On our last night in Morgan’s Rock we began thinking of what we would do on our last night in Nicaragua (back at Hotel con Corazon,) and I remembered reading about one last tour that had piqued our interest when I was planning everything back in January. Ten minutes later (hooray for wifi in the bungalows) we were all set for an evening trip to Masaya Volcano on Monday night, complete with a trek into a bat cave at dusk!
Once we got back to Granada on Monday afternoon, we had to get ready for our excursion almost immediately since the sun sets so early. Joe donned his Sperrys, and I wore what essentially are glorified crocs. This is important, I promise.
Masaya Volcano is actually comprised of 3 different craters, one of which erupted in 2012 (causing a few trails to permanently close, and a few with huge warning signs that we walked right past, oops) I believe the other two are now considered to be dormant. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set, which made for some amazing photos.
After walking around the active volcano, we began a trek up to another crater. As we were heading towards the beginning of this trail, we saw a tour bus full of rowdy, loud, large American women. We had a chuckle with our guide and promised him that not all Americans are like that. Some stayed on the bus, unable (or unwilling?) to make the hike, but many were in the process of making their way down from the peak. On their butts. It should be noted that these trails are all made up of broken down volcanic rock, which for those that aren’t particularly steady on their feet is relatively precarious.
Steep incline + rubble + general clumsiness = bad news bears.
About halfway up I started feeling a little winded, and by the time we got to the top Joe and I were both definitely huffing and puffing – but we made it! This peak was significantly higher than the active crater/peak, with a great view looking over Nicaragua. I wouldn’t be able to point it out in a photo, but we apparently could see mountainous regions of Costa Rica from where we were standing, as well as the “White Towns” named for the pottery produced there.
We took some photos and our guide told us some local myths/legends before making our way back to the car. Here is where our shoe choice comes into play (aka lack of traction.) As we were heading down, I gained some momentum and ended up practically (unintentionally) running down the side of the volcano, unable to stop. It probably only lasted 3 seconds or so before I was hurtling past our guide who grabbed my arm, stopping me from probably hurting myself pretty badly (or maybe launching myself into a crater?) I was actually a little surprised I didn’t end up with a bruise on my arm (I bruise like a peach) – he had to grab on to my arm pretty hard/tightly to stop me, but I’m quite glad he did. I think I scared him (and Joe) more than myself, my bad. Needless to say, I spent the majority of the rest of the way down on my rear – any judgements I had about the others I saw going down that way went right out the window.
The last part of this tour/excursion was the bat cave. By this point the sun had gone almost all the way down – perfect timing for the hundreds of thousands of bats to start coming out for the night. Before donning our hard hats and flashlights, our guide confirmed with me that I wasn’t scared of bats…I told him we would find out shortly. I guess he assumed Joe could handle it 😛
As we made our way through the jungle towards the cave (created by flowing and cooling lava/magma,) we passed by one huge bat cave that tourists aren’t allowed to explore – the air quality is poor due to guano from tens of thousands of bats living in that cave alone. The cave we did go into was actually quite cool, and the dark scared me more than the bats.
It was so dark – without flashlights you couldn’t see an inch in front of your face, so feeling bats fly by, grazing your helmet or arm was a little startling. It was also relatively hard to see where we were going, despite flashlights being aimed at the ground the whole time, but we survived, and weren’t turned into vampires in the process 🙂
We had some packing to do when we got back to our hotel, but first went out to the “main drag” of Granada to eat street corn for dinner and buy a couple of souvenirs from a small line-up of vendors for friends and family back home.
Our honeymoon definitely wasn’t what we would call relaxing (though we did do a bit of that!) – but we made so many memories that will last a lifetime, and it doesn’t get better than that! ‘Til next time, Central America!