Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday



MAY 21, 2001: LEON VIEJO

The two Canadian friends I met in Bluefields agreed to join me for a drive up to northwest Nicaragua. I wanted to travel on back roads, so we rented a small Daihatsu 4-wheel drive at Managua airport.

Driving north, we found the way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Leon Viejo ("Old Leon"). The road is in bad shape, but a new road is under construction as a tourist development project.




Foundation of the main cathedral in Old Leon.






Foundations of orignal workshops





View from Old Leon hilltop:


Volcanoes Momotombo and Momotombito

in Lake Managua.


On the far shore is a geothermal electric plant.



We stayed overnight in Chinandega,

and in the morning headed northwest to the end of the road.


The road turns from pavement to dirt just north of Chinandega.

The end of the road is at Potosi,

at the tip of the peninsula near the Volcano Cosiguina.



The coutryside changed to the north of Chinandega.

This style of thatched hut became more common than the typical cinderblock and tin roof construction.







Here two huts face each other.









Jiquilillo Beach is on the Pacific Coast about an hour north of Chinandega. The road to the beach is now in good condition, contrary to information in some guidebooks.


As we arrived,

we were surprised to see many

young girls out in the surf with nets.




They were catching Shrimp Larva

for sale to the nearby Shrimp Farms.





Looking for shrimp larva


As the high tide peaked,

most of the girls gave up on netting

and went to sell their catch.






This one girl kept fishing a little longer..







Here the women line up with their buckets.

The larva are counted and purchased.



The shrimp larva are placed

in this tank after purchase.

They will go to the nearby "Camaronera",

a shrimp farm a few kilometers away.







Over the last few days I had developed fever/chills and a rash all over my body that itched like crazy! Dengue Fever!

The cabin accomodations at Jiquilillo beach didn't look so inviting. We drove to Leon at stayed in a hotel that night.





The next morning we drove to Esteli.

It should have been an interesting town, but I spent most of my time resting.

There was one interesting suggestion in the guidebook, a 100-foot waterfall just outside of Esteli.

The road was OK for a bit, but we were happy to have 4WD for the last stretch!




These children came running out

when they heard our vehicle....

to collect 20 cordobas!





This is the Salto (waterfall) de Estanzuela,

just outside of Esteli.



Normally this is a pleasant swimming hole,

but the first rains of the season had begun,

so the river was very muddy!






This painting in a hotel in Esteli is of "Cacique De Nicarao" ,

a famous Nicaraguan indian chief.







Carol Wood (right) and Family member.


Back in Managua, I was still feeling sick, and even more convinced that I had been infected with Dengue Fever back on the Caribbean coast the previous week!

I spent the last night at the Best Western airport hotel, and changed my flight to go home early the next morning.

That evening I contacted Carol Wood, the Canadian author of the guidebook I used for my three Nicargua trips:.

Ulysses Travel Guide Nicaragua by Carol Wood

Unfortunately the book seems poorly distributed. I originally bought it from Barnes & Noble, but now neither thhey nor carry the book in stock...

We met at her house, and swapped stories about some of our unusual adventures.




View of Managua suburbs from airplane.



As the Continental jet flew to Houston,

there were some good views of the Lakes and Volcanoes of Nicaragua.

This was the end of my third

Nicaragua trip in 6 months.


I had a feeling I might not be back so soon.







Text and Photos Copyright ©2001 Mark E. Halliday