December 29, 2015

places I love (nicaragua // granada).

after long, warm days spent breathing in salty ocean air and listening to nothing but jungle life and lapping water, we ended our adventure in granada. the beautiful city hits you like a brick wall - there is vibrant color and life (and more color!) at every turn. music is always playing off in the distance at some celebration you wish you were invited to. old men sit on corners and read newspapers together and laugh. there's a parade. all.the.time. locals are warm and friendly and have fiery personalities to match their colorful community. 

we loved it. every minute. it was hot, dusty and gorgeous. even when we took a wrong turn and ended up lost, stressed and hangry in the middle of a market that "chaotic" doesn't come close to describing, we loved it. there were people laughing and shouting, delicious snacks being fried up on the street, ladies walking by with stacks of bright toys piled atop their heads, bikes and scooters and cars and animals and babies and the rare stunned tourist and life. so much beautiful life. 

we spent three nights at the tribal hotel, which was a true oasis a midst the buzzing city. when I say it is one of the best places I've ever stayed, I say it wholeheartedly. the design, the staff, the feeling you got just being there. it was perfection. the owners were there during our visit, sketching out ideas for their next spot (in san juan del sur) and it's sure to be just as amazing. I cannot wait to go back. cannot wait. 

other things of note...

espressionista. epic coffee and even more amazing food - save this for a special night...or better yet go more than once! andres knows what he's doing, and what he's doing is making absolute magic. save room in your bag to bring home 

tio antonio's hammocks. I definitely have zero room for a hammock in my home. didn't matter. I ordered one anyway. This great social enterprise puts locals to work making beautiful hammocks, chairs, etc. 

laguna de apoyo. we took a day trip here (and visited the masaya market along the way) and it was a highlight. after lunch we had the entire volcanic crater to ourselves for some swimming. 


December 16, 2015

places I love (nicaragua // isleta el espino).

lago de nicaragua, the largest lake in central america, is speckled with islands. most travelers head off to omatepe, a beautiful place home to beaches, volcanoes, and adventures. 

looking for something a little less crowded, we met franklin and his tiny boat at the marina and headed to isleta el espino for the night. and it was magic. 

places like this exist only in dreams. smaller than my childhood backyard, isleta el espino is a private island with a beautiful three room hotel. we were greeted by the entire staff (all 5 of them), given a tour and then left to explore. 

the freshwater pool looks over an active volcano. boats carrying fishermen meander by slowly. everything seems to take it easy around here. 

travelers in the know come over by boat to the island for dinner - and it doesn't disappoint. some of the best food I've ever had came from a tiny kitchen manned by two. 

the hotel itself was gorgeous and simple, and the staff was warm and welcoming. 

it was us and two other guests - and when the staff left at 7pm to head home for the night, it felt like we were being let in on a little secret. 

after a massage and a delicious breakfast, they practically had to drag us back to reality and off to granada. good news was, it wouldn't be long before one mind blowing spot was replaced by another... 

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