January 13th, 2014: Isla Zapatera

Happy New Year! We wish all our friends and family a happy 2014!

Greetings from El Transito! This is Keenan from Greensurf, speaking. I’m writing my first blog post- Ever… I think. I’ve been working here since the end of November, and I’m having the time of my life. Not too long ago I updated the about section with my information, here.  So, you can check that out to know more about me if you’re interested.

This last weekend, Dave and I had the pleasure of traveling with our friend, Christian, to Isla Zapatera and camping for the night. The purpose of our trip wasn’t only recreational, we wanted to record the experience in anticipation of adding the trip to our tours. Keep an eye out for location updates on the website and changes to tour packages.

This is Christian or “Chele”, The owner and operator of El Bambu:

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Christian is fortunate enough to own a little piece of land in a bay on the the northwest coast of Isla Zapatera. The island is a dormant volcano which rises out of Lago de Nicaragua. In the view across from Christian’s Eco Lodge, El Bambu, you can see Isla El Muerto, an ancient ceremonial island. There are many petroglyphs left from the Chorotega people as well as pottery and artifacts that can be found in the sand on the surrounding islands of the archipelago. One of the glyphs is used as the logo for El Bambu as you can see below.

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The trip started out with an amazingly scenic ride out from Managua, through Granada, then around the volcano Mombacho on dirt roads to the edge of the lake.

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For now, the tour involves camping on the site. So prepared to get down and dirty. Avid hikers should bring boots if they want to climb to the top of Zapatera.

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We slept in hammocks for the night. The shore of the lake is real breezy so it can get cool at night and mosquitoes aren’t a problem. There are tents available and plans on building something more permanent in the future.

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Christian also runs a farm a short walk from the site. A local family lives nearby and helps him take care of the farm and also with visitors when they come to stay, such as cooking delicious food!

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Though the area is considered a nature preserve, many locals have lived here for generations. They welcome the tourism as it provides income and are curious about new visitors to the island and country.

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There is a lot of local wildlife to  see on the islands.  A troupe of howler monkeys make their home nearby the camp. We woke from a mid-day nap to see them in the tamarind tree above our hammocks.

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All I can say is that we had an amazing trip. You could easily kill a lot of time out here at El Bambu.  The tour will contain many options, since Christian- who speaks perfect English- knows all the local spots and people.  He’ll take you fishing, hiking, to local historical sites, active volcanic craters, and anywhere around the lake and it’s islands.  This also seems like a great place for stand up paddle boarders. There are many beautiful waterways and places to cruise. Check out the pictures below and check back for more information.

In the next few days, We’re traveling to Jinotega in the north to stay at an organic coffee farm. The north is a beautiful mountainous region, where cloud forests contain jaguar, monkeys, and  lush ecosystems.  We’ve had clients take both these tours and the feedback has been fantastic, so we will get the information up and available to everyone. Here at Greensurf, we want the world to know we provide many types of tours around Nicaragua, even though, surfing is our passion.

Siempre tranquilo,

Keenan

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