After an afternoon of swimming, sliding and jumping into the water, it was time for us to make our way back to the village, bumping into one of the teachers from the local school along the way. We paused for a moment atop a huge rock to take in the views of the forest that stretched on for miles in front of us. Photos simply cannot do this landscape justice.
Too soon was it time to leave El Lagartillo, after some fantastic evenings shared with wonderful people, rum and music. It’s strange, I’ve had the village mapped out in my mind for so long that visiting it in real life didn’t feel like I was somewhere new, and as we said our goodbyes and left for Granada, it felt like what I was leaving behind was, in some ways, a place I could call home.
The journey to Granada was quite uncomfortable for me – I had been nursing a slight hangover from the previous night’s small leaving party, which involved a slight incident of a collapsing bench and a terrible rendition of House of the Rising Sun, and I’d also developed a pretty bad cough. Nevertheless, I was still very excited to visit a place that was new to all in our group, and my discomfort was more or less eased by our wonderful hotel for the night.
This hotel was beautiful, boasting two gorgeous pools, a mix of stone and hardwood floors, massive four poster beds, and most excitingly, air conditioning. The breakfast was delicious, the setting was perfect for our touristic wanderings and it couldn’t have been a more perfect introduction to the colourful colonial city.
Monkey Island & Las Isletas
On our last full day in Nicaragua, we started off with a boat trip around Las Isletas, stopping off to visit the mischievous oreo-loving monkeys on Monkey Island. Our tour guide explained the history of the isletas, the way they were formed by a huge eruption from the Mombacho volcano nearby and are now home to some of Nicaragua’s wealthiest residents, as well as some of its richest wildlife. We stopped to have a Toña and a swim, also stopping at an old fort that housed the skull of a freshwater shark, of which there are a small number living in the depths of Lake Nicaragua. We picked some green mangoes from a tree and ate them as we continued on our tour.
As soon as we came back from the boat tour, we had lunch at a restaurant along the main street in Granada where there had been a parade the night before (I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed in the hotel and slept), and it was then time to leave for Managua in a hired minibus. After another comfortable stay in Best Western Las Mercedes, it was time to hop across the road to the airport and head home, sad to be leaving such a beautiful place behind.