Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011 – San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – 85F – Clear and Sunny

Distance from Huatulco, Mexico to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua: 660 nautical miles

A beautiful day in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.  A special day today:  Ellen’s XX birthday.  She looks good for some who is XX years old.

 The Big 64 (Small)

The Birthday Girl

We are on tour today, scheduled to tour the Nicaraguan countryside on our way to Granada, a colonial city about two hours from San Juan Del Sur.  San Juan Del Sur has a shallow harbor so we are tendering today.  It’s a pretty smooth ride (unlike some recent tender rides).

San Juan Del Sur Journey from tender (Small)

The MV Journey from the tender

The countryside is scenic with farmlands dominating the landscape.  Most impressive, however, are the three volcanoes along the way.  The first one we see is Volcano Concepcion located on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua.  In the photo below, those are clouds covering the peak of Concepcion.  It is an active volcano as are all of the volcanoes in the area.

V Concepcion from bus (Small) 

Next to make an appearance is Volcano Mombacho (photo below).  This volcano appears to be missing its peak perhaps due to an earlier eruption.  Still pretty impressive.

V Mombacho from bus (Small)

When we were here last, we spent most of the time in the city of Rivas (San Juan Del Sur was a last minute stop due to the swine flu issue in Mexico).   This time, we pass through Rivas on our way to Granada.  The bus lets us off at the Parque Colon (central plaza), where we have a little time. 

Plaza Colon San Juan Del Sur (Small)

Fountain – Parque Colon

Granada Cathedral (Small) 

Cathedral of Granada

While waiting for our group to gather at the Cathedral, we were treated to a wedding procession (below).

Wedding Party S J D S (Small)

From the cathedral we walk to the St Francis Church and Convent.  Along the way, we run into an unusual restaurant – One that serves breakfast – American style (waffles, etc.).

Good Breakfast Place S J D S (Small)

Kathy’s Breakfast Restaurant

Wedding participant S J D S (Small)

The tall woman above was part of the earlier wedding party.  They wanted money to photograph her – NOT.  The stop at the convent was brief.  The location did afford a great shot of V. Mombacho in the distance.

V Mombacho from St Francis Church and Convent (Small)

Heading back to the ship, we passed what looked like a muddy field but was actually a rice paddy.  Rice, along with the ubiquitous mango, are major crops in this area.

Rice field S J D S (Small) 

The guide promised that we would get a good photo op of the volcanoes on our way back.  He tried twice to stop the bus across the road but the volcanoes were obscured by trees and lots of power lines.  I suggested that we go to a spot we passed on our way to Granada; he initially balked – safety concerns – but we pulled into a small parking area that led to the shores of Lake Nicaragua.  An excellent spot for viewing these two terrific volcanoes located on the island of Ometepe.

Concepcion and Madera (Small)

V. Concepcion (L) and V. Maderas (R)

The guide told us that Concepcion has the second most perfect conical shape (Mt. Fuji is Number 1).  We heard the same thing about a volcano in Chile.  Concepcion is shown below (with and without me).

V Concepcion 1 (Small) Me and Volcano Concepcion (Small)

The other volcano, Maderas, may not be a perfect cone but it is still an impressive natural formation.  Ometepe and its two volcanoes were nominated to be a UNICEF World Heritage Site (didn’t get enough web votes according to the guide).

V Madera (Small)

V. Maderas and Lake Nicaragua

After returning to the city, we explored a bit – there had been some new construction and business opened since we were here a couple of years ago.  The city has a great beach (below) so it should appeal to tourists – it does need a viable commercial (restaurants, shopping, etc.) area.

Beach at S J D S (Small) Beach SJDS and Journey (Small)

San Juan Del Sur Beach – MV Journey in the distance

Soon we are back on the tender and returning to the ship (below).

Return Tender Ride (Small)

After dinner, we spent a few minutes listening to Jaqueline Dolan’s harp music.  I asked her to sing Happy Birthday to Ellen and she did.  Low key enough to be acceptable.

We caught the headliner, vocalist Dolores Park, in the Cabaret Lounge.  I am going out on a limb here but she is the best vocalist we have encountered on a cruise ship. She had stage presence and a killer voice (she also has four kids at home).  Hope to run into her again.

Dolores Park (Small)

Long day…

No comments:

Post a Comment