could possibly be speeding along this road so it wasn't too difficult to get around.
We thought we were done with that but not so. There were at least 7 of these roadblocks that we had to deal with before reaching the coast. Sometimes there was actually a worker ot two to be seen at these sites but often they were empty. They did seem to be getting ready to "pave" this stretch of road and later on we found out that that is indeed the case.
At last we did reach dear and beautiful San Juan del Sur and our delightful La Posada Azul. www.laposadaazul.com will take you to their website if you are interested and there are some wonderful pictures there. An especially charming lady manager met us and showed us to our rooms. Every comfort had been thought of for the guests and the feeling was of being a cherished guest with spaces all around in which to relax, swim, chat, and read or whatever one chose.
But we were hungry and asked our hostess for a lunch recommendation , on the water of course. She asked if we liked lobster and then we followed her directions to a few block walk along the ocean to her fabulous selection. WE all had lobster except Sandra who chose a salad. I chose steamed, Roger garlic lobster, and Bill chose grilled. What a feast! I think someone chose lobster bisque too which we shared. The portions were huge. I had 3 generous lobster tails served with a lovely sauce. It was all so fresh and succulent. Each plate was only about 12 dollars US which was amazing for the amount and quality.
After this late lunch we walked and shopped a bit and went back to swim. It was hot here of course, but not particularly humid I didn't think.
AT 5:30 we had to get positioned on the beach for sunset hour, something for which this beach is renowned! One is told to have a drink in hand and that sometimes the sunsets last for an hour or two. We all had our rum drinks and a perfect oceanfront terrace bar. It was lovely but not quite as spectacular as we had heard. I have seen some amazing sunsets in my life and this one was not so out of the ordinary. But it did last a very long time.
Wednesday, we explored the town, looked at a bit of real estate just to get an idea of prices on the ocean here - surprisingly high I thought.
We vaguely thought about crossing the border and going into Costa Rica which was only about a 30 minute drive from where we were. But this would have meant all the border nonsense, fees, visa purchases, etc and we wuld have been in scenery very like that in which we now were.
By the way, if anyone knows a surfer who wants a great wave experience, there is said to be an incredible beach about 9 km from where we were. And it is relatively unknown we are told.
But about noon, we headed back tooward Granada. We wanted to stop in Rivas on the way back, an interesting town with a gorgeous cathedral and museum and park.
Rivas is an other old colonial city and it was another hangout for horrible Bill Walker, a crazy American who had come to Nicaragua in 1846 bringing a gang of 300 thugs from Tennessee and Texas with him. He had a grand plan of conquering Nicaragua and making it into a confederate state to fight against the Yankees in the civil war in the USA.
Bill actually got as far as becoming the President of Nicaragua and reamined so for a year, when Nicaraguans finally united against him and conquered him and his troops in Granada. He proceded bo burn Granada to the ground (he even planted a flag there that said "Here WAS Granada!") before being captured and taken into Honduras for execution before a firing squad there!
We had a horrible lunch in Rivas(the only bad meal of our whole trip) but found it an interesting place nevertheless.