Today, we went touring !
We got up early thinking of booking last-minute a boat ride to monkey-island. Since Granada is the first tourism destination in Nicaragua, you can find tour operators anywhere in town, and since Nicaragua (or its Pacific side, denser in population, volcanoes and roads anyway) is not that big, you can go anywhere in a day-trip. This way, for a short trip, you can book in the morning, and the later you arrive, the more inexpensive it is (and the less choice you have).
We found an office on the main street (that we call gringo-street among ourselves), and the guy wanted to fill his boat for an island-tour. Since he already 5-6 people, he was sure to go, but since he also has 20 seats in the boat, he wanted a few more, but they would have been a “bonus”, so the prices were nice (yeah, we are counting a lot, the prices are almost costa-rican here but it’s also less organized, so we are paying a lot of attention).
Being (very) lucky, we directly booked the island-trip and the volcano-trip in the evening, and we almost had 2 hours to walk around town before the boat left. Granada is very pretty and cared for. Gringo-street is completely reserved for pedestrians (and street vendors : jewelry, hammocks, paintings…), the central park is very nice, shaded in the day, lighted at night… Most buildings have been restored or maintained, and we also went up the bell-tower of one the churches to have a view of the city and its surroundings.
When we got back down, we bought some food for a picnic and joined the group for the boat ride. Granada Islands (called isletas, i.e. mini-islands) are a bunch of little rocks around a peninsula, resulting from a lava flow a few thousand years ago. The earth is so fertile that in the lake, it took the form of a wetland archipelago rich with life-forms. There are many bird species, birds of prey but also herons and egrets, a few monkeys in half-captivity on small islands (some were brought by a veterinarian to save them) and of course various fishes.
The boat then took us to a restaurant-island, and we had a drink. Since are a still a bit scratched (but it’s getting better fast), we didn’t swim, but it was the perfect time for a watercolor-painting.
We went back and ate our picnic, after which we went for a nap, before going to the volcano. Masaya (that’s its name) is the most active in the country, the last eruption was last December, and was mostly lots of gases being pushed into the atmosphere and a few lava sprays that made the crater broader (so now the fumes are better distributed and the view is better). It’s still growling, sometimes shaking a bit, if it’s showing signs of getting angry, the area will be evacuated (2-3 small towns) but it’s not an explosive hazard at all.
At night,the lava at the bottom of the crater is very visible, and so the tourists cars are waiting in line to take pictures in groups of 20. No more than 20, so if Masaya gets angry, less people will die (no, because they can go away faster, of course, there is a seismic early-warning system, it’s not their first rodeo !). As good tourists, we took pictures (and even a selfie, it had been a long time since the last one).
Then we got back to town, it was late and the day has been long. We shared a pizza and fell into bed !
See you tomorrow, X