Naked Tiger Hostel in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

rsz_san_juan_del_sur_1

The Naked Tiger Hostel is located a couple of kilometers outside of San Juan del Sur proper and is up on a hill for some crazy good views. If you’re looking for a smallish hostel with a party vibe, TNTH is the place for you!

From the moment the free shuttle picks you up from Barrio Cafe, The Naked Tiger makes it easy for you to have a good time. You get a welcome beer upon arrival and there are various happy hours to help you keep it going (sunset happy hour, power hour from 8-9a, bloody Mary morning happy hours, etc). The music is pumping and there’s always a sense of conviviality in the air. Every room has an ocean-view and there are awesome murals and backpacker provided art all over the place.

If you like your hostel to be a bit more chill, TNTH has you covered there, too. During the day, the scene around the pool is pretty relaxed so grab a beer, order some food from the kitchen, and hang out long enough to watch the sunset.

Services Offered:

Free wifi and computers

Free coffee from 8a-12p

Free shuttle service to and from town

Laundry service

Book exchange

TV lounge with games and movies

Pool with a view

Daily excursions and surf reports

Address: Located just before entering San Juan del Sur at KM marker 138

Phone: (505) 8621 4738 or (505) 8490 5648

Email: info@nakedtigerhostel.com

Website: www.nakedtigerhostel.com

Prices: $10 for a dorm room; $5 for a hammock or couch. Prices may vary during holidays and high season.

This post was sponsored by The Naked Tiger Hostel.

Advertisements

Hotel Casa Barcelona in Granada, Nicaragua

Hotel Casa Barcelona - Granada, Nicaragua

Ah, Hotel Casa Barcelona! What a gem!  I really did not know what I would find in Granada, Nicaragua. Would it be nice? Dirty? Safe? Dangerous? Tranquil? Busy? What I ended up finding (a little to my surprise) was an exceptionally amazing place perfect for resting, relaxing and taking in the true beauty of Nicaragua. Immediately when I arrived I was greeted by two amazing women who offered me a drink (which I gladly accepted). “How was your trip?” “Did you find it here okay?”, they asked. We talked for a while as I told them about my recent travels and as they told me the story about Hotel Casa Barcelona. “It is meant to feel like home,” one of the women said. As I settled in to my cozy room surrounded by amazing gardens, I indeed began to feel at home.

My time at Hotel Casa Barcelona was short and, therefore, I don’t have many experiences to tell. To be quite honest, I spent my night there sleeping, watching TV (at the time, I had not watched TV in over a month), and soaking in the beauty of the garden. While I did not get the chance to try it, their dinner menu (located in each room) is fairly expansive, and the food is both fairly priced and very delicious looking. I did get a chance to try some different, fresh squeezed juices and they were positively delicious!

The next morning I had to catch a very early bus but even in one short night, I truly felt at home. It was a much-needed break from the life of backpacking and I would highly recommend Hotel Casa Barcelona in Granada, Nicaragua to any person looking for a piece of home while traveling abroad.

Services:

Free tourist information.

Beautiful gardens.

Dinner/food available for purchase.

Lockers provided in dorms. Secure outside gate.

Recommended for:

Those wishing to relax/revitalize.

Couples.

Older travelers (they have great beds!)

CONTACT INFO:

Website: http://www.hotelcasabarcelona.com/

Phone: (505) 2552 7438 – Cellular: (505) 8880 4075

Email: info@hotelcasabarcelona.com

Location:  Hotel Casa Barcelona is located in a small residential area of Granada. No matter where you are coming from, you’ll want to go to the center of town and find the Mercado. Because the hotel is in a residential area, it can be a bit hard even though it’s only about five minutes from the Mercado. If you have problems finding it, just ask someone where (most locals know where a lot of hotels/hostels are and will be able to help you with ease). Staying in residential neighborhoods can sometimes be scary or confusing, but the neighborhood of Hotel Casa Barcelona is very nice and secure and the people are all very friendly.

When taking a taxi around or out of Granada, it is cheapest to obtain a taxi yourself. For example, taking the taxi in connection with the hotel to the bus station costs about $5 whereas a taxi caught and taken by yourself costs about $.50.

Image

My room.  Beautiful and very homey!

Image

Outside of the rooms.

Image

Lock…safe and secure!

Image

Double room.  Love the towel swans!

Image

Another double room!

Image

Dorms.  Definitely not your typical dorm!

We end where we began?

