Masaya Volcano National Park
There are not that many places where you can drive up to the top of an active volcano, but hell, we are in Nicaragua, why not. Masaya National Park lets you drive up to the lip of a sulfury smoke spewing active volcano that occasionally spits up a few lava rocks. You have to park your car backed in (in case you need to leave quickly) and also there are warnings at the entrance letting you know that if a rock smashes your car, well, you asked for it.
For five dollars a night you can camp at the visitors center. It was very quiet and we made a great dinner as the sky opened up around us in one of our first true rainstorms of Central America. The XP desperately needed a wash and we had been hoping for anything that would help cool us off. Humidity is not my friend. And while the rain did cool it off a bit, we were definitely getting reminded that Central America can be VERY hot.
About five years ago Sam and I visited Nicaragua. We went diving in the Corn Islands (amazing!) and visited Granada and Laguna Apoyo. I remember being really enthralled by Granada then, but to be honest I had not visited many Spanish colonial cities in the Americas. After visiting cities like Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and San Luis Potosi in Mexico (to name just a few) and Antigua in Guatemala, Granada just seemed, well, smaller this time. It is a pretty city, but does not have the same charm of some of the other places we have visited this last year. It is funny how places you once loved change the more your travel. Granada is still a special city, it just lost a little of the magic my memory gave it.
Also, while we were here it was hot. Hideously, humid and hot. We camped for three dollars at the Red Cross in town and had a pretty miserable few nights sleep. It was just too hot to sleep well. I put towels in the freezer and then would put them on my head to cool off during the night. We have three fans going (yes three!), but fans blowing hot air don’t do much. We were cranky and sweaty. Intense heat when you are camping takes the fun factor of anyplace down a few notches if you are not used to it, and we are not. So while I once loved Granada, I liked it just fine this time, but began to realize more and more just special Mexico was to me.