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We left Utila early to catch the morning ferry and a dreaded long bus journey to Nicaragua. I booked the shuttle through Tornabé which is what I used to travel to Utila from Guatemala. I really like this company because unlike many Central American busses the the drivers will actually talk to you and speak pretty good English. They offer door to door service, stop lots for snacks/bathroom breaks and also have a movie player on the bus! Although it was a long journey it was the best bus ride I’ve had in Central America so far. We had a good crew of 7 and there was plenty of room for everyone to lounge out and relax. The border crossing from Honduras to Nicaragua is the most complicated/longest border I’ve experienced in Central America. It took over an hour which was mostly just sitting in the car waiting. They spray the car down with pesticide, take everyones body temperature and ask a lot of questions but luckily our driver did most of the work going through and eventually they gave us the OK. The fee to get into Nicaragua is $13 USD.
I arrived Leon late at night and met my friend George at the hostel who is joining me for the next week to explore Nicaragua! We have a car rental so it’s going to be really fun exploring the country at our own leisure.
I spent the next morning walking around Leon and had breakfast at a nice french bakery called Pan & Paz. Leon has some nice buildings in the Parque Central area but overall I’m not sure that I like the city that much. It’s very loud, busy and hot, but that’s probably not a fair assessment since I didn’t spend that much time there.
My most recent lost belonging is my bikini so I was trying to find a new one to buy in Leon which was an interesting experience. It didn’t seem to be an option to try on clothes in a private dressing room or even under your clothes so I was trying on bikinis over my clothes in the middle of the store while everyone watched and probably made fun of me.
George had heard of a full moon party at a beach in Las Peñitas that night so we made our way there and booked two beds at Hostal Caracolita which is a nice chill spot with friendly folks. I really like Las Peñitas, it is a laid back surfing town with huge waves!
Getting to the party was a bit ridiculous from town, we had to take a boat across the water and then a horse carriage through the woods at which point all of us started questioning where the hell we were going, but alas we made it to the party at surfing turtle lodge. It was actually a really good time but unfortunately since none of us were staying there we had to leave a couple of hours after to make sure we didn’t get stranded. So we got back on the horse and the boat and fortunately there was an even bigger full moon party happening in Las Peñitas at Bigfoot. A full moon party is an all night beach party that originated on the island of Koh Phagnan in Thailand. These one’s obviously aren’t as big, but they are still a really fun time!
The next morning I resistantly woke up early as we had a full day ahead. We stopped in Leon to pick up my laundry and then made our way to Granada which is about 2 1/2 hours drive. Granada is a beautiful, colourful colonial town. We spent a while walking around admiring the architecture and had lunch at Pita Pita which is this very delicious Mediterranean restaurant, honestly best falafel I’ve ever had! I’d like to go back and spend more time exploring Granada, it has a really nice vibe.
From Granada we drove another hour and a half to San Jorge and just made the last ferry to Ometepe with minutes to spare. The boat ride to Ometepe was kind of intense/rocky but it’s very cool to see the two volcanoes on the island from the boat.
We wanted to stay at Little Morgan’s in Ometepe but they don’t reservations and we were arriving late in the night so we secured a place across the street at El Zopilote beforehand which was a huge mistake. For one thing you have to hike up a steep rocky path with all your bags for about 10 minutes before you reach the place and it is very confusing because they don’t have clearly marked signs, especially in the dark. The vibe was pretty hippy but yet no one seemed particularly friendly there. They made us pay on arrival which has not happened to me anywhere else yet and then when they brought us to our beds it was literally just a bed in the middle of the jungle with no walls around, and someone was sleeping in my friends bed! I’m all for rustic but this was a bit much. At this point we just decided to bail on this place and asked for a refund. We said that we would pay for the 1st night since we were arriving late but would like the second night refunded which they refused and said it was impossible. Good grief! Don’t stay at this place, the staff are so rude. We left and went down to Little Morgan’s and not only did they have space but the guy gave it to us FOR FREE that night after we told him the mishap. Honestly night and day between these two places.
Little Morgan’s is a great hostel with a reputation for being pretty wild but it’s actually been pretty chill since I’ve been here. All of the staff here are super friendly and kind. Another thing I love about this place is that there are animals everywhere! Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, pigs, chickens! Everywhere I look there is a little cute animal. Now we will spend a few days exploring this beautiful island!