Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








One of my many vices is buying crap on ebay that I don't really need. A few weeks ago I went on a buying binge and picked up some really cool stuff. The Cuban propaganda poster is from 1979 and is one of many they produced to show solidarity with their revolutionary brothers in Nicaragua. The slogan "Patria Libre O Morir" basically means free homeland or death and was the main slogan of the Sandinista's. I think it's really cool but my wife hates it...welcome to married life. I should add that I matted and framed the poster myself. Cutting mats is one of my many worthless talents.

I also picked up a stack of 10,000,000 Cordoba notes from 1990 when inflation was 36,000% in Nicaragua. I had a lot of fun giving them to cab drivers in Managua. In 1990 10 million Cordobas was equal to roughly 5 US dollars. Today, if they were still good these bills would be worth nearly half a million dollars. I also picked up a 200,000 Cordoba note where they overprinted the 200,000 onto a 1000 Cordoba note. Another great find on ebay was a map from 1856 of Central America showing 5 proposed canal routes through Nicaragua. It's the real deal and not a reprint. Unfortunately, just like it is today, Nicaragua's government was run by idiots in 1856 so a canal was never built in Nicaragua. It actually made a whole lot more sense to build a canal in Nicaragua than it did in Panama but Nicaragua was so unstable the idea was scrapped. To this day they are still talking about building a canal but it's unlikely that it will ever happen.

The final treasure that I picked up was a Dan Marino jersey. I know it has nothing to do with Nicaragua but I thought it was cool and it's my website. :) Oh, I should add that I built the display case. Another of my many skills is doing woodworking.


Cuban Propoganda Poster
Cuban Propoganda Poster
10 Million Cordoba Note From 1990
10 Million Cordoba Note From 1990
Map Of Nicaragua From 1856
Map Of Nicaragua From 1856
1856 Map Showing Proposed Canal Routes Through Nicaragua
1856 Map Showing Proposed Canal Routes Through Nicaragua
200,000 Cordoba Note Cerca 1987
200,000 Cordoba Note Cerca 1987
Autographed Dan Marino Jersey
Autographed Dan Marino Jersey
Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport
Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Airport
Florida Keys
Florida Keys
Florida Keys
Florida Keys

Apparently the Delta flight that I was on came to Atlanta from China because all the beverages on the plane were in containers with Chinese writing on them. Interestingly, they still use the old-fashioned pull tabs on cans in China. I haven't seen one of those in about 25 years. Here's a little video of the takeoff from Atlanta...

On this trip I spent 17 days in Nicaragua and on each of the 3 weekends that I was there I rented a car. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to keep going to Nicaragua every month so I want to see as much as I can while I have the opportunity. Our first journey on this trip was to San Juan Del Sur. After 10 trips to Nicaragua I figured it was time to go see the place most people go to when they visit Nicaragua.

From Managua it only takes about 2 hours to get to San Juan Del Sur once you figure out the route. Basically you drive from Managua to Masaya to Rivas to San Juan Del Sur. I would love to tell you that you take interstate 48 to interstate 17, etc. but that's not how things work in Nicaragua. The general way of getting around in Nicaragua is to drive to a town and then ask for directions to the road to the next town you want to go to. This adds a bit of time the first time you make the trip so keep that in mind if you are travelling without a guide.


Chinese Diet Coke Can
Chinese Diet Coke Can
I'm Half Awake
I'm Half Awake
En Frente De Frente
En Frente De Frente
Che Rides Shotgun
Che Rides Shotgun
Policia Messing Up Traffic
Policia Messing Up Traffic
Old Hospital In Granada
Old Hospital In Granada
Cemetary In Granada
Cemetary In Granada
Cemetary In Granada
Cemetary In Granada
Cemetary In Granada
Cemetary In Granada

We actually made an unexpected trip to Granada since we missed the turn in Masaya. They're not that far apart and we weren't in any real hurry so it was a nice diversion. To get to SJDS from Granada you drive through a very pretty part of Granada that I had never seen before. The road winds around the volcano Mombachu and offers some great views of the volcano.

Mombachu Volcano
Mombachu Volcano
Pretty Road
Pretty Road
Mombachu Is Collapsing
Mombachu Is Collapsing
Mombachu National Park
Mombachu National Park
Hugo Chavez's Power Plant
Hugo Chavez's Power Plant
Road To Rivas
Road To Rivas

The road to Rivas is quite nice and you can make good time here. The views of the volcanoes on the island of Ometepe are fabulous from here. The volcano Concepción can be viewed for miles and is one of the most impressive volcanoes I've ever seen. I was reading an article in the local newspaper about Concepción while I was in Nicaragua and I was mildly surprised to find out that most of the people that live on Ometepe have absolutely no idea that they live in the shadow of a time bomb. Concepción is an active volcano and a major eruption in the near future is a strong possibility. Most of the people that live there, however, believe that the last major eruption was "the big one" and another won't happen. Sadly, if another major eruption does occur there is little ability to evacuate the more than 35,000 people that live on the island.

Road To Rivas
Road To Rivas
Road To Rivas
Road To Rivas
Concepción Volcano In The Distance
Concepción Volcano In The Distance
The Bridge Is From Japan
The Bridge Is From Japan
This Doesn't Look Safe
This Doesn't Look Safe
Concepción In The Distance
Concepción In The Distance
Welcome To Rivas
Welcome To Rivas
Concepción Is Getting Bigger
Concepción Is Getting Bigger
I See Lake Nicaragua
I See Lake Nicaragua

You need to pay attention so that you don't miss the turn to San Juan Del Sur. I took a picture of the "landmark" that's at the turnoff but it looked like they were tearing it down so who knows if it will be there next time. I only saw one tiny little sign so you really need to watch for it.

Considering that San Juan Del Sur is by far the most promoted tourist destination in Nicaragua you would think they would make it as easy to get to as possible. Of course, we're talking about Nicaragua here so don't expect anything to make sense. The road to San Juan Del Sur is 18 kilometers of pure hell. The road is in absolutely horrific condition. In a lot of places it's one lane with traffic going in both directions. The good news is they are working on the road. The bad news is who knows when it will be finished. To be fair, Nicaragua has fixed a lot of their roads in the past 6 months so there is hope. I just can't believe they would let the road to their number one tourist destination get to this aweful state of disrepair.


Turn Here For San Juan Del Sur
Turn Here For San Juan Del Sur
18 KM's Of Hell
18 KM's Of Hell
This Is As Good As The Road Gets
This Is As Good As The Road Gets
At Least They're Working On It
At Least They're Working On It
Driving In A Dust Bowl
Driving In A Dust Bowl
Detour
Detour
Nice Gravel
Nice Gravel
Great, Now It's One Lane
Great, Now It's One Lane
And A Truck Is Coming
And A Truck Is Coming
Not Enough Room For All Of Us
Not Enough Room For All Of Us
Wow, Blacktop!!
Wow, Blacktop!!
Entering San Juan Del Sur
Entering San Juan Del Sur
It's A Typical Nica Town
It's A Typical Nica Town
The Main Drag
The Main Drag


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