In Nicaragua, almost half the population sit below the poverty line, which is why Granada comes as a surprise. Its colonial-era riches stand strong in its architecture and a recent tourism boom has given rise to a high-end foodie culture and niche shops.
I wasn’t able to spend long enough in León. Nicaragua’s most northern city has long been respected as the country’s seat of intellectual and political challenge. A few days before I planned to cross the border, it started a new and important fight.
Waves draw people to this coastal town in southern Nicaragua. The remote beaches either side of San Juan Del Sur offer some of the best surf in the Americas. Although the town itself is also worth a day or two.
Rain clouds are gathering over Santa Ana’s main square. The cream facade of the gothic cathedral looms spookily against the dull sky. Below, a chaotic arrangement of food stall owners serve up curly fries, oblivious to the approaching storm.
I felt uncomfortable that my time in Guatemala, though wonderful, was influenced by a recent rise in robberies and attacks on tourists. Perhaps I ran a fine line between exercising caution and hindering my experience.
I was desperate to fall for Costa Rica. To feel the admiration for it that others held. To swoon about its nature, its people and its Puravida. However, as time went on I felt a niggling sense of disappointment.