I read a pertinent quote on a recent trip to Nicaragua that said “Travel: the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” I was perched on a chair in my 3-story thatched hut, looking out into the jungle through the “walls” to the room which were entirely made of sliding screens, and listening to the howler monkeys. It was one of those moments when you know you’re in the right place at the right time.
I traveled to Nicaragua seeking rest, peace of mind, time to turn off the day-to-day stress, tune into myself, and certainly to find a little fun. After a 2.5 hour drive from the only airport in the country into a remote surf village up many dirt hills, I knew I’d come to the right place.
While only there for 5 days, it was a full trip and exactly the amount of time I needed to get away. Each morning was spent in an open-air hut with a meditation practice led by one of the most gifted teachers I’ve ever met. The ocean breeze would blow through at precisely the moments of greatest challenge as well as the ones of great stillness.
The beach was a few minute walk away. It was sparsely populated, although the waves were full of skilled surfers as it is known as one of the top places in the world to surf. After a terrifying attempt at surfing in Hawaii almost 15 years ago that resulted in me thinking I may drown, I braved another attempt. When not being a terrible surfer, I’d walk along the beach, swim in the waves, play frisbee for hours, or lay and look at the beautiful landscape or the sunset.
There was one lonely taco stand on the beach that served “the world’s best fish tacos” and they might be correct with that superlative statement.
We ate our meals family style in an open-air dining area, overlooking the mountainside with the ocean in the distance. Food was made on sight and to-order with whatever was local and fresh by Nicaraguan chefs. After breakfast, it was a great time to head up to a hammock and lose yourself in a book (of which I finished three).
At night you’d fall asleep to the breeze coming through the screened walls of the hut and would be awoken to the barking of stray dogs or the howling of the monkeys. There were even a handful of cats on the property so naturally we became best friends.
Speaking of best friends, I came into the trip with two friends from college and met so many other wonderful people in Maderas Village. A couple with whom I’d imagine I’ll stay in touch for years. One night after a celebratory dinner for one of the chef’s birthday’s, 8 of us went into a lounge to talk about life and gratitude. Not your normal Saturday night but I could get used to that.
We traveled into the closest nearby city, San Juan del Sur, one evening to check out the nightlife. It consisted mostly of tourists and was of no interest. What was of interest was sitting along the beach and watching the traffic patterns of the tranny prostitutes as they hit on drunk tourists.
Our last full day was spent on a catamaran we chartered out to a private island. We swam to shore, relaxed on the beach, “met” a few wild pigs who inhabited it, and on our ride back, were accompanied by a school of dolphins!
That night was topped off by a private beach bonfire and dinner on the beach.
En route back to the airport we made a stop in one of the larger cities: Grenada (which may be misleading: Nicaragua is the largest Central American country but it’s entire population is under 6 million). We took a horse-drawn tour of the city and walked and shot photos. By midnight that night we were back in Atlanta, exhausted from 15 hours of travel, sore from days of intense yoga, but mind at peace.