While Esteli wasnt the biggest of places, what it did have was 3 of my favorite things: Rainy days, Casinos and nearby Canyons. Our first stop in Nicaragua, Lonely Planet steered me towards staying at Hostel Luna. A British Lady owns the joint and donates much of her time and profit to the nearby community of Miraflor. The sole reason I chose it among others is because it included free unlimited coffee, and Im slightly addicted to that stuff. We stayed in the dorms, which were $8 a night, and honestly had a pleasant experience with all of our bunkmates. The atmosphere in this hostel wasn’t as much party but moreso, respectful and interesting travelers around our age. Unfortunately we didnt check out Miraflor, besides one of their nearby waterfalls, but from what I do know about it, it’s cold at night and very desolate, two very attractive attributes, however we simply just didn’t want to spend the money to tour it. Also, one of our bunkmates from London was robbed of everything as soon as she arrived. Keenan and I opted for a tour of the Cigar factory and a day of canyon crawling through Somoto Canyon.
Cigars are a huge product of Esteli, containing 80 factories within the city limits. We paid $4 for the tour, where we saw processes of the factory and were able to roll our own deformed unprofessional looking Cigars and then smoke them. The real question is How does someone smoke a whole cigar without throwing up? Cigars are really gross, but it was cool to see the way they are made. The room with the plants in it burnt your eyes and throat in their mere prescense. The employees are paid per rolled cigar, and a man in a striped polo walks around inspecting each cigar, throwing out the bad ones – your regular Quality Control man. Also, workers are permitted to smoke as much as they want during their shift.
I’m a regular factory worker!
Somoto canyon was AMAZING. Oddly enough this place was only just discovered 7 years ago. It’s this lovely, unscathed Canyon with a river running through it that made me yearn for my summer days on the river with my family and friends. There’s something oddly special about a life jacket chafing your chin. Ways of the water felt so familiar to me, only we ran this day trip river solely with our bodies and not boats. We climbed certain parts, swam others and even scaled walls at points. At one part, we had to jump a 13 meter cliff. Ordinarily, for my dad’s neuropsychologist sake, I would never do this, but it was our only option to get down, so I had to take the plunge. The tour was a steep $30 but entertained me from 7AM to about 7PM – left me exhausted, and even came with some fried chicken for lunch, and I love me some uh dat fried chicken
Not to be morbid, but oh wait- I am morbid. The guides are pointing at this waterfall because a few months prior one of their guides and a lady drowned in there. Danger!
We also rented a truck driver for $2 each and visited some waterfalls in Tisey Reserve
Yay for Winning! Maybe it was only like $8 but it was still a sweet hand.