Just 10 hours ago I was in Costa Rica at a little hostel covered in Catholic icons and prayers. My room was Spartan but very clean, and the family who ran the place was very kind. Now I am in a hippy hostel in the middle of Lake Nicaragua where they were playing early Genesis all afternoon, Peter Gabriel vintage.
The ride from Samara was easy peasy; my friends Marcus and Pia offered me a lift all the way to La Cruz, which is just 40 minutes by public bus from the border. They were going to the nearby beach famous for windsurfing. And the wind was crazy in La Cruz; it was halving the palm trees in the morning. It was very sad to see them leave; I would be alone crossing the frontier.
The crossing was chaos, but not bad. An organized chaos. The trucks to pass the border are lined up for miles. The easiest and fastest way to cross is on foot. You have to wade through many money changers, changing colones to cordobas. Then you have to wade through volunteers who will fill out your immigration forms for a charge. I paid the $1 USD to a woman to do my form. Yeah, that is dumb, but it did save me a little stress. It was free to exit CR, but Nicaragua charges an entrance visa fee of $15 USD, plus another $1 for another form.
As soon as I finished immigration I got bombarded by bus and taxi offers. I waded through that and decided to negotiating a taxi to the ferry. I probably paid too much - the bus would have been about $1, but I felt like saving time and stress and spend $20 on a taxi to San Jorge, right tom the dock.
The ferry to the island is about $2. The afternoon waters are windy and rough, so the ride was close to 2 hours. At sunset the lake was as still and as placid as a cup of water.
When I got off the ferry I got bombarded again by taxis, and had to wade through, since I did not actually have a destination. I found the local information booth, where I met a young man in a uniform for the tourism department named Luis, who gave me a guided tour through town, and showed me the 3 main hostels. I chose the hippy hostel playing early Genesis, whose owner had a monkey non his shoulder. I have been here 2 nights and no bedbugs. winner!
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