Our alarms went off at 2 am on Tuesday morning and we boarded a (surprisingly comfortable) bus to Nicaragua. The ride was long, but went by fast as most of us managed to sleep the whole way. The first few nights we stayed at the Charco Verde Hotel on Ometepe Island. Our hotel was located in between Volcán Concepción and Lake Nicaragua. The view was amazing and having class overlooking a beautiful lake seems to be a uniquely SFS experience.
In the town of Moyogalpa, we surveyed tourists on their knowledge of sustainable tourism and their willingness to pay for businesses and services that have sustainable practices in place. Seeing as we are in the wet season (low tourism rates), we spoke to just about every tourist in town.
On the island we were able to swim in a natural spring; meet with and learn about the Ometepe Foundation, where they taught us how to make tortillas; and hike the other volcano on the island, Volcán Maderas. The hike was hot and strenuous, but the view was beautiful and the stream at the top was fun, refreshing, and needed.
We spent the last two days in Granada. Granada had more of a European vibe to it with a lot more tourists. This was helpful as we conducted the same sustainable tourism survey in Granada and easily got 5x as many responses.
We broke into small groups and spent about four hours hiking Mombacho with a guide. The hike was steep and the trail was well constructed with primarily stairs made out of chopped wood. The trail was beautifully green, the weather was accommodating, and the hike itself was a great four-hour stair master workout. But rest assured, our tour guide in jeans and a polo did not break a sweat.
Our last day in Nicaragua we got free time to explore Granada. This was valuable time for us to relax, spend time with friends, and eat good food.