The route I had planned from Managua to San Juan del Sur was a quick two hour ride so I added a short reroute to stop by Volcano Masaya.
In my few days in Nicaragua I’ve figured out that spotting police checkpoints is simple and it’s easy to predict where they’ll be. At almost every entrance and exit to each town there are two policemen. You can spot them from a distance because they have an orange safety cone in the road and their blue shirts stand out from the green landscape. Sometimes there is just a cone but that means there is a crosswalk so best to slow down and not cross solid lines. In between the towns the roads have been cop free.
The road to Volcano Mayasa takes you to the top of the volcano. Not the base where you can walk around but to the very top. They pass out hard hats to the visitors in case lava rocks are projected from the volcano while you’re visiting. The park ranger said something that I understood as I’m fine with my motorcycle helmet. They are serious about the volcano erupting at anytime.
Standing on the edge next to the crater I could only see half way down the steep cliffs. A thick cloud of volcanic gas covered the area, hiding most of the volcano. Signs posted in the area recommend you only stay for 5 minutes. And that if I experience nostril or eye irritation, I should leave.
I continued my journey south through the flat lush landscape of Nicaraguan farms. Turning off CA-1 I rode 20km to San Juan del Sur. I pulled up to Hostel Pacha Mama and knew I was in the right place when I saw three other dualsports in the parking lot. AJ from Texas with a 1200GS, Zach from Alaska with a 650XR and Ian from San Francisco with a KLR. Later in the afternoon I ran into Moto Mikey yet again. This whole crew is crossing on the Stalhratte (the sail boat I’m taking to cross the Darien Gap) The funnel south is getting thinner and the days are fewer so everyone is making the final push to get to the boat on time but still experience as much as we can.
San Juan del Sur is a small beach town near the southern border of Nicaragua. A few blocks of stores, hotels, and restaurants sit next to a small bay.
The next day AJ, Ian, and I rode a few miles south to Playa Hermosa. To get there you have to go down a dirt road for 3km and go through about a dozen water crossings. It’s a great ride to an incredibly beautiful and quiet beach.
We hung out at the beach for most of the day until the sunset. I thought about renting a board but ended up just body surfing. We rode back across all the river crossings and into town just as the sun went down. I have to ride with my high beam headlight on as the stock headlight is almost worthless. Back in San Juan Del Sur a few of us went out for dinner. There were a few options but all of us agreed a gourmet burger sounded perfect. I ordered the Animal Style burger, a take on In n’ Out Burger back in California. It was so tasty that I didn’t care that I paid tourist prices. We had a good time talking about our different experiences of traveling by motorcycle. Up until I started this trip I thought this was still somewhat of a crazy idea. But for weeks now I haven’t thought about it. Even with the constant change, life feels normal. As normal as it can be. Ian and I talked about our prep time for the trip. He worked up until two days before his trip. I had two weeks off before I left and thought that was a crazy two weeks. For the first time in a while I thought about that time before I left. I remember having dinner with a friend a day before I was supposed to leave. I had knots in my stomach I was so nervous. I have a suspicion that when it’s time for me to return home I’ll have knots in my stomach about the journey ending.
Back at Club Pacha Mama, I mean Hostel Pacha Mama, a band was playing some kind of reggae/jazz fusion. I haven’t stayed at too many hostels on this trip but I’ve managed to end up staying at the loudest hostels in town. When I check-in there is never anyone around, but by 8PM you can’t hear what you’re saying as Miley Cyrus remixes are blasted over the stereo. At Pacha Mama they just opened up a new building a block away which was a nice place to get a good nights rest before making an early drive to Costa Rica in the morning.