Rancho Santana in Nicaragua


“You’re on the planet too. Why should James Bond have all the action, fun, money, and resort hotel living.”
― Paul Kyriazi, How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle: The Complete Seminar

When my best friend from high school came to visit us last week, they asked us to go to Rancho Santana with them. What a treat for us! We are country people at heart and usually choose inexpensive and funky places to stay, but we live on this planet, too! Honestly, why should James Bond have all the action, money, fun, and resort living?
Rancho Santana is a world-class resort and residential community on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. It was developed in 1997 and continues to provide first-class services to tourists and residents. 

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Airbnb Hospitality Around the World


“Whenever you go on a trip to visit foreign lands or distant places, remember that they are all someone’s home and backyard.”
― Vera Nazarian

If you follow my blog, you know that we are passionate travelers. However, the older we get, we find that our travels center more around Airbnbs. We used to be hostel and camper travelers and moved quickly from one location to another…but those days are gone. Now, we travel slowly centering our travels in an Airbnb for a week and take day trips from that location.

We love Airbnbs! They offer more space for less price, kitchens, and better amenities. They are generally in local neighborhoods, rather than tourist areas where the hotels are, so they are authentically fun. The property owners offer wonderful hospitality and since they live in the area, they can offer off-the-beaten track recommendations for restaurants and activities.  Plus, the wi-fi is free and fast.

We even thought we would sell our home on Ometepe Island and live in Airbnbs around the world like this couple...Airbnb: Retired Couple Travels World, Spends 1000 Nights in Airbnbs. 

Meanwhile, until we decide whether to make the BIG move, we are planning our next trip to Uruguay and Argentina…and of course centering our day trips around Airbnbs.

Some of our favorite Airbnbs around the world…

Cuenca, Ecuador. 

Juan’s place was in the center of the historic district of Cuenca. We were surrounded by gorgeous cathedral domes that lit up at night casting a blue hue into our windows. We ran out of propane for cooking, and Juan delivered a new bottle to us within an hour.

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The Best Water Therapy Resort on Ometepe Island


“The water doesn’t know how old you are.” ― Dara Torres

I’ve started water therapy exercises for my knee. I love the feeling of freedom walking in the water. Although we live on the beach and have a plunge pool, neither are suitable for water therapy exercises. We’ve been going to Moyogalpa to swim and exercise in the Hotel Nicaraus pool. Yesterday, they told us that they were going to drain the pool and repair it. Time to look for another pool close to our house.

Hotel La Punta is our new hot spot located a short five-minute drive from our house at Punta Jesus Maria.

img_1570The hotel recently opened, but it is the slow season. Today we had our own private resort.

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A Great Opportunity


“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

This is a great opportunity for the right people. If you are searching for a new lifestyle, this may be for you. Eleven years ago, my husband and I followed our dreams by answering an ad for a manager of a hospedaje on Ometepe Island. Although, managing a youth hostel was not our thing, it led us to revamp and rewire our lifestyles and we’ve never looked back.

The Corner House on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
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This job may be for YOU! Read on.

Come to the Other Side


 

 

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I’ve been in a bad mood lately. I ranted on Lonely Planet about the buzz word “eco-friendly” after I recommended Finca Mystica as an eco-friendly place to stay. A poster checked out my link to Finca Mystica and commented that Finca Mystica didn’t seem to be eco-friendly because it didn’t have composting toilets and solar power. I responded, “I am sure that you can find many eco-friendly locals who would be glad to let you use their outhouse and they may even throw in a cheap chicken coop for your eco-friendly visit.”

Not very nice of me. I attribute my bad mood to the motorcycle accident we had on the way up the steep, rocky road to Finca Mystica. Our bike stalled halfway up their driveway. Ron always told me not to put my feet down…and I listened like a good rider. The bike tipped over and I landed in a pile of rocks. Fortunately, I landed on the fattest part of my body, so no broken bones. Unfortunately, I have a gigantic bruise on my backside in an array of colors.

