Traveling in Nicaragua Our First Day in Popoyo Beach [Travel Diary]

travel diary from Loren of Think Elysian - First day in Nicaragua

We set off for Popoyo Beach in Nicaragua a couple of days ago. I initially wanted to have a travel diary for you each day, but after our first day here in Nicaragua I didn’t think that was such a good idea because I had very little positivity running through my veins. I’ll tell you why..

Before even setting foot on Nicaragua our problems started in the air. Round and round we went – we obviously didn’t have the best pilot. While descending there were countless times my stomach fell, like that dropping feeling you get on a roller coaster? Not cool. Poor Caleb even had to get out the doggy-bag in fear that “it” might happen. I gave him a play by play, “we are almost to the ground.. we are so close to landing.. only like 30 more seconds…” Because Lord knows it would have been a chain reaction if he blew. Nicaragua customs was fairly easy until we got our bag and the chaos of one man checking everyone’s checked bag tag to their receipt. Note to self: ALWAYS SAVE YOUR AIRLINE PAPERS. We had no idea that this would happen so we were scrambling to find that tiny little receipt we got back in Houston so that the airport attendant could make sure we were leaving with our bag. At the airport we had transportation waiting – not going to lie we were super excited to have someone waiting with our name on a paper like in the movies! I said a friendly ‘hello’ and realized very quickly they spoke NO english. It made it us a little nervous, but in the car we shuffled and off we left. The driver put in a CD for us and simultaneously Caleb and I looked at each other and tried not to laugh. The CD had about 6 songs and they were all from the 90’s including a electro-pop version of Josh Groban’s Total Eclipse of the Heart and some Madonna song that wasn’t Madonna. It’s kind of embarrassing what some people think of Americans – although kind of hilarious.

Driving in Central America in general is terrifying. There are barely ever speed limits and if there are nobody obeys them. You better be ready to slam on the brakes when there is a random horse and buggy in front of you or a bike-taxi. And then – vroom vroom you’re up to 100+ kmph again.. I had talked to our B&B hosts and they said that ride from the airport was about 3 hours. Our flight was in a weird time where we missed lunch when we landed. Luckily we stopped at a gas station on the way and grabbed a ton of snacks including: full size pringles, peanut/raisin trail mix, snickers bar (halfway melted of course :P) a huge water and a coke – all for under $5. The girl spoke no english, but showed us the calculator and happily accepted a $5 bill. We were astonished at how cheap it was! On our way again, we had about 1.5 hours left in our drive – no big deal, right? Wrong. We twist and turned through small streets stopping and going and then we hit a dirt road.

I typically get carsick – I have really bad eyes and typically always have vertigo – so it was a rapid downhill crash and burn for me as soon as we started on this uneven bumpy dirt and rock road. The driver knew the road so well he would swerve to one side that was more even and then back to the other then brake harshly to ease a pothole we couldn’t avoid. I tried so hard to look out he front windshield, but there was a huge Virgin Mary air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror swaying back and forth and back and forth. I didn’t move a muscle in fear of putting myself over the edge. Each second seemed longer than the last until finally – came to a stop.

We made it! We survived! We didn’t puke! :P We pulled up to the darling La Vaca Loca Bed & Breakfast – so cute! Finally on solid ground! We met Khadine one of our hosts – she was so friendly and so helpful showing us around the property. Only one problem – okay maybe a couple of problems: 1. I was still so carsick 2. It was super hot 3. I didn’t realize this was ALL open air living – which meant there was no AC to help me cool off and help my body recover from that brutal drive. This was the moment I thought, “I don’t know if I can do this…” Dare I say it aloud? No – not yet at least. I bit my tongue and tried to fight my carsickness (is that a word?) off.

We decided to go next door to a little restaurant – also outdoors/open air. So I ate a chicken sandwich – which actually tasted very good. But the fact that it was hot, I was hot and nauseous, I just wanted to get back to our room. But that didn’t help because it was ALL. OPEN. AIR. LIVING. This is the point where I looked at Caleb and said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” I thought “don’t cry, don’t cry, this is just a bump in the road..” Such a first world problem. I couldn’t even believe that I would be that dependent on such luxuries. I was a little ashamed.. and a lot anxious – I don’t think I’ve ever had a real panic attack, but I am pretty sure this is the closest I’ve ever been to one. Breathe in, breathe out.. We decided to take a nap to help us recover – a hot, sweaty nap. Didn’t make me feel much better! :) We awoke right in time for sunset, this is when my fear for this trip turned in to hope. This sunset was the most beautiful I have ever seen. Sunsets are special for me – I like to think they’re paintings from my family who have gone to heaven, like a little reminder that they are there for me and with me. As we watched the beautiful sunset I was able to count my blessings including the one sitting right next to me – my amazing husband, who basically made this all possible.

Hi #Nicaragua, nice to meet you too. 😊 #ELYSIANTRAVELS #popoyobeach

A photo posted by Loren Ferguson – Think Elysian (@thinkelysian) on

Sleeping during the night was surprisingly easy! It cooled down significantly and I actually ended up climbing out from under the mosquito netting to grab a towel to cover up with! We awoke to sun shining in, waves crashing on the beach and birds chirping away. It was a new day. Time for the fears to wash away and for us to get on to enjoying our vacation! We ate next door, took a nap, laid by the beach, watched the sunset again and realized this is what the next 9 days would be like. Which might sound like a dream to some of you, but to us it was terrifying. I wanted to explore, hike, see a volcano or a waterfall – we needed adventure! Stay tuned for my next travel diary that will include our leap of faith with unplanned travel city-hoping to Granada! :)


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& feel free to comment down below! :) How would you have been without sleeping and eating without any AC? Has anyone else traveled without luxuries? How did it go?

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