We were very much on the hunt for some signs of life for Christmas. It’s a time for family and being together so whilst we absolutely love remote camping spots, we decided this wasn’t the time of year for it. Also we didn’t want to be the ones cooking our Christmas dinner! With that in mind we pointed our compass towards Granada, an Antigua-esque colonial town. Whilst camp-spots were fairly limited we headed to the Red Cross, which we’d heard we could camp in their car park for a minimal fee.
Whilst this was all well and good in theory, when we pulled up we were literally attacked by swarms of flies! Also we weren’t convinced the Red Cross car park was going to be the banging party place we would meet people for Christmas, so we decided it was time to treat ourselves and headed to a hostal! This was harder than it sounded as a lot of them were still shut, but we did find Hostal Oasis with a bar, a pool, a pool table and real people! We spent 2 nights there and had a brilliant relaxing time without doing too much!
In our time in Granada we went to see the famous cathedral, sampled local bars with other travellers and also went for a bit of a treat. On our last day we went to a tapas bar we’d heard about, which was a little more than we’d normally spend but so so worth it! We enjoyed things we hadn’t had in ages, falafel, humus, and most importantly draft beer. Definitely money well spent.
It was the 21st of December and Oasis had a sister hostal called Paradiso, on Laguna De Apoyo. This place was absolutely stunning and better yet they allowed camping! Also the couple who were working the bar at our hostal were organising a Christmas dinner at the hostal on the lake, so we jumped at the chance. Pulling up we quickly realised we’d made a good decision. It was a beautiful lakefront setting, lovely cool temperatures for sleeping. The only thing is it was busy in the day, but only with day trippers so we didn’t meet too many people who’d be staying for Christmas. Also the dinner would be on the 24th as that’s the more traditional day to celebrate here – very strange!
As we had a few days in the run up we decided to go to a local tourist attraction – another volcano! We’d been a bit lazy recently with doing attractions and we realised we need to step our game up as it’s not like we’re going to get this opportunity again, so it’s important to take it while we can. Unlike Fuego in Guatemala, Volcan Masaya wasn’t famous for the regular eruptions. Rather, it is famous for the fact you can literally see right into the boiling pot of lava. It’s like a window into the centre of the earth and is so so fascinating. For the best effect you have to go at night and it’s a little more expensive, but it was worth it. Despite having to break the ‘no driving at night rule’ we were glad we’d done some good touristing, and it was on to Christmas (eve)!
On the morning we went for a little Christmas kayak in our santa hats which was a unique and dehydrating experience…. and then a group of people from Granada came to join us for Christmas (eve) day! Which essentially involved sitting on a floating dock and people doing beer rounds to and from the shore. We did this for hours until our group dinner was served up. We started with a broccoli soup, then had beef filet followed by a rum cake – the food was delicious! The beef was super succulent, and it softened the blow of not being home a little.
On Christmas morning we started the day slowly, after the included wine with dinner the previous night and the day of drinking beers… But eventually we got up and opened our bottle of sparkling wine we’d been saving. You have to celebrate! We did the customary phone calls which was tough for us as we’d love to have been at home, but then soaked in the atmosphere and remembered what a beautiful place we’d found ourselves in for Christmas day.
As beautiful as it was, this wasn’t where we were going to spend NYE. Mikey has a friend in Costa Rica who were heading to go and see and we thought boxing day would be a smart day to cross the border. I guess we’ll soon found out if it was the right choice!