Central America, Food, Travel

Eating in Central America Part 3: Discovering Nicaragua

October 14, 2012

Welcome to Nicaragua! Last weekend I covered my second month in Costa Rica, and now we move north for my last month in Central America.

Nicaragua! Just saying the name of this small, beautiful country makes me feel lighter. I loved  my time here, and not just because my depression had eased considerably. For one thing, it’s much cheaper than Costa Rica, which is one of Central America’s costliest destinations.  Another difference is that I was finally on my own, completely off my leash, if you will, since I knew many friends in Costa Rica, and in Nicaragua knew no one beforehand.  You’d think that would have made things more difficult, but it turned out to be exactly what pulled me out of my shell.

Admiring the beautiful colonial architecture of Granada

Yes, it’s impoverished. Yes, the roads are rough, the transportation is abysmal, and the garbage is all burned in the street. But these are all generalities. And anything that is initially perceived as negative winds up being just one of the charms you look back on and smile about.

If I lived here, I’d stop and gaze at volcanic islands all the time, too.

On my first day in Nicaragua, I was a tad shell-shocked and exhausted. I had successfully crossed the border from Costa Rica a.) on foot and b.) alone.  Despite watching YouTube videos on how to handle the crossing with the right forms, it was still a nightmare. So when I arrived in the colonial city of Granada after hours of walking back and forth, bus rides, and searching for my hostel, all I wanted was something, anything vegetarian to eat. This is what I ended up with, at long last:

A veggie sub, of sorts, with plenty of unidentifiable condiments.

Looks all right, doesn’t it? But in reality, it was disgusting. Raw onions, tomato, shredded lettuce…I’m not sure what that greenish thing is, and the bread, like much of the bread products I consumed on this trip, was kind of flavorless. But devour it I did, because I was that hungry! Oh, the things we do while on the road…

I spent several lovely nights at the Bearded Monkey Hostel, which Google has just informed me has taken a turn for the worse (no more bar or restaurant? Bed bugs??), unfortunately. At least I was there when the food was still good:

More scrambled eggs and gallo pinto! Delicious!

Another day’s breakfast: Fresh granola and yogurt with papaya and pineapple

French Toast with a cute little glass of syrup

It was in Granada that I found my long-lost love, pizza, after we’d had an awful two month separation. Luckily, the reunion was a happy one.

My own personal eggplant pizza. Oh, Granada, how did you know??

One of the best things about being in a tropical country is getting to eat and drink fresh coconut. None of this silly coconut water out of a carton nonsense! I walked right up to a couple and their food cart, handed over my córdobas, and watched as a machete was taken to my unsuspecting coconut and a straw was stuck in the newly formed hole. Voilà!

Cheap and refreshing! I love Nicaragua!

I bet you’ve always wondered what a Nicaraguan ice cream sundae looks like. Wonder no longer, my friends!

And when’s the last time you went out for ice cream and had it served in a fancy schmancy glass dish? Hmmm?

Here is where I leave you hanging, for there was so much splendor in the second half of my Nicaragua stay that I need a whole other post to tell you about it.  Coming up in the next travel retrospective: Lake Nicaragua’s island of Ometepe!

If you don’t want to wait until next weekend for more of these travel photos, here’s the Nicaragua set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone 🙂

These boys loved my camera. Mírame! (Look at me), they would shout, and how could I resist?


To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.  — Freya Stark

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  • Patricia | unfounddoor October 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Woah. Nicaragua sounds amazing (and I dream of someday taking a machete to a coconut:)

    • Christy October 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      It was, it really was! I never pictured myself working with a machete in the jungle before I did it on Ometepe Island, haha. That’s one of my favorite things about travel: doing these crazy surreal things you’d never do at home 🙂

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