Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Volcan Mombacho National Park

I got up early this morning, had a shower before heading out to west of the town for photos of couple churches and the cemetery.

Afterward I went back to the hostal for breakfast. I decided to head to the park early, so I got to the entrance around 12. The lady at the booth was surprised that I came early because it is very steep up the volcano and it has a special truck that takes tourists up and the next one is around 3PM. There were a small group of tourists that came around the same time, and were told if would cost I think over $100 for the truck to come down early and take them up! Needless to say they decided not to go up. Luckily for me, a ranger was going up with his pickup and I was able get a ride from him. BTW, the lady at the booth was able to exchange some small coins that you can't get in the general circulation, so now I am only missing 1 type I think.

As we ascent the volcano I can see why they only allow authorized vehicle to go up. It is a narrowed stone road and very step, may be 3000 feet. After arriving, I was shown to my bed in the dormitory, and I will be the only person tonight, so it will be great sleep! There is lots wind up here and it is less hot, so there is hot water shower, the first I seen in Nicaragua as it is too hot for hot shower every where else. The accommodation is basic with compost indoor toilet.

I was introduced to my English speaking guide and he told me there are couple hikes around the craters but it is additional cost to my $45 room, dinner, breakfast, and nighttime hike. I was not too happy about it (did not show it), but decided to go for it since I am here for the day anywhere, and I love volcanoes. I told my guide to go at 3PM. I chatted with my guide while we wait, he is 24 and want to study about building computer, web admin so he can earn more and support his future wife.

The hike took us through cloud forest. In the dry month, the fog/cloud move in at night and clear around 11AM. This daily moisture sustain many plant species. There are monkeys, deers, sloth, and puma. There is also a salamander that is endemic to the mountain. It was a nice 2 hour hike through cool forest. I was able to see Granada, and Ometepe from the hike.

We got back to the refuge before sunset, but unfortunately with the trees surround the area I could not see it.

After dinner at 6:30, we went on night hike at 7:30 to look for the salamander as well insects and sloth. We were able to spot some salamanders and few insects, not as many as I had hoped. During the hike I started to feel something funny in my stomach, and told my guide I need to goto the toilet. I am not sure if it was the dinner, the super sour passion fruits, what ever it was, I had to go again later.

I felt tired after the hike, must be all that walk, hike and lack of sleep, so I went to sleep around 10, and I had very good night sleep despite the wind noise outside. My best sleep by far since I left home.

btw, there is a small baby deer around the building that would come in during the meal time to get hand out from the people, the little deer is really cute.

I woke up to see the cloud and mist had surround the mountain and everything is wet and even my things felt damp. I decide to try the breakfast, luckily nothing bad happened, but I don't think my stomach is 100% yet.

I got a ride from the same truck back down the mountain, and was able to get back to Granada right before 10 and in time to catch the van to crater lake Apoyo. I was going to at 4PM thinking I was not going to get back in time. So now I can cut a day from Granada and head down to Ometepe on Saturday. Tomorrow I will go back to Granada and go shopping at Masaya.

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