Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








As dawn broke on the town of El Almendro I came to realize something rather interesting about the Hotel Montana, although the "shower" had fixtures, they didn't work. Instead, there was a big bucket of ice cold water with smaller bucket in it to use to dump water on yourself. Needless to say I had a rather quick shower that day. Cold water showers are something I've gotten used to in Nicaragua, ice water out of a bucket, however, is another story. The other interesting feature of the hotel is that the parking lot is in the lobby. I believe this is another first for me as I don't ever remember parking my car in a hotel lobby before.

View From Hotel Montana
View From Hotel Montana
Satellites-A-Plenty
Satellites-A-Plenty
Hotel Montana
Hotel Montana
Hotel Montana Ballroom
Hotel Montana Ballroom
Grand Staircase
Grand Staircase
Free Parking In The Lobby
Free Parking In The Lobby
Hotel Montana Entrance
Hotel Montana Entrance
Hotel Montana
Hotel Montana
Washing Clothes
Washing Clothes

I really thought our trip to El Almendro was over at this point but my wife had another surprise for me. She wanted to go to the finca (farm) to visit her brother. Honestly, I was a little confused because I thought she was talking about the finca in Acoyapa. It turns out her family has 2 fincas and one of them is in El Almendro. My wifes family has about 500 cows and at certain times of the year there isn't enough water at the finca in Acoyapa for all the cattle. When the water is low they move about 200 cows to the finca in El Almendro. When I say "move" I don't mean they put them in a truck and drive them there. They do a good old-fashioned cattle drive and walk the cows there. The cattle drive takes around 3 days to walk all of the cows from Acoyapa to El Almendro. The more time I spend in these remote villages in Nicaragua the more convinced I am that this is what it must have been like to live in the American West in the early 1800's.

Speaking of the 1800's, here's a video of how they was clothes in Nicaragua...


Washing Clothes
Washing Clothes
Welcome To El Almendro
Welcome To El Almendro
Campaign Headquarters
Campaign Headquarters
Baseball Field
Baseball Field
Park In El Almendro
Park In El Almendro
Park In El Almendro
Park In El Almendro
El Almendro
El Almendro
The Coconut Bar
The Coconut Bar
Nica Tow Truck
Nica Tow Truck

While I thought the road to get to El Almendro was as bad as it could get I couldn't have been more wrong. The road to the finca was downright frightening. I honestly thought there was no way we were ever going to be able to make it to the finca and back and keep the car in one piece. In many places the road was so bad I had to make everyone get out of the car and walk just so I could raise the clearance enough to keep from ripping the exhaust system off the car. In places the road ran through rivers and streams where there weren't any bridges as well. Each time we got to one of these I had to stop and walk through to make sure there weren't any holes hidden in the water that would cause me to get the car stuck. All in all it was quite an adventure and I have to say we got a lot of strange looks from people along the way. I kept smiling and saying, "we're from out of town" but sadly no one understood the joke. :)

Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
 Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
 Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
 Road To The Finca
Road To The Finca
Were Lost
Were Lost
Asking For Directions
Asking For Directions
I Make The Girls Walk
I Make The Girls Walk
I Make The Girls Walk
I Make The Girls Walk

We finally reached a point where the road got so bad I didn't think it was possible to drive any further. My wife's aunt went in and talked to the guy who's house we had come to and he knew my wife's brother so he agreed to let us park the car there and his family would keep an eye on it. To my surprise, he insisted on escorting us to the finca with shotgun in hand. My wife later informed me that it's dangerous to walk around unarmed especially if people don't know who you are in this neck of the jungle. It seems cattle rustlers do more than just steal cattle...

We Cant Drive Any Further
We Cant Drive Any Further
Our Gun Toting Guide
Our Gun Toting Guide
Showing Off His Rifle
Showing Off His Rifle
Fresh Dates
Fresh Dates
Its Thick In Here
Its Thick In Here
Finally, We Find The Finca
Finally, We Find The Finca

After walking for about a half an hour we finally found the finca. It boggles the mind that people live like this in the year 2008. There is no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, etc. There are 2 wood plank buildings. One is for sleeping and the other is for cooking. Other than that, there is nothing but thick jungle and a lot of cows. Every day they milk all of the cows and make cheese out of all the milk.


Cows In The Jungle
Cows In The Jungle
More Cows
More Cows
Making Cheese
Making Cheese
A Pile Of Corn
A Pile Of Corn
Baby In A Hammock
Baby In A Hammock
Milton & His Son
Milton & His Son
Hanging Out In The Bunkhouse
Hanging Out In The Bunkhouse
Dried Beans
Dried Beans
Making Your Own 4x4s
Making Your Own 4x4s
Banana Trees
Banana Trees
The Jungle Is Thick
The Jungle Is Thick
Juniett Cant Resist A Baby
Juniett Cant Resist A Baby


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