First off, welcome back! And Thank You! If you are a fan and have been following us this is the second trip of our BROography adventures and this time Romain and decided to travel through Nicaragua and Mexico together. If you haven’t read some of our European adventures, you can check out our most memorable adventures here:
Now it’s time for us to let you indulge in our oooohhh sooo humbling, exciting and adventure-filled time in Central America. Romain’s and I spent 1 week each, Dec 3rd – 10th of 2017, exploring Nicaragua and checking things off our bucket list, beginning with Volcano boarding. Crazy much?
Reuniting with my Broski
You know how you see your best friend pretty much all the time? You guys pretty much do everything together – eat, text, complain about your problems, complain about your boyfriend/girlfriend, complain about your life and how much it sucks (when it really doesn’t). Thinking about it now, your best friend is really like your 2nd toilet bowl full of word vomit, your own insecurities, personal issues and all the sh*t that you don’t wanna fix in your life so you poop it on them hope they will fix it. No seriously think about it, and give them a big hug after you read this, they take on a lot of your sh*t.
That’s what Romain is for me, my 2nd toilet bowl LMAO. And since our Europe trip in June of 2017, I hadn’t seen him in 6 months so I was pretty backed up, so you can imagine how much sh*t I needed to unload on my best friend!
Seriously, how do I come up with this? It’s genius I swear!
Anyways 🙂 it was a joyfully feeling reuniting with my best friend at the airport on our way to start our next adventure. I was very happy to see that he was in good health, alive and well.
Arriving in Nicaragua
After a long and arduous 8 hours of flight, Romain had about 18 coming from Dublin, Ireland. We arrived in the capital city of Managua, Nicaragua around 1:30 AM extremely tired, yet we both got that rush of excitement that we were traveling again.
After getting out of the airport doors and tasting the subtropical air of Central America, it just slaps you in the face that you’re in a different country and it’s adventure time!
So, we take a quick taxi to our hotel to sleep for the night.
I want to address the “Fake News” right now
Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in Central America. Believe me, I’m alive writing this right now. Nicaragua isn’t as risky as El Salvador or Honduras but it’s also not Norway either in terms of what country you think of in terms of “safety”. It’s still a 3rd world country, and the poverty is VERY REAL here, but it is safe.
Moving forward, in the morning we rented a car and headed to the city of León, Nicaragua to volcano board down Cerro Negro. Why Cerro Negro? Well for one, it’s the only volcano you can slide down (with a plywood board) on the planet. For two, it’s Number °2 on CNN’s Top 50 of the most thrilling, daring things you can do on vacation. And for three, it’s a Volcano that you can ride down and plus I need more bragging rights to my friends that I do more awesome stuff than you and even if you do end up doing it, it’s now lame to me because I already did it so… yeah! You should be sold at this point!
Anyways we booked our tour with Bigfoot Hostel, whose owner invented volcano boarding in the first place 15 years ago.
Amazing service! We definitely recommend this place! I definitely recommend staying here if you want to meet other travelers and have a cool place to hang out. They also have a restaurant, bar, and pool table around a typical Nicaraguan patio which features a swimming pool! Romain and I booked another hostel (which was quieter) one block away.
Our Volcano tour started at 8 AM and we didn’t get back until about 2:30 PM.
Getting to Cerro Negro is a bumpy 45 min driving on the back of the company’s truck with all the rest of the attendees.
The beauty of riding in the back of the truck driving to Cerro Negro is that you get to see the rural and raw livelihood of the local people of Nicaragua. Outside of the city of León, houses are either made of clay, aluminum or old bricks/stones. Some of the people don’t have internet, electricity or proper sewage or sanitation. Some of their most valuable positions are their farm animals to help plow there fields to grow food. And Romain and I were there just visiting, only to ride a wooden board down a Volcano??????????
The Heartbreaking Level of Poverty
Probably one of the most humbling and life-changing moments of my life was experienced on the trip. It was the Monday morning when Roman and I woke up to discover the town and take photos of the sunrise. We were walking down the street and we noticed a huge line of people in the distance early in the morning. Coming from very comfortable an “American lifestyle” here in the U.S. a line this early in the morning could only mean one of two things, so I wondered.
Is there a sale? Is the new iPhone X being released in this country? I wonder!
No, either of these two events occurred. To my surprise these people are waiting in line just to see the doctor. The Doctor!
There was a 75-year-old grandma in the line with a bleeding blackeye. She looked as if she woke up at four in the morning just a wait. And Romain and I waking up early just to take photos of the sunrise. Like Seriously!
My conscience couldn’t take what my eyes were seeing. This is the type of stuff you read about in books. And the imagery my society works very hard to shield me from. It’s like those commercials where you see the starving kids in Africa. We either do two things, we donate or we change the channel. But what’s actually going through your mind is “bystander bias”. I’ll save you the time of researching but what it really means is your mind goes “someone else will take care of those children so it not my responsibility”.
The difference in my situation was that what you see on TV was literally in front of me. There was no remote to change the channel and I truly felt powerless and helpless.
Further witnessing the hard past of León
As we kept walking through the town, we were faced with more reminders of León’s checkered past. Here we were on a basketball court with murals hailing the violent Sandinista Revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s (against the Somoza dictatorship):
Or here we are in front of the statue of a bishop who died as a martyr fighting for the rights of the Indigeneous people, 500 years ago!
Volcano Boarding Down Cerro Negro
I was like “Bro, do you even lift??????” “You let some wind punk you”? He and I were not friends for about 10 minutes! I need friends that lift okay!
Romain, hit the gym bro!
Tips for Volcano Boarding safely in Nicaragua:
- Keep your feet off the board, just your butt will be in control. The higher your feet are off the ground, the faster you will go.
- Sink your heels in the ground to break.
- Make sure you bring an extra T-shirt to cover your face.
- Don’t open your mouth.
- Use both hands, do not one hand the rope!
On the way back, the floodgates of communication opened and everyone in our group was talking to each other. We met a traveling couple celebrating their honeymoon who, for the first time, decided to get out of there bubble in their comfort zone and travel the world. Surprisingly, the first country they decided to travel to was Nicaragua.
This is what Mike had to say to you first-time travelers:
Overall, I enjoyed León not because of the cheap food prices or Volcano boarding but for the life-altering perspective it provided for me. It let me know that my life back home is extremely privileged. It taught me to appreciate to a greater extent the conveniences that I so take for granted. It taught me to humble myself and admire the little things in life.
More importantly, I left León hating Romain! Why? He didn’t share any more of the amazing pie he had at diner! He took the last piece, so greedy! This pie was amazing!
But in all seriousness, if you’re going to travel to León to Volcano board, which we recommend, make sure you don’t get caught up in entertaining yourself. Get lost in educating yourself and finding a new perspective on life!
Seriously thank you for reading if you made it this far! Here at BROography, we appreciate all our fans and supporters!
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