We saw a brochure on the town of Masaya and it looked pretty interesting so we picked it as our destination for the day. It was only a couple of hours away so had a leisurely breakfast and took our time. It was nice to adopt a relaxed pace. It seems we have been going pretty hard for a couple of weeks.
As we left Rivas it occurred to me that the scene in front of me was becoming common place for us. The road was filled with ox carts, motos, buses taxies, trucks, bicycles and people walking with baskets or sacks on their heads. We are really going to miss this everyday excitement when we get home.
The ride to Masaya went smooth and we soon arrived in town. It is a reasonably large town with several hotels listed in the brochure. Unfortunately, we found the hotels we looked at to be very modest (dumps to be more exact) and after an hour or so of searching were resigned o move on and look for more suitable digs. Nicaragua is definitely trying to build their tourist industry but still lack the basic infrastructure such as hotels in many areas.
Just as we were leaving town we spotted a nice looking place on the highway. If you go to Masaya, look at staying at the Madonna Inn. It is the only decent hotel we could find and is actually quite nice.
After checking in we took a taxi downtown and started with the market. It is in a very old building that is filled with airy, brightly colored stalls selling the crafts of the local artisans as well as other goods. The prices are very good and the vendors are polite, helpful but not the least bit pushy or annoying. We have been in a lot of markets on this trip and this one is definitely right at the top of the list.
Janine got herself “another” purse but I couldn’t really protest. I bought a package of 10 excellent Cuban cigars for about $13.00. Back in Canada these same cigars run $25.00 to $30.00 each! (Yes, we have been warned that some Cuban cigars sold in central America are counterfeits but since these taste like the genuine article, even if they are fakes they are very good fakes and I am happy).
We strolled around the town until dusk, taking in the sights and even watching a neighborhood soccer game for a while. It was a nice relaxing day in a very nice little town. (Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera so no photos of the town today)
Something I need to mention here. When we were in Granada the most prevalent theme was the garbage in the streets. We have heard that there was actually some sort of garbage strike going on at the time but the streets have now been cleaned up. We have not witnessed the garbage problem in Nicaragua this time and most towns are in fact very clean.