Exploring Nicaragua – Leon and Lago de Apoyo

The Boom Wave. What can I say about the Boom Wave? Well, I tried surfing it every morning for 5 straight days. In the end I broke one board, cut my face with my fin getting rolled on a duck dive, had several hold-downs, and only managed to catch 1 good wave. If you’ve been surfing since you were 4 years old you’ll probably rip the Boom. But for a middle aged gimp like me, it was time to move on.

We left the beach at the crack of noon after our routine 9 cups of dank coffee, (that’s per person Folgers Bitch!). Our first stop was the city of Leon. This famous city is where all the left wing radical revolutionaries hung out, so you can imagine it was high on Stevie’s list. Although all the tourist books give it rave reviews, we honestly found it a bit dumpy. There are some beautiful old churches and buildings, but it was obvious that the war had taken its toll on this place. We shot some photos and decided to move on.

We headed toward Lago de Apoyo which was recommended to us by our probes from ADVODNA. We cruised good roads and took in the insane views. Nicaragua is a country known for it’s volcanos. There is a chain of volcanos that run through the entire country from north to south. Driving past them is absolutely breathtaking. Check this one out smokin from the top…

The cars in Nicaragua have to compete with the other street traffic, which happens to be a surprising number of horse drawn carts…

After a gorgeous 4 hour drive we arrived at the rim of our destination. Lago de Apoyo was created when a giant volcano imploded on itself over 20,000 years ago and then filled with water.  The deepest measure point of this lake is over 200 meters making it the lowest point in all of Central America! It is also one of the cleanest bodies of water so the swimming is supposed to be amazing.

Despite the expensive price we had made reservations at a swank hotel called San Simian right on the water. When we arrived I was thrilled when the manager had no idea who we were. They had lost our reservation. Stevie is a veteran all-pro nomad and went right into tear mode. We’re not talking hard core I-spilt-my-milk weeping mode, but light misting in the eyes followed by comments like, “Honey, what are we going to do. It’s going to be dark soon.” The manager rushed around making phone calls and was thrilled when I told him we’d be willing to sleep in our van in the parking lot.

He refused when I offered to pay a couple bucks for camping and started feeding us free drinks. Cars were immedietly moved and a level parking spot was made for the Sprinter. We were given full access to the entire facility, including free use of the kayaks. He even offered Stevie his private bathroom so she could take a hot shower. I squashed that offer immediately. He was a finely groomed Euro and spoke 4 languages. This ain’t my first rodeo buddy, check the ring on that finger. We opted for a swim in the lake instead and settled into gin cocktails for the night. Life is good. TREE

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  1. John Rich says:

    Nice report! But you calling yourself a "middle aged gimp" is a bit much! With a name like The Boom Wave what can you expect? Boom!

  2. Madena Bennett says:

    What are you guys going to do when you get to the Darian Gap??? A friend of mine really wanted to know. He wants to do a documentary with his "flying car" where he flies over it…then continues down the road…

    • shellhave2guess says:

      Leon and Lago:
      You say this very interesting statement at the end:
      “We want to hear from you! You may comment as ‘Anonymous’ to hide your identity if you don’t want to leave your name. We understand. We’re controversial.”.

      WELL… May I say, “You don’t know the word ‘Controversial’ until you’ve got to know ‘Madena'”. She’ll put you straight !!
      Anyhoo, I am pretty sure this is my first, unequivocal correction of Madena since knowing her for over a decade… IT’S “DARIEN GAP”. (Now I’ve got to hold on to my hat, metaphorically speaking, of course!)

      **** Thanks chaps for allowing me a little fun It was such a small matter, but she has such a huge ego… Bless her! ****

  3. Tim Widmer says:


  4. Holy shit that sounds badass!!! We are going to ship the van via a freighter from Panama to Columbia, while Kiki, Tree and I fly over. It's an expensive and not-so-fun part of the Pan-American journey. I wish we had a flying Sprinter!

  5. Anonymous says:

    those horse carts are cool. You guys should continue on in one of those!

  6. www.elpotrerochico.com.mx says:

    Boom wave's new name: PUMP-O-RAMA
    Let it be know

  7. Anonymous says:

    I miss you guys tooooooo much. Can't wait to see you in April Tree and both of you in May. XOXO
    – Indra

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ditto from Mama! April, yay!
    And Peru here I come! Will be working and waiting for your arrival in The Sacred Valley – when you get there, away we go!
    Love you Stars,

  9. I know you guys have probably seen so many already, but those buildings of Leon are gorgeous. Keep the photos coming. Inspiring.

  10. Anonymous says:

    nice forward stoke Stevie. Big improvement!

  11. I am going to alert Columbia your public dissent toward their #2 export. I wonder if the strong coffe is the secret behind that "stache". You may be on to soemthing. By the way that just for men you wanted me to send you is in the mail…..

    Love you like a liberal…

  12. Timothy Iller says:

    We should be on our way in a few days….took way longer than expected. Once we make it down to the boom wave I probably can copy and paste some of what you wrote…hahaha. Sounds like me trying to surf waves like that. Be safe. Timothy…oh…are you guys driving to Columbia or shipping? Just curious.

  13. We are shipping the van to Colombia, and we are flying to Colombia to meet up with the van. It's impossible to drive there, just so you know. There's about 100 miles of dense jungle with no roads that FARC call home between Panama and Columbia; this is called the Darien Gap. I'm glad that you and the crew are about ready to launch…..super exciting!!!! Now hurry up and catch up so we can see a play or, better yet, be in a play 🙂

  14. DANK!, (Del Salmen Media Cudra Este). 7am to 10pm. American Food at it´s finest located 3 blocks from the Center Park. Serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Sandwiches, Burgers, Pastas, Juices, Deserts…. you name it, they probably have it! Real ingredients, prepared and cooked right, and clean. A must visit in Leon. They also have FREE Wireless Internet!

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