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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mombacho Volcano is a great place to take kids - Nicaragua.

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We were up early this a.m.
We were trying (again) to hike Mombacho Volcano.
Our hotel rang the company tha torganises the tours and we were told to be there by 9 a.m.
So we grabbed a taxi.
Now taxi's in Nicaragua are not always just for you - you need to share with locals, as we did for the first part of the ride.
When the driver found out we were late, he floored it, and we were covered the 10 km pretty fast!
My son enjoyed reading - he now has his pile of books to get through and his aim is at least 2 a week.

When we arrived we were told the tour only left at 10.30 a.m.
Great - not!
Now we had 1.5 hours to kill.
There is an orchid sanctuary with butterflies and they told us there was no charge so we headed to that.
When we got there, the lady told us there was a charge.
I am telling you - communication is not big in Nicaragua!
So we told her, the man had assured us there was no charge, and she shrugged her shoulders and let us in.
Good thing.
There was only 4 butterflies we could see.
Not an orchid in bloom either.  Well one!

We headed back to wait for the truck that takes us up the volcano.
We were greeted by a friendly dog, that was so close to starvation - it was so sad.
So Explorason decided his "Random Act of Kindness" was to give up his (or actually our) lunch to the poor dog.
After 'lunch', he then shared the Pringles for 'dessert' so he tells me.
One satisfied dog.

Along came some lovely girls and we got chatting.
Then along came our friends again!

We piled into the newer of the 2 trucks.
I wanted the old Army truck, but not to be.

Explorason was reading again.
There he is going up the side of a volcano, and he is more interested in his book.
i had to ask him to put it down and look around.
It is not everyday you 4WD up a side of a volcano!

It was quite a bumpy ride.
We stopped first at an organic coffee farm.
The coffee was absolutely fabulous.
I shared an iced coffee whip with Explorason, and was concerned he might get a caffeine high, but he seemed OK.

We then decided with the other family to share a guide.
I am so glad we did.
We learnt and saw things we would have missed if we just roamed ourselves.

Our guide showed us a HUGE worm - it was the size of a small snake.

We then wandered to a steam hole.
The view was magnificent.
There are 4 craters on this volcano.

The guide found holes in the ground and had us put our hands inside.
As we felt the earth - it was super hot.
The next hole was more of an angle and was boiling.
The kids thought this was great, and learnt about the heat inside volcanic earth.

Our guide also pointed out this orchid.
He tells us it only flowers once a year.
It only flowers for one day.
We felt pretty happy we got to see that!

We then went to another mirador.
Here you can see where the side of the volcano collapsed and formed a 365 islands in the sea.
Many of these islands are no owned by the rich of Nicaragua.

On the way back I was pretty excited.
In nearly 1 year we have not see a sloth in the day.
I had no idea what they looked like, and now there was one right above us.

Then the boys found a butterfly.
My son loves to take time and have them crawl on his hand.
I think this one was near the end of its life.
It was very slow.
I am told butterflies only live for 2 weeks, so it may well be possible that this was its last day.
The amazing thing was the metallic blue changed from a light blue to a bright cobalt blue.

We rode the truck back down the hill 3 hours after we had started up.
The kids were starving.
We were late to move on.
The lovely ladies we met gave us a ride to the main road.
From there we took a moto-taxi for $6 back to the hostel in Granada.
The moto-taxi's wait at the intersection, so there were a few to haggle with.

Back at the hostel we took our last swim.
Said our good-byes and moved on.
I really enjoyed Granada.

Notes:

Prices, opening hours, and how to get there
The entrance fee plus transportation in the truck costs US$6 for Nicaraguans (US$3 for kids) and US$15 for foreigners (US$8). Ascending the volcano in your own car costs US$18 for the car, and US$3 for each person inside and US$2 for kids (for nationals). For foreigners the cost is US$6 for each person and US$3 per kid. By walking, Nicaraguan kids pay US$1 and foreigners kids pay US$2, and adults US$2 Nicaraguan and US$3 foreigners.
The reserve will open if there are at least ten people. So if you have a group of ten people just call and let them know. If you have less than ten, call to see if there are more people. You can call to 552 5858. From Friday through Sunday the reserve is open to the public from 8AM until 5PM. The truck uphill leaves at 8:30AM, 10AM, 1PM, and 3PM from Thursday to Sunday and from Monday to Wednesday leaves at 8:30 AM and 10:30 PM (reservations for groups larger than 15 people).  Check hours for the truck in the rainy season, as it is only once a day we believe.
There is also lodging available on top of the volcano and camping for US$15. More information about the Eco Albergue Mombacho can be found in our Hotel Guide.

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