Poor me! Ron is rolling his eyes as I write. “Always get back on the horse,” he said. “Maybe someday, but never to the other side of the island again,” I threatened. The road was recently paved to Balgue, but not to Mérida, where Finca Mystica is located. As soon as we took the Y in the road to the right and the pavement ended, I knew I was in trouble. “Just let me walk,” I pleaded as we bumped and swerved to miss the rocks springing up like weapons of mass destruction planted to warn eco-friendly tourists that paradise comes with sacrifice.

Finca Mystica is a beautiful place. Ryan and Angie were awesome hosts, but my visit was tainted with my fear of getting back on the horse to get to the other side of the island the next day. I refused. Norman, their local taxi driver shuttles people back and forth three times a day. “How do you travel this road three times a day, Norman? Don’t you get shaken baby syndrome from the constant rattling and jostling? How long does it take you to make one round trip? How many tires do you have to replace in a week?”

I discovered the answers to my questions when Norman took me home the next day. I left with Norman at 8:30 am and he dropped me off at a friend’s house in Mérida. We spent a few pleasant hours visiting, walked to a restaurant and ate delicious grilled fish, then Norman picked me up at the restaurant to deliver me in comfort…or so I thought… home. Just a few minutes away from the restaurant, my stomach began to gurgle. “Hmmm,” I thought. “I hope I don’t have to find a bathroom quickly.”

Every bump in the road caused me to panic. Not only was I worried about my stomach cramps, I was sitting on my swollen and bruised butt. “Norman, how long will it take us to get to La Paloma?” I asked with trepidation. He said that we should be there in about an hour. First, we had to stop and look at a piece of land for sale in Mérida. A new friend of mine wanted to see the land before Norman dropped her off in Balgue. I sat impatiently in the car for 30 minutes listening to my stomach rumble and groaned with each impending stomach cramp.

An hour later, after getting lost, picking up several passengers and dropping them off in Santo Domingo, we were finally on our way to the other side of the island…home, sweet, home.  I sighed in relief, until a fellow walking along the side of the road whistled at us to stop. A flat tire! I jumped out of the car and rushed to the closest bathroom, which happened to be a little cement cubicle at the tire repair guy’s house. It wasn’t an eco-friendly outhouse. Thank God for a flush toilet! But, there was no water in the tank.

Ten minutes later, I sheepishly exited the cement block enclosure, thanked the family gathered around the cubicle, and prayed that they would put water in the tank to flush it without looking at the contents. I heard them laughing as we pulled away with the newly inflated tire. Near the La Paloma airport, my cramps intensified. “I can hold on,” I told myself. “We’re almost home.” And then came the ominous hissing. Another flat tire.

“Norman, I can walk home from here,” I said. “No,” he replied like a Sandinista soldier firing an order, ” I will fix the tire and take you to your house!” With no bathroom in sight, I hastily made my way to a sparsely clad bush vacated by twin calves….a very eco-friendly move.  Another 30 minutes passed, along with much grunting and groaning and we were finally home. Ron was waiting for me at the door. Rushing to our flush toilet, I gave thanks for running water and a plump cushion of fat that protected me from a disastrous trip to the other side of our eco-friendly island. Come to the other side? It will be a long time or at least until the road is paved before I make that trip again!

 

Exploring Hotel Granada


Ron and I always stayed at Bobby’s house when we went in Granada. However, when we went to Granada for Bobby’s wake, we knew it was time to explore another part of town. The memories of Bobby’s house are too fresh, every street reminded me of him.

This time, we explored the area around the lake. Hotel Granada was a block from our bed and breakfast. Ron was particularly interested in visiting the swimming pool. A retired swim coach always investigates the pools! For $7 a day, one can swim in their Olympic sized salt water pool. It was magnificent.

Hotel Granada is an old colonial fortress in the historical center of the city. Although the cheapest room is $75 per night, it was too expensive for two retired teachers on a fixed income. Maybe someday, for a very special occasion, we can spring for a night.

For your enjoyment, take a walk with us through this amazing hotel and convention center.

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