Last week was deacachimba (adj: Nicaraguan slang for super cool or extraordinary) for the students and staff of the Center for Sustainable Development as we ventured to Nicaragua for a week of exploration, curiosity, and adventure. The students conducted tourist surveys about sustainable services offered to them, learned about the ecology and history of the island, and mapped the trails of a biological preserve trail at Charco Verde, our majestic hotel on the banks of Lake Nicaragua. Then we went to explore the petroglyphs that are as old as time and an all-natural swimming hole. The group met with Fundación Entre Volcanes, a women-run local NGO which develops community initiatives to connect women to tourism activities on the island. There we tested our hand at making tortillas! Que rico! We even got to experience two volcanos on Ometepe, by land and by sea, as some students got to kayak in the early morning before we ventured off to Granada!
It was a sad farewell to Ometepe as we boarded the ferry to Rivas. We were greeted by an old-school school bus (say that ten times fast) and zipped off to Granada, a warm and vibrant city surrounded by Lake Nicaragua and Volcanos Mombacho and Masaya. The students got to wander the colorful streets conducting more tourist surveys. The next day, we hiked Mombacho and saw some breathtaking views, a dozen monkeys and a sloth with its baby! We were all tired and ready to head back to the land of gallo pinto as we boarded our bus to Costa Rica, but despite the yawns, we all had a full, educational, and worthwhile trip to our neighbors in Nicaragua.