We Found Paradise in Nicaragua!

At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour, but mood to moments. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun. -Unknown


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I mentioned in our previous post that, while in Nicaragua, Jordan and I were looking for a place that we may eventually want to live and that Nica did not disappoint. Not only did it not disappoint, but we found our paradise! A land of long stretches of practically deserted beach, multiple consistent surf breaks within walking distance, endless amazing sunsets and quality company. Thanks to the recommendation from our Aussie friends Tyson and Ash, we found Guasacate.

If you look at a map of Nicaragua, chances are you may not even see Guasacate on it. Reason being, Guasacate is basically a one mile stretch of dirt road with a handful of guesthouses and restaurants (restaurant being an overstatement), mostly vacant vacation homes available for rent or sale, a surf board ding repair shop and a small tienda stocked with non-perishable food and a few other miscellaneous items.

After our first night at the Popoyo Beach Hostel, we were convinced that Guasacate was where we wanted to stay and actually found a room in a house, Casa Azul, to rent for only $15 per night which was cheaper than paying $10 each for a dorm bed at the hostel. A few other perks of staying in the house included fresh running water which the hostel did not have, a pool and amazing outdoor patio area with a BBQ and fun roommates!

THE HOUSE

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Our back patio with the beach directly in front of us and the pool on the left.

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Our room and private bathroom. We even had a TV and hundreds of DVDs.

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The main entrance to the house.

  THE ROOMMATES

We felt bad when we initially moved into the house because an Argentinian couple was already staying in one of the rooms, but we lucked out and they ended up being awesome! Our conversations in the first few days were hilarious because Argentinian Spanish is quite different than what we learned, it sounded a lot like this at first:

Agustin and Laura: Say something in Spanish.

Jordan and Candace: Attempt response in Spanish.

A&L: Try again in Spanish.

J&C: “Oh you mean XYZ?”

A&L: “Nooooo.” Laura translates to English

J&C: “Ohhhhh!”

By the end of the nearly three weeks of living together I think all of our language skills improved immensely and we had a lot of fun together.

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THE SURF

Guasacate is adjacent to a well known surf break Popoyo. Popoyo is a point break that works both at high and low tide.  The waves break on rocks which makes for a quick and powerful wave; it’s best going left. The swell was low when we arrived but gradually got bigger while we were there. Next to the break is a river mouth that feeds into the ocean, this makes for a great spot to learn or practice riding waves as it breaks on sand and allows you to ride into the river mouth. All in all it was challenging yet very fun for the both of us and we had a blast playing in the surf.

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THE SUNSETS

Second to none on this trip, the sunsets in Guasacate were stunning every night and provided a great backdrop for dozens of photos. For the purpose of the blog, we’ll only share a few. 🙂

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THE FOOD

We didn’t know how long we would really want to spend in Guasacate before we arrived, so we brought enough food to last approximately a week. The closest actual grocery store was too far to walk and the Tika store at the end of the street didn’t provide much in terms of healthy food, so we actually bought our groceries off of trucks that would come around at least once a day with fresh fruit, veggies and frozen chicken. We had to listen for their loudspeakers when they were passing and run out to flag the truck down. The loud speaker sounded something like, “Pina, pina, mango, cebolla, pollo, pollo, aguacate, aquacate.” Translation: Pineapple, pineapple, mango, onion, chicken, chicken, avocado, avocado.

There was something rustic and awesome about buying our food off of the trucks and we took advantage of our back patio and barbequed nearly every night. So delicious!

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THE CRITTERS

Guasacate was ripe with critters and we had countless hours of entertainment trying to catch most of them…

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Land crab.

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Toad.

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Cicada a.k.a. Butterfrog.

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Pelican.

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Hermit crabs. At sunset the whole beach looked like it was moving because there were THAT many hermit crabs.

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Land crab, caught!

On our last night in Guasacate, we celebrated the most incredible time spent on our journey, thus far, in style and smoked our aforementioned hand rolled cigar bought in Granada. 🙂

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After Guasacate we ventured further south down the coast to Playa Gigante, which is another beautiful beach and quite small. The actual beach is a small bay and known for the good surf in and around the area, but the swell was non-existent during our 4 day stay. I actually think the most interesting part of our stay at Gigante was trying to get out. Despite the fact that it is a fairly popular destination, public transportation ends at La Entrada on the main road leaving travelers to fend for themselves for the last 5 kilometers to the beach, or conversely, for the 5 km back to the main road. Suffice it to say that we ended up hitch-hiking for the first time to La Entrada and then actually hitched another ride all the way back to San Juan del Sur which saved us around $30!

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Finally, we spent one last night in San Juan del Sur and had a proper Nicaraguan send off to the next leg of adventure: Costa Rica.

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