Monday, May 28, 2012

León, Nicaragua - May 28, 2012

The time came for us to renew our visitor visa here in Nicaragua so last week we went to Costa Rica for a few days relaxing on the beach. We had previously purchased bus tickets through a company called "A Safe Passage" so all we had to do was present our emailed copies of our tickets to the ticket clerk and we were on our way. Travelling on the bus is an easy way to go from one country to another when travelling through Central America. The bus attendants are very helpful and do most of the running around for you. They collect the fees that are required at the border and get your exit stamp from Nicaragua. Once we got to the Costa Rica side all we had to do was go into Immigration to get our passports stamped and answer any questions they had - they didn't have any for us so we were quickly back on the bus.

When researching our trip to Costa Rica we quickly realized that it is more expensive than Nicaragua. We did find reasonably priced accommodations in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste at a place called Villa Kokomo. We liked the fact that it was at a higher elevation and there was a nice view from the balcony (more on that later). The bus ticket we purchased was from Managua through to San Jose, Costa Rica, but we got off in a town called Liberia. In Liberia it was very simple to get the local bus to Playa Hermosa. Pat was following the instructions that we had received from Dennis, the owner of Villa Kokomo, and so we got off the bus when we passed the REmax Tres Amigos office. This meant that we had to walk back the way we had come on the bus and walk up a big hill to the hotel...... I did mention that it was a higher elevation - well, we knew it was on a hill and that we would have to WALK up that HILL.... and we have walked up many hills in the past - how hard could it be???? Well, this hill was a killer! The last 1/3 km was almost perpendicular! If we had stayed there any longer we would have had "buns of steel" - but the view was worth it.

Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste is a nice little village but at this time of year there isn't very much happening. Most visitors who sleep in Playa Hermosa play in Playa Coco a little town not too far away. The beach was great for walking and had nice gentle waves perfect for swimming. We booked a snorkeling tour with Safari Divers and went out with a small group of divers to a couple of local dive spots. The morning was a little overcast and raining but we loved the time in the water. We found the water here a little murky compared to the snorkeling we have done off Isla Mujeres but we saw lots of fish and the tour company was very competent and there was a nice relaxed atmosphere that everyone enjoyed.

Monkey Crossing Sign

One of the big pleasures we had at Villa Kokomo was the fact that a couple of troops of Howler monkeys would regularly swing by - morning and evening. We enjoyed watching them and got a few great pictures.

Howler Monkeys

Howler Monkey on a wire

All too quickly we were heading back to Nicaragua and we stopped for the night in Granada to visit some friends. We spent a nice evening with Bill and Cindy Rose who are serving in the Granada English Congregation and are from Thorold, Ontario - where we used to live before we moved to Nova Scotia. We are looking forward to seeing them in a couple of weeks when Bill comes to give a talk in our hall.

We were happy to arrive home on Friday. When we entered the dining area we found that a lizard had taken up residence while we were away. He was quickly shown the door! The next morning I heard Pat yelping from the bedroom/bathroom area and thought that something really terrible had happened - like maybe he had stepped on a scorpion or something...... no, not a scorpion.... it appears that a "second" lizard had taken up residence and was found in the shower. Pat thought it was dead and when he picked it up he dropped it and found out it was alive. He picked it up again "by the tail" and the tail broke off. The third time he picked it up the poor thing had had enough of this treatment and bit him! Pat finally got it outside and it hasn't returned (at least we haven't seen it).