I remember back when I was traveling in Morocco and one of the friends I had made on the trip commented on how she had lived in Nicaragua for a year. She told me fascinating tales about her time there—about eating ripe fruit and speaking with some truly authentic people. She told me about a changing country that had seen much strife over the past few decades, but now that was emerging as a tourist location. I marked Nicaragua as a place I would like to go in the future, but I didn’t expect that it would happen any time soon.
Fast forward a year and a half, and I found myself packing my bags for Nicaragua. I had been offered a chance to visit with IVY, an organization that I had long admired but had never gotten to really experience. IVY is mostly known for its unique membership program that includes activities throughout several cities in the United States. I had been invited to join IVY a while ago, but since I had rarely been settled for more than a few months, it seemed like a wasted opportunity.
IVY has also taken to providing tours to various locations for its members. Morocco, Iceland, and Cuba have all been previous destinations available for those who want a jam-packed adventure within the time frame that suits most working professionals. This was the first time IVY had put together a Nicaragua trip, but all the traditional benefits that you would expect from an IVY trip were there: great people, fast-paced activities, and a mission of sustainability.
True to form, we were immediately whisked away from the airport in Managua to the volcano of Mombacho. We were soon making fast friends as we enjoyed a meal at one of the local coffee farms, Café Las Flores, where we would be taking a tour and tasting some of the delicious coffee drinks that come from that area. We were introduced to some of the fauna of the Nicaraguan jungle—a green tree frog that soon grew attached to a few of the IVY members.
Next, we dodged the sudden, down-pouring rain in order to learn about how coffee is grown in the volcanic soil surrounding Mombacho. I had always assumed that darker coffee meant that you would stay awake longer, but I was surprised to learn that the lighter the coffee, the more caffeine was in the cup. After tasting a few samples, we headed to the next activity—zip lining.
I’ve been zipping a few times before, but this course included new obstacles and served as a great way for us to get to know our travel companions for the next few days. I was astounded by how varied the group was—each person was an incredibly accomplished and intelligent person in his or her own right, and I knew that I would get much more out of the trip than just seeing a beautiful place.
Once we had swung through the jungle, dropped from a tree at 45 degrees, and packed ourselves up in the van, we headed to our sleeping quarters for the night. There were rumors that this hotel was to die for (and that it was eco-friendly), and I found myself excited to see where we would be staying the night. Assigned to the “Beach House,” my eyes grew wide as I saw my digs for the next two nights. A private pool, bar, outdoor kitchen, and air conditioned beds awaited us.
I was exhausted after traveling such a long day and immediately jumping into an activity, so it didn’t take long for me to climb into my luxurious bed and to think about what the next day would bring: yoga, surfing, sea turtles, and more delicious meals.
Have you ever made it to Central America? Where?
Thanks for IVY for sponsoring my time in Nicaragua.