I arrived to Nicaragua a few days ago and so far I have had the best time. All previous apprehensions have disappeared.
The place has far outweighed my expectations thus far and I have also met so many solo female travellers that I am in no way unique or alone.
The difference in travellers since I was last here in Central America is vast. By and large, everyone I have met so far is travelling solo and the number of female solo travellers is huge.
This is good news for me because I don’t feel as ‘standout-ish’ and I also think it helps the local cultures become more accustomed to seeing solo females travellers as the ‘norm’.
I’ve also had so many magic moments that have confirmed my gut feeling that this trip is what I am meant to do right now.
On Friday (21st July) I did a Fortress Tour in Leon. ‘El Fortin’ was built initially to defend the city but during the dictatorship of Somoza, he used it as a place to torture people and carry out horrific acts.
Our tour guide was a local and very passionate and neutral about their history. But during our tour, another local from the area (a war veteran) came over to him to let him know that the Mayor was on his way.
Soon afterwards the place was awash with people, tv cameras and police. It was surreal being there at that time (we were probably on Nicaraguan News as the cameras kept filming us as well!).
Eventually they left and we got back to the tour. We all sat around and watched the sunset out over Leon and in the background the horizon was filled with volcanoes, with smoke bellowing from the top of one of them! There are over 20 volcanoes in Nicaragua, 8 of which are active.
It was so surreal and so beautiful. Leon looked beautiful from this height, it looked like a city in the middle of a dense jungle as the vegetation was so lush and green (as it’s currently rainy season). I took it all in and pinched myself that I was actually in Nicaragua, all my previous fears and apprehensions seemed dumbfounded.
We had food and beers and played some games on the fortress. It was a super evening, really informative and also fun but the icing on the cake was at the very end. Before we left the guide gave a very passionate speech about life and gratitude and how he nearly lost his life in 2010 in a bad motorcycle accident. He reminded everyone that life is what you make it and always be thankful for everything (good or bad), don’t complain and to help each other. It was so heartfelt and emotive. Then he asked each of us to spread out and find a spot and just be quiet and give thanks for everything in our lives.
It was magical. The sun had gone down at this stage and it was pitch black except for the lights out over Leon. Fireworks we’re going off in the distance, drums were banging (as they have a lot of celebrations in July around the Revolution) and fireflies were flashing in all the trees surrounding us.
Looking out over the city during those quiet moments of reflection is something I won’t ever forget. I am so grateful for the chance to be here and moreso it confirmed my belief in my gut instinct and I know for sure, one way or another, this trip will all work out. I just hope the mosquitoes ease off as they are outrageous here so far!