León to Managua

Z Leon to Managua
First a little hostel story:
Punche de oro seemed too good to be true! A really friendly guy took me to a private room with bathroom (including towel, toilet paper roll and soap) and gave me his WhatsApp so I could message him the next day when I wanted breakfast. All for roughly $5 USD!

Then a little later, he came back and said “sooo sorry, I mixed things up. You’re meant to stay in the dorm. I’ll show you.” It ended up being a small room with four beds crammed into it, and the bathroom was far away and didn’t even have a sink. “But if you pay 5 extra, you can stay in the private room,” he said with a smile.

I said the dorm was fine, and his smile faded. After that, I felt he was not as nice anymore, and when I woke up the next morning and texted that breakfast at 9:30 would be great, he was half an hour late, and it was just three dry slices of toast and coffee.
I don’t even drink coffee.
boring breakfast
I don’t want to be too negative though. If it was a strategy from his side (I mean surely he knows the prices for his different rooms), I understand his disappointment when it failed. And it was still really cheap for a room where I ended up being the only guest.

Punche de Oro is alright, but perhaps spending half a dollar extra to live more centrally is worth it, and get your own breakfast elsewhere.

Leon
The laundry I had washed the previous night was still wet, so I was allowed to leave it and my other things at the hostel while I explored the city a little. First I had to walk roughly two kilometers on a straight street like shown above.

bus truck
You can walk or take one of these trucks that act like buses in the city, 4-5 Córdobas (barely $0.2 USD) per trip. They are often so packed that you feel like a tuna in a tuna can.

The cathedral is the main thing to see in León, and I wanted to go in and see the view from the roof (apparently you can do that), but it didn’t open until 2pm, so I missed it.
catedral de leon
I walked around a little more, but to be honest, this city is nothing special. I’ve heard that Granada is another similar city nearby that is much more interesting. I went back to the hostel to pick up my finally dry clothes and left for Managua.

van to managua
Took a truck to the bus terminal and then left León in a van for $61 Córdobas. Almost two hours later, I had reached the end of my Grand Central American Adventure.

Because I sold my bike a little earlier than planned, I now have four days to kill around Managua before leaving by plane.

I will tell more about that in my final update to this blog.

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El Cuco to León

Y El Cuco to Leon
I feel naked.

As I was biking through El Cuco this morning, a bunch of guys said “nice bike!” and I took the opportunity to ask if they wanted to buy it.

I suggested $70 USD, as I actually really wanted to get rid of it. I also wanted to include my pump, padlock, spare tire and repair tools in the deal, since I’d have no use for it anymore. But they were a tough crowd (probably more experienced businessmen than I), and my bus was about to leave, so after a bit of haggling, I accepted $50 for the bike but kept the rest of the stuff.
rip bike
I hope to get at least $10 dollars for my remaining bike stuff later somewhere. Throwing it away seems dumb, and no way I’d give it to those guys, even though they tried to get their hands on them for free after the deal was done.

I think I could have done better with the haggling, but getting back half of what I paid for the bike still seems okay. With this, I should have enough cash for my final week in Central America! No more Western Union! \o/

Bus from El CucoAt 8:30, I took the bus from El Cuco to San Miguel, arrived at 10:00 and immediately left with the next bus to Santa Rosa. Got there an hour later, and once again switched bus very quickly to reach the Honduran border. Three hours of travel time, $3 in total.

To be fair, El Salvador seems very bikeable. Flat roads, not very far between cities. Would have been nice if I were not already tired of this biking thing!

pupusa
The goal of the day was to reach as far as possible towards my final destination, which is Managua, Nicaragua. It was not yet noon, and I took a break at an eatery by the border to have my first and only authentic El Salvadorian pupusa for $1. It was okay I guess.

imigration honduras
So far on my trip, there has barely been any lines at all when crossing borders, but now they felt endless. Definitely another advantage of biking and not arriving at the same time as a lot of buses. Had to pay $3 once again to enter Honduras.

I got through the customs at 12:20, and this time I wasn’t to lucky with the timing: The next minivan leaving for Guasaule by the Nicaraguan border didn’t leave for another hour! I was not in a hurry though, and sat down in the shade to read.

Amatillo - Guasaule
The trip in the van was $6 USD, was long and uncomfortable. My leg particularly was hurting more and more, as we made no stops and I couldn’t stretch it once during the 2.5 hour drive.

Endless line of trucks
This does not seem to be a touristic border crossing. Mostly tons of trucks that we could luckily pass.

It was very nice to finally get off! Then I was attacked by loads of people wanting to drive me to the supposedly impossible distance to the border, but it’s just 400 meters and a nice little walk. Don’t get fooled!

Exiting Honduras was fast, but entering Nicaragua is a little more complicated. Lots of forms and receipts I need to keep, and there’s also a $12 USD fee! I didn’t have smaller bills than a ten and a five, and he told me he only had $2 to change. Hard to believe that the entire office was out of one dollar bills, but I didn’t want to make a fuzz, and agreed to pay $13 instead.

wild west
The small town on the other side of the border was like coming to the wild west! Ducks and chickens running around, people getting around by horse. An old lady had her boobs hanging out.
wild west horses
So many horses! Felt like a big contrast compared to other places I’ve been recently.

I got on the bus, but it didn’t depart until an hour later, at 6pm. And when I arrived in León two hours later, it was already dark outside. Also, the terminal was four kilometers from the hostel I had looked up online.  If only I had a bike, it would have been no problem, but now, I had to catch a taxi, another $2 spent.

All in all probably my most expensive day on my trip:
– Buses from El Cuco to the border, $3
– Enter Honduras, $3
– Minivan to next border, $6
– Enter Nicaragua, $13
– Bus to León, $2
– Taxi to hostel, $2
$29 US dollars excluding food!!

That’s what happens when being in three countries the same day, I guess.

At least the hostel, Punche de Oro, is really cheap. $5.5 per night, including breakfast! The guy working tonight was really friendly as well.
We’ll see tomorrow if it’s a good breakfast or not.

laundry
Before going to bed, I did manual laundry. I’m new at this, so I hope the clothes won’t stink tomorrow.