The beginning

Summing up La Aventura Project in one post has left us here staring at a blank page for weeks now.  The same questions run through our heads: “What did we do?” and, “What did we accomplish?”  The jump back into life in the USA was quick, and we were immediately left with little time outside of work, back to normal US life.  The world we came from was stuck in the backs of our minds, left to dwell in occasional yearnings and stories misunderstood by their listeners.  When I have a street food craving at 11pm there is no friendly woman selling tortillas across the street.  Saddening, but it’s also nice to have a kitchen.

Here is a quick list of answers to some of the more popular questions we have been getting from friends and family:
Yes, they did in fact have electricity in Latin America.
Yes, we got sick a few times from the food.  But it was all delicious and we don’t regret trying everything!
No, we did not notice any drug cartel activity.
No, we don’t plan on settling down now or buying a house or anything like that.

Trying to make a list of our accomplishments sounded corny but I did it anyways to brag a little bit:
Learned Spanish to an intermediate level in which we could have decent conversations.
Traveled to 10 countries without flying.
Got engaged!
Learned much more about Latin American history than we did at school, more than most North Americans know.
Hiked the Inca Trail.
Built our blog into a resource for other travelers.

Regrets:  I wish we could have done more volunteering, but maybe you could say that we were more like scouts, examining the playing field.  We did have two stays at WWOOF farms, one in Colombia and another in Ecuador.  It would be fun to check out some more WWOOF farms in Central America someday.

The travel at first was much easier than I expected.  The roads were paved and the buses as nice as the Megabus that we took in the United States.  But as we entered Bolivia our luck was about the change.  It was there that we experienced transportation strikes and washed out highways.  Bolivia was by far the most “out there” country we visited.

La Aventura Project started as a film project and a longing to escape from it all.  Along the way we wrote more and more and eventually were able to use the website to make the adventure last longer.  We passed through phases of preferring writing over filming and vis-a-versa.  Near the end we really dreaded the thought of returning to the grind of working class society.  Here everyone makes little problems seem like the end of the world.  There there were real problems.

The future: We will continue adding to the website and will be posting hostel reviews by guest writes.  (More info if you are interested.)  Our goal is for the website to grow and continue as we start posting our travel tales from the States.  We’ll be beginning the US section of the website in September when we take a road trip across the northwest in the process of moving to California!  We’re also working hard to edit the documentary and we’ll post updates on that front as it gets done.

Ending where we began: So now we find ourselves in much the same place we were in when the seed of the idea for La Aventura Project began.  Making the most of the US and working hard to save money for future adventures.  Dreaming and trying to decide which continent to conquer next.  Asia?  Africa?  Europe?  South again to finally make it all the way to Patagonia?  We have no idea where we should go, but luckily we have awhile to decide as we work to replenish our bank accounts.  The only sure thing is that we can’t stay here for too long, so una nueva aventura is unquestionably on the horizon.

“There is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” -Christopher McCandless

Chau chicos.

The Final Superlatives

We’re still working on a big, cleverly and intelligently written sum-up of the whole darn adventure.  It’s hard though!  It is coming soon, but for now enjoy the final edition of our La Aventura Project superlatives!

Days in South and Central America: 217

Dollars Spent: $10,586.14

Average Dollars per day: $70.45

Countries Visited: 10

Books Read: 22 (Carrie), lost track (Zach)

Doctor visits: 1 (Zach), 0 (Carrie)

Things We Lost: More random stuff than we remember

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), pupusas (Carrie)

Favorite Beverage: Colombian coffee, Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia, and Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua

Best Wildlife Sighting: dolphins on the cruise from Panamá to Colombia

Nicest People: Colombians and Salvadorans

Most Touristy Countries: Perú and Guatemala

Most American Retirees: Panamá

Scariest/Coolest Experience: the eruption of Tungurahua Volcano

Most Liver Damage: Loki Hostel

Biggest Personal Changes: dreadlocks and eating meat (Carrie), actually speaking a second language (Zach)

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Sobering Site: civil war museum in Perquín, El Salvador

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Sweatiest We’ve Ever Been in Our Lives: Nicaragua

Most Expensive Country/Most Fast Food Places: Costa Rica

Most Breeds of Potatoes: Perú

Best Shopping: Panajachel, Nicaragua

Creepiest Hotel: the Auto Hotel in Sonsonate, El Salvador

Favorite Country in Central America: El Salvador

Favorite Country Overall: Ecuador!!!!!!!!!!!!

