This would be a police dog rolling over for a tummy rub from a little girl. I would have taken a picture closer up but I was a little worried about what his reaction might be to me documenting his working dog in such an undignified manner.

Sadly, as all trips must, ours came to an end. It was hard saying goodbye to all the library staff we had come to know, and also difficult to part with the Nica lifestyle and great food!
So to say goodbye I'll leave everyone with an image of the hammocks (if you could experience lying in a Nicaragua hammock you'd know how special they are!) and of some of the beautiful flora of the country.
Adios Nicaragua, I will be back!


Pelican Eyes

We went to the Pelican Eyes several different times during our trip, for one thing they have a great happy hour two nights a week. The mojitos and macua (a local specialty) are fantastic!
We also hiked all the way up to the top one day to enjoy the pool and have some lunch. The view was amazing, looking out onto the harbor. All the whitewashed stairs and walls were radiant.

Here you can see the view looking out from the infinity pool, when I wasn't reading in the sun I was cooling off in the pool and taking in the view, what a way to spend the afternoon!


Beach Day!

We took one day off from the Library by taking a water taxi up the coast for a beach day. It was about 15-20 minutes by boat, but it was as pristine and beautiful as you could hope for.
We started out with a swim and then began to bake ourselves in the sun. It was soon apparent though why we were the only ones not in the shade and after an hour or so, most of us were sunned out and ready to move to the shade. Alternating between reading, sleeping and swimming was a fantastic way to pass a couple hours.
When it was time for the water taxi to come back we were all ready and eager, feeling a little crispy and pretty hungry. While I had been slathering myself with SPF 70, I apparently forgot several places and ended up with some great burns.
I wasn't alone with the sunburns though and we all took turns putting aloe on each other and comparing how crispy we were. The burns were well worth the great day at the beach though and all the beautiful views on the way there.


More San Juan del Sur

Since we spent several days in San Juan del Sur there was plenty of time to walk around, eat ice cream, sit in the hammock chairs, and look at stray dogs. Here you see some of our group walking back to the hotel after a yummy lunch at El Gato Negro, which also has a great book selection. While we were told about their amazing brownies, every time we tried to get some they were sold out. On our last morning there we woke up early just for a stealth brownie trip. Unfortunately we didn't get exactly what we were expecting. To say the brownies were gooey would have been an understatement, the one I shared with Stephanie was actually liquid. To be walking around with plastic baggies full of liquid brownies led to some laughs and pretty unsavory jokes that I'll let you imagine for yourselves.


Canopy Tour

In addition to the turtle tour we had also heard great things about the canopy tour and were eager to try it, we sure weren't disappointed!! The course was just a fifteen minute drive out of SJDS and apparently has some of the highest, fastest, and longest zip lines in Nicaragua. After going on two little practice runs where we got used to braking and got comfortable with the whole process it was time for the real thing! The guides were hilarious, five men showing off by jumping on the zip lines and changing quickly from one line to another. I was pretty jealous with how effortless they made it look, plus they did crazy stuff like going upside down or going with no hands which just looked like way too much fun. I was able to convince them to bounce my line for the last run though!

The zip lines themselves were amazing, but they also offered a great view of the beautiful Nicaraguan countryside. At one point I even got to see a monkey hanging out in a tree. When we weren't getting whisked on and off the lines (our guides were the epitome of efficiency), we were standing on little platforms, able to look around at all the wildlife and vegetation. My best view though was when Andrea got stuck in the middle of the line (it was one of the long runs and it got super windy as she was going across, leaving her stranded in the middle of the line) and since I had already started I got to stop in the middle of the line and hang out with her until the guide came to get us (at which point he got to show off some more by hauling us all back to the platform!) At the end of it we all wanted to go and do it all over again, and some of us harbored dreams of staying in Nicaragua indefinitely and running our own canopy tours.


Turtle Tour

Photo courtesy of Andrea G. You're only supposed to use red lights around the turtles as the white lights can be very disorienting for them, however Andrea's camera went all wonky and the flash went off by accident. I however am not above sharing this amazing accidental photo.

One of the truly amazing experiences of the trip was going on a Turtle Tour. We signed up through Casa d'Oro in SJDS to go see baby sea turtles hatching. For $25 we showed up around 6pm and were treated to an informational slide show before loading up on two trucks.
It was a very bumpy hour long ride to the beach. The seats weren't padded, there was no gate in the back of the truck, and our rider must have thought that a roller coaster like experience would really enhance the trip. So after an hour of holding on for dear life and sucking in dust, we showed up at the beach. We were put in pairs and given red lights to be used on the beach. They first showed us two baskets of baby turtles that had hatched during the day and were collected to be released at night (when its safer for them) and then we made our way to the beach.
After being split into two large groups, our guide released the turtles 200m away from the water's edge and we were able to cheer them on as they made their way arduously to the water. The act of pulling themselves across the sand helps build up their swimming skills so even though it was painfully slow to watch their progress we couldn't help them if we wanted them to have a good chance of survival once they reached the water. After seeing all 20 or so make their way into the ocean we walked out along the beach and were able to see several different nests hatching. At once point we were so engrossed watching all the turtles make their way out of the sand that we didn't realize another nest was popping out five feet to our left. It was amazing to be able to be part of this experience, observing the whole process. At one point I just went and stood down by the water, the best part for me was watching them finally reach the water and have the waves sweep them away, while it was the conclusion for us it was only the beginning for them.


San Juan del Sur

If you were wondering where one of the most beautiful places on earth is, just go to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. This was our home base in a sense during our stay. Jane, who founded the SJDS Biblioteca, also owns the Hotel Villa Isabella where we stayed and it was perfect.
In addition to having this fantastic front porch with great hammocks and swings, we got to wake up every morning and go downstairs to be treated to a fantastic breakfast, fresh fruit, great coffee, burritos, eggs, pancakes, waffles, tamales, you name it, we ate it.
This doesn't mean though that we didn't get hungry later in the day, here you see our group walking along the beach to get some ice cream. I opted for coconut although they also had a fruit one that was the most brilliant purple you've ever seen.
Here is the harbor at San Juan del Sur with a view of the hills on one side.
Right across the street from the library (and quite close to the hotel) was the church. Five minutes before 6pm you would hear the bells going, Jane explained that this was the way of saying "this is your last chance to come to church or you will be late!"