Friday, October 18, 2013

Nicaragua / Costa Rica Border Crossing & into San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua - a gorgeous town

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We had a great time piling into our friend's car, along with a way too much luggage.
They drove us from Monteverde Costa Rica to Liberia, and dropped us at the bus station.
Here buses depart nearly hourly for the border.
They also change currency and helped us load our bags - it was pretty smooth sailing.
When we got to the border, there is no announcement, but the bus ends and we head to the Frontier office.
We then grab a pedi-cab to the next border inspection - of which there seems to be many.
I was pretty confused with currency, but was more put off when a currency change guy told my don to "F-off" because we didn't need to change currency.

At the next stop the bags were hauled over a fence and there seems a tug of war as to who wanted to help us.  Another passport check, then a guy came up and asked us for our passports. I could see no badge so I hung onto the end of one, and dubiously showed him.
Another guy comes to take our bags.  My son jumps in - nest border crossing ever so he tells me!

I fail to understand why we then had 2 more guys check passports.
Then we went off to the right to another office. Numerous taxi drivers haggle fares with us.
We go in and pay $2 for using the office. Then if I remember rightly it was $12 to cross the border each.
Back to the taxi hagglers. We finally meet a nice older guy "Charlie".
He walks us to the cab. Which is not a cab, but a private ride but he seems trustworthy.

He drives us for $20 to San Juan Del Sur.
We had booked a hostel - Yajure, but as soon as we got there I knew the recommendation was not right for us.  It was a surf hostel, and over a foot bridge which was a nightmare with our luggage, and too far out of town for us to walk safely in and out.
They had forgotten to book our room, even though the email was there, then I was told the room was more $$.  So we walked into town with a pounding dehydration headache to search for another one.  By then it was dark and no taxis so we would have to make do and move tomorrow.
We got back to the hostel and they sorted a room out.
So we left next morning after a rather sleepless night.  Not to mention the breakfast was jam and bread and they had no jam, just stale bread.
When I said we would leave the owner was rude and told me to leave early, but as I had pretty well packed I was pleased to do so.

So we happily made a deal for cash at El Coco Azul and stayed a few days.  Fab breakfast, friendly, central and quiet.

The decor was amazing, and I loved all the local art and handicrafts.

We spent the first afternoon hanging around reading on the hammocks, then my son doing his journal on the balcony while I read. It was lovely!

Later that day we caught up with our friends and the kids had a swim in their hotel pool, and a swing on the great hammock.
We went out to dinner, to one of the numerous beach restaurants, and had a moderately priced meal, along with fire jugglers and some singing on the beach as entertainment when we arrived.

Next day we had a late start.  Firstly we caught up on my son's writing and then headed to meet our friends at the beach.

We then headed for the Taco Stop for $1-$2 Tacos - freshly made as the kids like them. Then for a wander around town and to the park by the local church.

Back for some more education time for us and then we met our friends again for the kids to swim i the pool once more.  I shot across the road to see the most gorgeous sunset.  I know the kids were happy in the pool, but I really wish we had been on the beach sitting at one of the Happy Hours and enjoying the beauty as the day ended.

We have missed the ocean, and the Pacific feel of warm days on the beach, and we love it here.
Hunger kicked in, and we headed to one of the restaurant on the beachfront again.
I can't remember the name, but it is nearly opposite the Casablanca Hotel, and each Thursday is Cultural Dancing.

I was surprised that most people were from Nicaragua.  this little sweetheart danced the night away.
I danced with a granny.  It was all fun.

The show had 6 sets if I recall rightly.  It was in English and Spanish and from all regions of Nicaragua.
And there was no charge.

We left next day. i could have stayed another week.
We caught the local or 'chicken' bus - that is our next blog - stay tuned!

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