Moai on Easter Island

Moai on Easter Island

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Northern Nicaragua, Part 2: Somoto Canyon and Paddleboarding

Here’s the second installment of my September trip to Northern Nicaragua thanks to Green Pathways.  

After a long day of exploring and photographing volcanoes I headed back to Leon for a quick night of rest.  Early the next morning we left Leon for the Somoto area of Nicaragua along the border of Honduras.  It was a five-hour drive through mostly farmland.  We didn’t pass the typical cornfields that would be seen on almost any five-hour drive in the US, but I passed bean fields, and coffee plants, and fields of plantains, sesame, sugar cane and yucca.  Yes, there was plenty of corn, but it didn’t dominate the landscape. 
Typical Nicaraguan Landscape
We finally got to the town of Somoto which is famous for its rosquillas.  The best way I can describe a rosquilla is a crunchy corn and cheese cookie.  There are photos below that show what they really are and describe the process a bit.

Pans of cooked rosquillas.  Some are sweet, but most are savory with a one to one mixture of corn and cheese.
The cooking process takes place in two ovens.  One to cook them and one to make them crunchy.
The whole process starts at 3am and goes until early afternoon.  People from all around the region come to Somoto every day to buy rosquillas.  
The end of Somoto Canyon from the lookout where I spent the night.
Next we headed into a Somoto Canyon.  Somoto canyon wasn’t “discovered” by anyone outside of Nicaragua until 2003 when two Czech geologists studied the canyon and suggested to the locals that it would be a good tourist attraction.  11 years later I was still the only white person in the canyon.   There were a few parts of the canyon that we hiked through, but it was mostly peacefully floating down the Coco River and through a few small, but exciting rapids. 

Deep in Somoto Canyon
A local boy diving into the Coco River as it exits the deepest section of Somoto Canyon.

The Lookout above Somoto Canyon where I spent the night after traveling through the canyon.
The next morning we had breakfast at a local farm.  This chicken was trying, and failing,  to milk the cow. 
The next day we drove to the port town of Corinto and met up with Scott and Gea of Livit Water who took us paddleboarding.  They moved to Nicaragua from southern California to escape the typical American lifestyle and after years of traveling they decided to settle here among some of the most genuine and welcoming people they’d ever met.   Scott and Gea were some of my favorite people that I met during the week in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua has some destination surf breaks that are just as fun on a paddle board.
Paddleboarding near Corinto.  We took a boat across most of the bay to islands that seemed a world away from the busy port.
Great afternoon on the beach on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.
We stayed late enough for the sun to lower in the sky for some great photo opportunities in the water.  
We had a great afternoon on an island across the bay from Corinto and the headed back to town to watch the sun set. 

This is actually one of my favorite photos from Corinto.
Sunset in Corinto
Next week the last Nicaragua installment will come out with deep sea fishing and kayaking through mangrove forests.

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