22/02/2015 Sitting in an air conditioned dorm full of snoring guys in Cartagena, I can now finally use some fast internet again to update my blog! This is actually the very fist update from Nicaragua and my first stop was the town of Somoto, close to the border. The Somoto Canyon is one of the least explored tourist attractions of Nicaragua, so check this post out to see how my non guided tour turned out 🙂
I actually had no idea about Somoto until the day I arrived there. Luckily some fellow traveler adviced me to go there and after checking out the reviews on the internet, it sounded really cool to explore the canyon there. I met a guy from Costa Rica at the bus stop in Tegucigalpa before and he spontaneously joined me as well. We arrived just after sun set and could not make it up the view point close to the city unfortunately. Consequently, we decided to check out the sun rise from there instead in the next morning.
Somoto as a village was really pleasant as well. Not too many tourists (yet) and people are very friendly. The trip to the canyon is usually done with a guide, however we both did not have the time to do the long six hour 20$ tour that was already scheduled with a few other people, so we decided to do it on our own. First though, we walked up to the viewpoint at 4:30 AM in the morning to be there for sun rise at 5 AM. At least that was the time the owner of the hostel told us, making us wait until 6:30 AM until the sun finally crawled up behind the mountains.
Being delayed quiet a bit, the guy from Costa Rica decided not to go to the canyon anymore and so I joined the big group to take the public bus together. We left at 8:30 AM and the bus was really cheap, so getting to the canyon on your own is certainly not a problem. After around 15 minutes, the group started to ascend deeper into the canyon and I had to stop since I was not equipped with waterproof bags and you have to swim a lot. Instead I used the time to climb around a bit and enjoyed the pretty nice view that you get from the beginning.
Afterwards I walked back to the street to reach the Viewpoint. I received some directions from a local and was pretty sure that I followed them as I know that right means derecho in Spanish. However, after taking the right turn and walking up the path for about 90 minutes, I eventually realized that it could not be the right one. A lot of fences crossed my way and I had to cross a few farms until I decided to turn back. At least I was able to find a cool spot to see the canyon in the end, even though it was not the official viewpoint.
Coming back to the point which led me to the wrong direction, I turned left this time and quickly noted that this would have been the right way. Unfortunately, It became pretty late already and I did not want to miss the last bus, so I just walked down for about 20 minutes and then headed back towards the street. Luck was on my side this time and the last bus just arrived two minutes after arriving at the street! We passed a burning car on the way back to Somoto and my next destination Esteli to find the Stone Man Alberto. Read more about this adventure right here!