Nicaragua ride

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by swordfish, May 2, 2013.

  1. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
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    SW FLORIDA
    I will do a 7-day bike tour of Nicaragua starting May 7, with local help from SalCar and renting one of his bikes.

    Is anybody around there at the same time? Looking mostly to travel alone and explore, but I can link up with fellow riders for some out-of-the way tracks and sites.

    I will post some photos.

    Any good GPS tracks available?


    Thank you


    :wave
    #1
  2. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Bum 3 weeks to early for us, would have been great have caught up.
    #2
  3. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    May be some other time!

    BTW, it will be rainy season by the time you guys make it there. I think I'll get some rain too.

    Good luck

    :1drink
    #3
  4. salcar

    salcar Riding 4 Health

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    Hi Swordfish!

    You should have mention you are an ADV so you can get the ADV discount :D
    You can buy a GPS map online and I'll send you my off-road GPS tracks.

    All the best from Etiopia
    #4
  5. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Yeap that is the way the cookie crumbles, can't have it always.
    #5
  6. BikeMex

    BikeMex Been here awhile

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    Hola swordfish,
    I'm living in León/Nicaragua and I know some nice places to visit.

    I have different gps maps for garmin devices here.

    If you want send me a message.


    saludos Jürgen
    #6
  7. salcar

    salcar Riding 4 Health

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    Hi Jurgen,

    I'm planning to be in Nica at the end of June after I'm done with this trip across Africa... I'll be coming through Leon... let's meet up for a beer! :freaky

    Cheers,
    S
    #7
  8. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    Hi Sal.

    I got back from the trip and just found some time to log in and report.

    First of all, to all that are reading this thread, do yourself a favor and head down to Nicaragua for an incredible ride through a beautiful country. Sal's local support team (Roberto and Sergio) are very helpful. I got one of Sal's motorcycle and had no trouble at all. The Yamaha YBR 125 is perfect to handle roads and be light enough for off-road tracts.

    There are fewer places safer than Nicaragua to ride and interact with locals, even in the more isolated spots. Never felt in danger regardless of time of day or night.

    Again, do yourself a favor and head down to rent one of Sal's bikes and leave your work and troubles behind.

    I will start posting daily reports with highlights and tips + photos, so that you can get an idea of what to expect.

    Few suggestions: pack light, learn Spanish, eat local food (delicious!), be physically fit (there is lots of walking and hiking on very very rough terrain if you plan to visit any sites worth visiting like volcanoes).

    One more thing: driving a bike in Managua's traffic is very different than USA traffic; think Manhattan during rush hour without traffic rules or driving in Italian cities. Sal's suggestions are to know where you are heading before you go, study intersections and landmarks. GPS helps. You can also ask for directions to locals, assuming you know Spanish. I had no trouble, never got lost, even at night, and never had mechanical issues. Gas on those 125s seems to last forever, but fill up when you can.

    Highlights: Granada, Catarina, Mombacho volcano, Ometepe Island.

    More to come.

    Hitching to go back soon ....

    swordfish
    #8
  9. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    Hi Jurgen.

    I did get your info about off-road trip. I was kind of running out of time as to what I had to visit and where I wanted to be. We'll definitively get together once I come back and have more time.

    I believe at end of June I should be in Leon's area, towards to end of a jungle trip with Sal's group. I haven't seen the North side of Nicaragua, so there are opportunities.

    Let's stay in touch. I have another biker friend in Managua who just came back from a 2-week trip to Mexico-Belize-Honduras.

    Cheers,

    swordfish
    #9
  10. fortizgur

    fortizgur Adventurer

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    Leon is a Colonial city worth visiting!! You have "el cerro neigro" this is where you could explore and sand board,, or in this case volcanic sand board,, really cool!!! Its a city with history and many cathedrals worth checking out. There is an incredible museum of fine art, ask for info at the Hotel el convento, www.hotelelconventonicaragua.com, Ive been there numerous occasions, very nice place. And being in Leon your only 10 -15 Mins from the beach, Poneloya. This is a no frills beach but very beautiful and people are friendly. Hope this helps!
    #10
  11. BikeMex

    BikeMex Been here awhile

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    Hello Guys,

    I was a bit busy the last days :evil

    So If you come to León. You can learn spanish in our house together with my mexican wife or with one of our spanish-teachers. We have a spanish-school here. We have all the books you will need. In English or German.

    I will have as well some Honda XR 250 Tornados for rent. These are really good bikes.


    Nicaragua is always a good and very safe place to visit. We know ALL Latin America, because we travelled 5 years around in all the countries of Latin America and we came back to León. Because we like it :clap

    Saludos Jürgen
    #11
  12. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    #12
  13. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    Hi Jurgen.

    Although I never had any formal Spanish teaching, I can manage to have a decent conversation and understand.

    I cannot stress enough how safe it was to ride anywhere and that my two encounters with local police were uneventful: I was never asked for a bribe (I was not speeding and did not break any local ordinances, it was just regular stop and check kind of control).

    As I wrote above, I will be back in Nicaragua at the end of June; towards the end of the Pacific-to-Atlantic bike adventure we'll go by Leon. We may have a chance to meet if you are available.

    swordfish
    #13
  14. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    Well, I have studied a bit how to upload photos, but it seems quite convoluted. So, after few days of pause, I wanted to give some perspective on my trip.
    I would say that the real adventurous part was to circle Volcan Maderas on Ometepe Island. The only road is unpaved and most of it pretty much up and down much rocky inclines. There was hardly any traffic (except for horses and bicyclists and a rare truck where road conditions allow).
    It is a 35-40 km stretch of road that circles the base of the volcano, but I drove for most of the day as I took my time taking lots of photos, eating some local food and climbing to the San Ramon waterfall. More on this later.

    My GPS had only a simple line around Maderas so I marked a number of waypoints of interest (fincas, food, special landmarks, nice beaches, animal sightings, etc). Part of the way was either raining or drizzling, but the road was always passable and never slippery.

    Reaching the San Ramon waterfall was an adventure into and on itself. Trusting the guard at the entrance of the tourist village that leads to the waterfall, I decided that the 2-3 km to see the waterfall were not that bad.
    They were way worse that that! The climb is endless, and carrying extra gear did not help. When I finally reached the waterfall, the beauty and surreal jungle atmosphere makes you believe you are on the set of Jurassic Park. See this link http://www.ometepenicaragua.com/waterfall/index.php The first half of the road can be done via bike or horse; however, once you park your ride, it's all up hill. Do not climb alone (as I did) unless somebody knows you are there. It's easy to fall and become jungle-kill if you step outside the barely marked trail. But it was truly worth doing it regardless of the fact that I was thoroughly wiped out and needed to ride another 10-15 km back home on really dirt and rocky trails.

    The experience was great, requiring some concentration during negotiation of steep inclines with rocks everywhere. Food was delicious - cerdo frito and tostones - home-made by a very nice local lady at a comedor. Some spots had clearly visible petroglyphs or ancient rock carvings with geometric or animal-human like figures.

    Ometepe Island - a place to visit again.

    swordfish
    #14
  15. Slowphil

    Slowphil REALLY Gnarly Adventurer

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    home again packing for the next one
    visit San Juan del Sur, loved that place!!!!
    #15
  16. swordfish

    swordfish swordfish

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    I did visit - nice beach. The road from Rivas to San Juan del Sur is nice and well-maintained.

    swordfish
    #16
  17. BikeMex

    BikeMex Been here awhile

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    Hello Swordfish,
    If you come to León, let me know and we can meet each other and have a beer or a fresco :evil or whatever

    saludos Jürgen
    #17