No, Nicaragua is not dangerous! In fact, the director here thinks it’s the safest country in Central America. We found it to be cleaner than Honduras, and it seemed to be a bit wealthier..there is much more arable land. The landscape was much different than Honduras..lots of jungle, flat cultivated land, and numerous volcanos popping up everywhere.Some highlights:
We visited “Selva Negro” (Black forest) which is a rainforest reserve/ coffee plantation. On an early morning hike in the rainforest we spotted numerous howler monkeys who made quite a racket, and then a toucan..it was just like the one on the Fruit Loops box! See video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8433A18w4oc Later in the day we rented horses to tour the huge coffee plantation…just a gorgeous place.
Boys on their horses strolling through the coffee plantation
We also visited an active volcano much to Henry’s dismay. He was certain it was going to erupt and kill us all. We were offered gas masks to alleviate the noxious fumes pouring out of the crater. We were too tough to take the ranger up on it. A cross on the edge of the caldera marked where priests used to sacrifice young maidens into the volcano to appease the spirits. See video of maidens being sacrificed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciO1ofTLerE
We spent two nights on the island in Lake Nicaragua where NPH-Nicaragua is located sitting below an active volcano. The other pequeños loved hearing about their compañeros in Honduras. We felt they had a better life in Nicaragua…way more food and less work, BUT it was damn hot!
Island where NPH Nicaragua is located.
Henry and Lucas visit with the pequenos at NPH-Nicargua
There is still evidence of a lot of political strife. When you entered a town you would see numerous Sandanista flags dotting the landscape or PLP flags (the other major party) depending on the town. Ortega was recently elected by only 30% because there were numerous parties being represented. There seems to be uncertainty about the future.
Painting in cultural center, Leon, Nicaragua