A Baby and a Backpack in Masaya, Nicaragua

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Masaya, along with Matagalpa, Somoto, and Poneloya one of our favorite cities in Nicaragua. There's a plethora of things to see and do nearby plus its super close to Managua yet very few tourists. Masaya has everything we love about a town: few tourists, lots to do, cheap, friendly people, and very lively.

Getting There: We arrived at Managua International Airport and crossed the street to the mainroad where after enquiring with a few locals we hopped on a bus written “Huembes” to go to Managua's main bus terminal which serves most southern destinations. Terminal Israel serves the northern locations and UCA has minibuses (around the same prices as the large buses) that go to Lyon, Granada, etc. The local bus from the airport to Huembes cost 2.5 cordobas. At the terminal we quickly found the bus for Masaya (final destination “RIVAS”) which cost 15 cordobas per person. Buses that don't end there or go to the terminal will drop you off on the highway really close to the city center.

Sleeping in Masaya: After hours of walking around enquiring at several hotels, hostales and hospedajes we found HOTEL CENTRALE which funny enough we had looked at before arriving on booking.com and airbnb.com. The super friendly young guy that runs the place and his sweet family immediately made us feel welcome and showed us a clean room with a window and private bathroom for $12 per night. We happily accepted and immediately washed off under a cold shower and laid down under the fan and took a nice long nap after the long journey of plane rides, sleeping in airports, bus rides and hotel searching.
The guy that runs the hotel has plenty of information on what to do in the area and speaks decent English. He will happily help with anything, let you boil water, use the fridge, etc. His mom loved Leila and we pretty much had a permanent babysitter there as she pulled out all her old baby stuff from the attic.

What to Do:
Laguna Apoyo (Crater Lake): 13 Cordobas on the bus from Masaya. Bus says “Laguna Apoyo” on it specifiy “la baja” as not all go to the bottom of the crater. There are two buses per day. One at 7:30am and one at 10:30 am and one back at 4:30 pm but ask to make certain while you're there.

After a long windy road with killer views down the crater the bus arrives at the bottom of the crater and the road forks where the bus will continue left. We got off there (there is also a cheap tienda there if you need snacks, drinks, etc) and walked to Apoyo Resort where I wanted to spend my birthday. There is no entry fee but guests must spend a minimum of 200 cordobas each. Beware they charge around 20% for taxes and tips on top of the high prices! Food is super expensive but beer isn't too high. We split a nacho appetizer which was enough food for two people and had a few beers. At Apoyo Resort there's a small pool and a nice beach area. It's not bad. The pool stunk of chlorine and I'm sure we could easily find a free beach by walking around but we wanted a nice place to relax. A nice bonus was this resort doesn't really cater to foreigners so we were the only foreigners there- all the better for us!
The other place we knew of was Monkey Hut where foreigners go to party- not our scene- there's a $7 entry fee which includes kayak usage for an hour and free coffee.
Our Kidco Peapod came in handy here and luckily they had a highchair.
Nachos plus 5 beers- 488 cordobas (a little less than $15). 

Our table at Apoyo
On our way back we ended up hitching a ride with three cool guys from Managua as we went to the bus stop at 3:30 and the bus doesn't come til 4:30 (we didn't ask ahead of time). It was a great experience meeting these three guys and it was Leila's first time hitchhiking plus we made it all the way back to our hotel in Masaya super quick and free. Happy Birthday to me :)
Verdict: Laguna de Apollo: Don't miss it.

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