It wasn’t my intention to go on another hike before I left Quetzaltrekkers, but when an opportunity to explore the northern highlands came about, it was too good to refuse. Even more so as I could go as a client and not as a guide. No responsibilities sounded good. So we left the office early morning to rejoice with the bus to Matagalpa. How strange that it was over two months go I was here last. We left León and the suffocating heat in exchange for the crisp, fresh air of the north, What a welcoming change. I passed out on the bus within no time and woke up to what I can only explain as a homage to the 70’s disco era. Nothing like disco fever early on a Tuesday morning! Hail to the bus driver. Matagalpa was just a cool as when I left it in November and buzzing with people and blazing music. But we are not here for the non of that. We are here to explore the mountains that surrounds it. The northern parts of Nicaragua is well known for its excellent coffee and as we were reading our way through the coffee museum in the centre of Matagalpa, we would soon go walking amidst beautiful plantations to prove it. First up though, it was time to do some zip lining. On top of a hill overlooking the city we flew through the forrest enjoying views and the uncomfortable harness that got us safely to the end of the line.
Back down on earth we got our backpacks on and headed for the mountains. For the rest of the day we walked through coffee farms and small communities that live the simple life on the Nicaraguan countryside. I wander in awe of the beautiful nature that surrounds me painted in green colours and the afternoon sun that makes the landscape come alive and my heart dance from joy. It’s stunning and the further up we come and closer to our campsite, I can see the forrest changing. Pine trees are roaming high above the ground and reminds me of a norwegian counterpart, the scandinavian woods that I am so familiar with. After a few minutes of enjoying the view of the path we have just climbed, we reach our campsite and put our backpacks down and our tents up. Above us we see a cliff and I ask “are we going up there?” Yes, of course we are. It’s the ideal spot to watch the sunset over the northern highlands on top of a rock that look like it came straight out of the Lion King. The perfect end to a perfect day. And the views? Epic…
The next day we wake up ready to head back down and make our way to Cascada Blanca and our second campsite; the cave behind the waterfall. After a two hour walk we reach the main road and wait for someone nice enough to let us have a ride to the eco lodge that is connected to the waterfall. I guess no one found 7 sweaty westerners appealing enough, so after fifteen minutes a bus came along and we got a ride on another yellow container on wheels. At the Eco Lodge we got checked in and headed for the waterfall and our own private cave for the night. It might sound amazing, but you weren’t there. However, I won’t say it wasn’t either. It’s a matter of individual taste and whether or not you can enjoy a nights sleep with thundering water literally right next to you.If you do, it will be a story to tell. We hung out at the Lodge, went down to the river and had a swim, ate some food, drank some beer and played some cards. It’s more or less the only day out of all our hikes where we have time to sit down and do nothing for most of the light hours. When nighttime fell, we headed back to the cave and made a fire so to cook and to keep the warmth for a bit longer. At eight, you wouldn’t believe it, but it seems like the night has gone on forever and we retreat one after one to our tents and listen to the cascada blanca’s rushing water.
Our final day in the highland have arrived and it started of in the best possible way when I get to go to the cacao castle yet again. We do the tour, we eat chocolate, we buy chocolate and are more than happy as we hitch a ride back into town. “I hate chocolate”, no one said ever. Back in Matagalpa we take the time to hang out a coffee shop, have a walk around town and eat food at one of the local comedors (cheap restaurants). Late afternoon it is time to jump back on the disco bus and head back home to León, the tropics. Somewhat tired after three days on the road and two nights with hardly any sleep, I come back to the office thoroughly happy that I decided to go to the highlands. It proved to be yet another testimony of the beauty of this country. Now, I sit back and relax in León, before I leave Nicaragua in 3 days. I’m happy, I’ve seen a lot. I’m ready to move on.