Day Thirteen: A Tour of Volcan Masaya, the Masaya Mercado, the villages of Pueblos Blancos and Lunch Overlooking the Laguna de Apoyo.

 

Our day began with a drive to Volcan Masaya. Here are some volcanic rocks along the way.

The main crater at Volcan Masaya is called Santiago.

The crater is 3 kilometers in circumference and 200 meters deep.

This cross was originally placed at the crater's mouth by Francisco de Bobadilla to protect against el diablo.

Chris checking out the view and smelling the sulfur.

The Nicaraguan people thought the eruption of the volcano was the end of the world. This is one of the many crosses placed here throughout history.

 

One of the other craters at Masaya volcano collapsed a few years ago and is now closed to the public.

Spooky....

 

The mouth of the beast... the beast is angry...

 

Chris got nearly engulfed by smoke.

 

Some views of the valley below the volcano, filled with lava rocks.

Some views of the valley below the volcano, filled with lava rocks.

This mural hangs in the reception area of the museum at Masaya volcano.

You see a LOT of this type of traffic jam in Central America. In Costa Rica, the main highway (Hwy 1) is only two lanes and has no dividers and people pass like crazy. On the dirt roads in Nicaragua, women and children with shovels, fill in pot holes with dirt on the side of the road, then walk up to cars for tips.

Kathy took this photo of a woman on the street.

 

The entrance to the Masaya Mercado looks like an old fort.

 

 

Inside the market, dancers practiced for a performance.

A little boy convinces his mom to buy him some cotton candy.

This beautiful mural is painted on a wall of the market.

Chris checks out the cheesy souvenirs, but buys nothing, he's very disciplined.

Nina, on the other hand, loves shopping for folk art and found a wonderful ceramic flute shaped like a lizard for her sister.

We bought both our lizard flute and a wooden mask from Patty. She was so nice, that she gave us a free Nicaraguan flag and key chain.

We visited the villages of San Juan de Oriente and Catarina, known as the Pueblos Blancos. The Pueblos Blancos are very colorful today, but they used to be all white. Years ago, colored paint was expensive so the locals painted their homes with lime. Also, the white coating was used to keep away the dark spirits.

 

 

San Juan de Oriente is known for its pottery. We watched a young boy make a perfect pot in a matter of minutes!

 

 

 

The kiln the boy uses to bake his pottery and the firewood needed to keep it running.

 

 

Chris and Nina check out the pottery.

Some modes of transport in the Pueblos Blancos.

 

 

Guys making baskets on the side of the road.

Catarina is known for its flower, shrub and tree nurseries. There are tons of flowers for sale in Catarina.

 

In addition to flowers, Catarina is known for it's incredible overlook view of the Laguna de Apoyo, a fresh water, volcanic crater, lake.

We stopped to eat in a restaurant with an incredible view of the lagoon.

Our guide for the day, Byron, learned English because his parents told him he had to do something productive with his free time as a child. They suggested art or music classes, but because he liked listening to American grunge and rock music, he decided to learn English. He speaks perfect English having never traveled to an English speaking country.

Chris enjoying his meal and some marimba music.

Nina loved this mural with little boys in front of the cathedral.

For our last night in Nicaragua, we went to the first anniversary party at Doņa Elba's Cigar Factory and Store.

The party took place in the courtyard.

A wonderful live band played great Latin music.

 

A slide show of pictures from the field and the factory played in the reception area.

Chris greatly enjoyed his free stogie.

The many guests sat in rocking chairs all around the courtyard.

It was a very good turn out!

Chris takes a photo of his precious cigars, which made it across the Costa Rica/Nicaragua border and flew back through customs into the USA!

 

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