Even though I was tired and wanted to spend some more time in my fabulously air-conditioned bed, IVY had a full day planned for us on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. We would start with breakfast. One of the things I loved about the food they offered us was that it was not only farm-to-table and built around a sustainable concern for the environment, but it was also delicious. You could also eat gluten-free and it was vegetarian-friendly, as well.
Then, it was onto surfing. I had never tried it before, but I was looking forward to giving it a go. Where we were at Morgan’s Rock was the perfect place to test our beginner-level skills. With a soft break and a more challenging one just past it, even members of our group who had surfed before were able to have a good time.
Our teachers were patient as we practiced on land before heading out into the water. I had always assumed that I would be terrible at surfing since I’m not known to be the most coordinated of individuals. However, because our instructors were so kind and really helpful, I was able to get up on the board and ride some waves a few times. I can honestly say that this experience helped fuel a new passion for me—all I can think about is getting back on the board on my next trip.
Shedding our wet clothing (and tasting a quick drink from our favorite bartender, Mike), we then headed to yoga class for some decompression after two days of intense adventure. The hour and a half yoga class didn’t feel like enough. A little alcohol in my system and the calming sounds of the waves coming from the ocean as we moved into downward dog made me never want to leave this paradise.
After another delectable lunch, we were allowed some free time to do whatever we wanted. Personally, I was itching to get back to the beach house and enjoy the private pool while doing a little work. I settled in, listening to the waves as I typed and feeling any stress I had in my muscles melt away. As howler monkeys lounged in the trees above me, home seemed much farther than the six-hour flight it took to get there.
We were invited to listen to a presentation by one of the local sea turtle conservation experts. Another thing I was enjoying about the IVY experience was the way each of the members enjoyed learning and wanted to help the rest of the world. A portion of the tour price is donated to local organizations in Nicaragua—and one of them was this impressive conservation effort devoted to helping the wildlife in the nearby nature reserve.
We strolled the private beach looking for sea turtles and trying not to step on hermit crabs. While we were probably too loud for a sea turtle to approach, it was fun to hear the laughter of the group and how everyone seemed to be fond of each other. It was hard not to love everyone in this beautiful setting with the stars above us and the perfect beach below us.
After dinner, we gathered on the beach for a little partying. I managed to talk to most the IVY members on the trip and to get to know them. All had interesting stories and were working toward self-improvement. They were all also well-traveled individuals who had a global mindset. I felt like these were people I wanted to see again—which, fortunately, the IVY program makes it easy to do.
It was off to bed for the next day, which included the activity I was most intrigued by: volcano boarding.
Have you ever had a positive tour experience where you made friends for a lifetime?
Thanks for IVY for sponsoring my time in Nicaragua. Interested in traveling with them? They’re headed to Cuba next.