As usual people asked why Nicaragua or Costa Rica well, the answer was simple we looked at tickets to places where we don't need visa and which are nearby Nicaragua and Costa rica came out to be good candidates. Other option could have been Mexico + Havana(Cuba) or Puerto Rico but Cuba was dropped because of legal issues involved and Puerto Rico was too costly and kinda far.
So we arrived in Managua the capital of Nicaragua on Saturday evening around 9 PM. We already asked Holiday Inn to arrange for a pickup which they agreed to at cost of 5$ (initially quoting 6$, yeah bargaining in developing countries :)). Later we realized we didn't have to pay, don't know why.
The cab played a mix of reggeaton and other latin music but the best part was the remix of "Kabhi to Najar Milao" with a Bachata song, which immediately put a big smile on my face. I sure was in Latin America and would have great music for next few days.
We were recommended the "Moods" club by the cab guy and I did a basic search but didn't find enough and we decided to give Moods a shot and may be return to Chaman or XS (excess) if it didn't work fine.
Moods is kinda far (costed 7$ in cab), the entry was 10$ per head. As soon as we entered I was sure I was in right place. They had good Reggeaton music good is understatement :). Over time they played pretty much all genre of Latin music Reggeaton, Salsa, Merengue and then Rock music and even some Pop songs. The pattern was to play 5-10 songs of each category in a row so everyone can have great time as long as they like some music :).
The drinks were about 4$ or 81 Cordobas each. The bartender made a Mojito with some thing additional (IIRC called bueno something) and it was super good.
As we had to travel to Granada next day we left by about 2:30 AM, the party is meant to go all night but by this time there were only about a forth of the people as were when we entered.
Day 2: Granada
Managua to Granada is about 45 KM and has bus about every 15-20 minutes, the bus takes about 1:20.
The fare was 14 Cordobas. The taxi would have costed about 40$.
The guy who dropped us to the bus terminal have told us that the Granada was a more tranquila city. And it was indeed so. Granada feels much more calm and laid back from the minute you enter the city. Small streets, not too many cars, quiet a few bicycles everywhere.
We stayed at Casa Vivaldi which is about 5 minutes walk from the Parque Central, the original citycenter. The city itself is not too big therefore the downtown is pretty small too. You can walk across the same in about 10-15 minutes.
The afternoon we ate the "Nuestra mundo" place after looking around a bit for something smaller but failing to find anything. The place is a multicuisine restaurant just the kind that a food explorer should avoid :) Anyway for me that kinda good. I found Fajitas con tortilas, that was not enough so I also got another Veg fried rice which tasted exactly like Indian fried rice.
After food we walked to some of the recommended locations, the San Francisco Monastery mueseum (12$ entry). The Monastary is nothing special and we were done very soon. We visited Iglesias la merced which gives a panoramic view of the city for just 2$ which was totally worth it. They play the bell at about every 1/2 hr in case that interests you, its not any chorus though.
The churches I visited didn't look as rich in art as I was expecting. I mentioned on my visit to Roma (Rome) how beautiful the there churches were and how magnificent art was demonstrated on the walls and ceiling, these Spanish churces were very different, very very plain.
We also took a free Cigar making tour at Mumbacho Cigar factory right on the downtown street.
In the evening I wanted to go to El Club but we figured it was nothing special on Monday-Thursday so didn't we bother, instead deciding that we will go to Cesar the next evening.
Next day we went to Masaya, Volcano masaya, which has a live volcano called volcan Nindiri. The volcano is surrounded by a national park called Parque National Volcan Masaya, The distance from the main road to the mountain is about 5 KM, being short of time we took the jeep ride which costed just 50 Cordobas each way per person.
Next to live volcano Nandiri is the volcano masaya which is a dead volcano, of course nothing much interesting after watching a live one :)
We then headed to laguna de Apoyo which is among the clearest lake in the world you can also take a dip in the same, we did. We went to Mercado Nuevo (new market) which is a pretty big market to buy any kind of souvenirs you can imagine, we bought Hamocks, magnets, hats and some other stuff. Note that you can bargain quite a bit here.
The night the hotel ownered graciously offered us ride to Cesar's, which was closing so he took us to El Club which was closed and the caffe opposite was dead in activity as per the gatekeeper. Finally we ended up going to "High Bar" which was close to the Parque central and had some music beats audible on the road. I ended up dancing a few songs there. The place even though had good music was pretty dead with only 4 rich old guys with 4 young girls (for obvious reasons) making a pretty dull dancing scene overall.
Fortunately after few minutes of wait couple of girls showed up and we ended up dancing a few songs, Bachata, Merengue and Salsa. Impressed by our dancing I and the girl got a complimentary drink each from one of the guys :)
Next day we headed to Costa Rica by the Transitica bus.