When we were toying with the idea of traveling to Nicaragua it was the rental I found on Airbnb that sealed the deal. It was a jungle tree house with commanding views of the Pacific. I showed the photos to Frank and he was immediately on board. I admit it seemed too good to be true, so you could imagine my relief when we arrived and seen first hand that it was indeed breathtaking.
When making the reservation we were told that a 4WD vehicle was required. Much of the way to Balcones Majagual is dirt but graded, it's the last leg past the guard shack that 4x4 is needed. The road is steep grade and it winds around the homes built into the hillside. We were led up to the home for the first time, first meeting up with the rental manager at the Remax in the heart of San Juan del Sur. She pointed out the Pali grocery store on the way and waited while we gathered items since it is about 20-25 minutes to the house.
Frank and I love visiting the neighborhood markets in our travels. There is something fascinating about the differences of everyday life. We stocked up on beer ($5.20 6pk), diet coke (.50 can), coffee ($1.74), eggs ($1.59), butter ($1 stick), burgers ($1.37), milk (.71) and snacks. We failed to think about spices so another trip to the store was necessary the next day. We ended up purchasing a non-stick pan then too - our first souvenir. Our first attempt at omelets were a disaster without it, but I digress. One tidbit that struck us as odd is that milk doesn't come by the carton or plastic jug like you'd find at home. Instead, it's stacked in the refrigerator in various sized plastic bags. Which didn't strike us as that odd until we opened it and had to come up with a way to pour and store it. Needless to say, we made a mess, and I transferred what was left into an empty water bottle. I'm curious to learn the reasoning. It's also worth noting that take away beverages from street vendors or convenience stores will pour your drink into a plastic bag, place a straw inside and tie a knot to secure it. This was less puzzling, because Coke and Pepsi are in glass bottles and I imagine the deposit is rather high. We saw pouches of water sold at intersections in Managua. It appears you bite the corner and your good to go. I suppose the baggies create less waste, but it wasn't uncommon to find empty bags and used straws littering the streets.
The drive to the house was much easier than we expected. Occasionally, we ran into "traffic" but it was no bother. Once we got settled at the house, we were quickly at ease. The restful part of vacation has begun or as Frank said, "Fuck off world!"
We'd start our days by drinking coffee on the porch. We'd take in the view and birdwatch. There were so many varieties, two of the bright yellow birds decided on a nest in the tree above the pool overlooking the Pacific. Even in the bird kingdom it boils down to location! location! location!
On our second morning, we were fortunate to have a pack of 10 howler monkeys pass through. It was an amazing sight! We had heard them periodically since we arrived - their call is unmistakable, and they don't observe the community's quiet time rule.
Watching them lunge and jump through the tree tops was incredible.
We visited during dry season, and Nicaragua has experienced a few years of drought so the jungle wasn't very lush. There were still plenty of beautiful flowers, but in full bloom? It must be gorgeous.
Once the sun crept up directly above, it was prime time for sunburn. So, we'd use this time to visit San Juan del Sur. We'd grab lunch, have a walk around and pick up odds and ends. We'd return about 2ish most days and it would be quite hot. We'd keep cool in the pool. We sip cervezas, Frank would smoke Joya de Nicaragua Antaños, and the hours passed like minutes.
When the sun slipped into the sea - the sunsets were dazzling. The perfect end to perfect days.