Nicaragua: Bikes, Kayaks, and Angry Monkeys

Somehow, I wake up at 11:30. We’ve made plans to meet some friends around 9 to go kayaking and I panic, assuming we’ve unintentionally ditched them. But jk, I’m delusional and it’s only 7:30am. Now I can go back to sleep. But jk, no I can’t. It appears I am up for the day.
I spend the morning hanging out, reading my book, and admiring the view of the volcano in my backyard. Hard life.

At 9:30 the guys show up at our hostel and we head out to rent bikes. For $5, you get a bicycle for the day, which is a little more fun than simply hopping in a cab to the beach. Not that cabs are super easy to find here anyway. The road is rough; mostly composed of sand and rocks. Eventually I give up and just let my bike carry me over the bumps, hoping for the best. It’s a relatively hard ride, partly because of the terrain but also the sweltering heat. It only takes us about 45 minutes to reach the beach, but we’re all knackered when we get there.

We sit down to order some food and drinks before heading out on the water. Our food takes an hour. This is not an exaggeration. We’re not exactly in a hurry but we do need to have the bikes back by 5, and I am eager to get out and go! The food eventually comes, and to no surprise, it’s pretty mediocre. Not bad, but certainly not worth an hour wait.

We rent kayaks for $5/hour and are told it takes about 1.5 hours to make it out to “monkey island”. Sounds fun, who doesn’t like a good monkey? Our paddle starts off great but it’s a windy day and the water is pretty choppy. I manage to keep up with the boys for the majority of the journey out there, which surprises me because I haven’t kayaked in forever (Super duper proud of myself). We make it to this “monkey island” which is basically unaccessible. I assumed I’d be able to get out of the boat and chill, but nope, we just get to do a quick tour around it. We catch a glimpse of a couple monkeys in the trees, getting up close to the island for a good view. I manage to sort of wedge my kayak between two rocks so I can stay put, and not be pushed by the relentless wind. I think all is well in the world, but the next thing I know a monkey has run down the tree branch directly above my head and is HISSING at me while rattling the leaves of the tree. I’m so caught off guard, I’m certain he’s going to jump in my boat, bite me, give me rabies, and ruin my life. I’m about to die. I had a good life. Goodbye world. I don’t know what else to do but yell “ok ok ok ok!!!” and paddle myself away from the rock as fast as I can.

Mike is pretty certain he’s got a GoPro video of it (didn’t try to save me or anything, just video taped my near death)… I want it. I don’t really know how GoPros work (I know, I’m so behind the times) but he said he’ll get it to me later. He also got hissed at, so we left ASAP.

Originally we thought we’d have smooth sailing back to the beach where we rented the kayaks because the wind would be in our favour, but somehow it just made it harder to steer. However, there’s an incredible view of Conception Volcano the whole way back so I mean it’s pretty hard to complain. To prevent my phone from being lost I left it at the hostel and couldn’t get any photos. I regret nothing. I never tipped but I mean, is it ever worth it? I’ve lost too many cameras/phones for foolish reasons that I’ll (hopefully) never do it again. I have very few photos from this trip but I’m just too cautious and a little paranoid to bring it with me everywhere I go. I honestly don’t know how it survived so long is Asia. Miracle, really.

After the kayaking we have another beer before making the same bumpy trek home. At least this time, we’re prepared for the ride and brutal roads. We take it nice and easy and even walk up a few hills; I know my body is going to hate me tomorrow. It already hurts.

We go back to the hostel and recuperate. Around dinner time we walk back down to the only good bar in our area, Little Morgan’s, and have a salad because those are few and far between in Nicaragua, and some friends who are staying there told us they actually have a good Caesar salad. We make the walk again in the dark, this time, just the two of us. It’s totally fine and I feel much more comfortable.

The Caesar salad has beets and cucumbers in it, but it’s legit.

Tomorrow we plan to rent scooters to explore the crater lake and a waterfall. Ometepe is full of cool, naturally beautiful places, and I really really really wish I didn’t have to leave two days from now. Is it too late for me to pull an Ilona, skip my flight, and stay here forever?

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