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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Las Penitas, and Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado, Nicaragua

Las Penitas, a sleepy little row of houses on the beach 20 minutes from Leon is a great place to escape for a few days.
Who needs roads anyway

Its next to a great nature reserve where you can kayak, be eaten by Alligators, watch hatching sea turtles, and so on, called 'Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado' You can book all sorts of trips there from the hotels there and in Leon.

Dont come to Nicaragua if you like crowds

The village was destroyed by a tsunami in 1992, which is probably why it consists almost entirely of tin shacks, but its got a great vibe, even though the surfing isn't so great and the sea has a pretty dangerous undertow - (pretty frightening, like your trying to get back in to shore and you aren't actually moving anywhere except further out to sea)

I stayed in 'Barca de Oro' in a dorm for $7 a night. I got eaten alive by ants but thats par for the course i think. It was clean and comfortable, and you can get nice cabinas for $30 too.

There aren't many other options actually. This place has the only decent food in town (unless you want to eat rice and beans in a tin shack) And there isn't much in the way of internet either. The place across the road charges $1 an hour for internet, which of course is ludicrous for the 3rd world, and the 'Oasis' hostel on the beach makes a charge too. Its another option to stay, its got the 'backpacker' vibe,  but everyone seemed to come to Barca de Oro to get drunk, especially on valentines (sorry girls i totally forgot about that) where i ended up getting blind drunk on cheap rum and telling dirty/bigoted jokes with a bunch of guys who's girlfriends had gone home in a bad mood for them getting drunk.
Could read - Vita decided to shut me up by slicing my head off. But actually reads something about getting a Haircut from a fully qualified bartender (who actually gave a good haircut too)

Anyway. Come here if you are in the area and want to chill out for a few days. Buses run every hour from Leon ($0.50) and any taxi will take you to the bus station there for $1.

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