Write for La Aventura Project/Stay in hostels for free

A big announcement today, everyone!  Since we are back in the US now, working real jobs again (boo) and editing the documentary, we don’t have as much to post here!  Thus, we are looking for current travelers in South or Central America to write hostel reviews for us and keep our directory growing!  If you are a good writer (in English), good photographer, and would like to stay in hostels and hotels for FREE, please contact us about an opportunity to write for our website.  We will also gladly feature a link to your own personal blog or website on all of your hostel reviews.  Again, we are only looking for travelers currently in South or Central America to review hostels in those regions.  Leave a comment or email us at laaventuraproject AT gmail DOT com if you are interested in more information about this awesome project!

Steve’s Mind=Blown

Remember our friend Steve who joined us for our adventuring in Nicaragua?  Now he’s back with a summary of his first major travel experience!

Steve

Its been exactly two weeks now since my return to the states from my 10-day journey to Nicaragua. The experience there was surreal and still very difficult put into words. “Amazing” doesn’t even come close to describing what I want to express. As I wrote pre-trip many people were very excited for me and said things like, “I’ve always wanted to do something like that.” Unfortunately, many others were terrified for my health and safety, asking why would I want to go there? I would simply reply my favorite way, “Why not?” That’s not saying thatI was jumping in head first, blindfolded, and with my hands tied behind my back, hoping for the best. Some people are just too constricted by the word “WHY!” I’m sure everyone knows some of those people, because they outnumber people like Zach, Carrie, and me. They use the question “Why?” to tie themselves to an idea of life that amounts to slowly rotting away all the while complaining about how much life sucks. I actually find it hilarious and aggravating when one of those people tell me how lucky I am to be able to travel. I just want to shake them and yell, “Luck has nothing to do with it, it’s called making a choice!”

The trip in general is probably the best experience I’ve ever had. The only way I can try and describe it is like the personal change that occurs when you leave home for college and discover yourself. When suddenly instead of your ideas and knowledge being shaped by what others tell you, they begin to come from your own experiences. I came to Nicaragua from this place (the USA) where all anyone tells you is what bad things are going to happen you, and I ended up having the time of my life. That was the result of a mix between doing awesome things and being there with amazing friends! Everything is so much different in Nicaragua, but not in a bad way like many people believe. I can understand how many people, if they go without an open mind, may see it differently, but for me it was perfect. We stayed in several hostels, and I discovered I actually prefer them to the hotels we have in the states. Besides being an inexpensive place to stay, it was awesome meeting and talking to people from all over the world!

It was as if I found a part of me I didn’t know was missing, and it awoke this amazing something inside me that gives life a WHOLE new flavor. Part of me feels like I still haven’t returned home, but not in a bad way. The best way to describe it like getting lost in your favorite book that takes you on this adventure to a whole new world. One where the last page leaves you sad because BOOM, you’re back in reality and the story’s over. You’re left wishing it was real and that you could stay in the world of the book. The part that makes it most amazing is when you realize that it all was real, and you really were the main character in all the adventures that you had. This realization keeps looping in my mind and has left me with this “head in the clouds” feeling, even now, two weeks later. I’m very anxious to experience the next “book”, and fantasizing about future travels has preoccupied my thoughts ever since returning.

I’ve definitely caught the travel bug, but I’m not sure how someone could go out into the world like that and not catch it. Some said that my trip was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” but I prefer to agree with what someone else said in response: “Not for Steve, that was just the beginning!”

Nicaragua Financial Summary

Total Money Spent: $504.66

Total Days Spent: 12

That comes to $42.16 per day or $21.13 per person per day.  So we were again over our $15 per person per day budget, but this is because we splurged on a lot more activities than normal when Steve was here, and we bought one super-expensive bus ticket.

Transportation was our biggest expense, but this includes the $70 we spent for a cross-border bus from Nicaragua, through Honduras, and into El Salvador at the end of our time.  Take that away and the number would be lower.  Local “chicken buses” are really cheap in Nicaragua, around $2 per hour of travel.

Activities were the second-most-expensive category, which is rare for us.  But we had a friend traveling with us and wanted to show him lots of adventures.  So this included volcano boarding, surfing, and ziplining!  All really fun and really worth it!

Lodging was next to nothing again.  We only paid for a hostel one night with all the review-writing opportunities we were offered!

Nicaragua’s currency is the Cordoba.  $1=23 Cordobas.