Its getting HOT here, so my husband, Kharron, and I finally decided to try the “helados” (ice cream) that people sell out of their homes. The flavor choices today were passion fruit, cocoa, peanut butter, and coconut. I chose cocoa and Kharron got passion fruit. We were both pleasantly surprised by the abundance of flavor. Like a lot of the bagged food here, we bit a small hole in one of the bottom corners and squeezed out bites of the sweet, cool substance with our teeth. Conveniently there is a home selling these right around the corner from the office, and at $.20 each I think this is going to become a daily afternoon ritual.
I’ve been attempting to try a Choco Banana for weeks. There’s a place in town with a big sign and I’ve stopped there 3 times asking for a Choco Banana. Each time the woman sitting inside hollers back, “Mañana!” The first time we failed at this location we walked around town looking for another vendor, but were unsuccessful. It turns out, she is the only permanent vendor of the Choco Banana.
Today Kharron, one of his employees Dayana, and I headed over for a little afternoon pick me up and they were finally in stock. The first bite was amazing, the cold chocolate & almost frozen banana was refreshing on this sweltering day. But after a couple bites the joy of the chilly treat wore off and the texture of the smooshy banana mixed with the chocolate that stuck to the roof of your mouth took over. The chocolate wasn’t strong enough to satisfying my chocolate craving so we bought a Snickers bar to share.
With all this said, while here in San Juan del Sur, give the Choco Banana a try!
Azalea’s school had a “rainy season break” so we decided to make the best of it and took a long weekend trip to see Matagalpa and the famous coffee plantation & hotel, Selva Negra. We invited some new friends who seemed to have like minds, the same slightly twisted sense of humor, and kids with similar ages.
We left San Juan del Sur at 6am on Saturday, hoping to have a full day The 4 1/2 hour drive North was a little long, but breathtakingly beautiful. Rolling green hills and the sight of coffee beans drying.
We reached Selva Negra at 11am and decided to see if we could get an early check-in. With no problem at all we paid for our 2 nights upfront and were given 1 key to the 3 bedroom “bungalow” Grethel. We quickly unpacked and headed to the restaurant for lunch and some running around. We were all pleasantly surprised – the food was not only delicious, but also a reasonable price and there was a huge playground next to it that the kids loved!
For dinner we went into the town of Matagalpa and as suggested by a friend, we ate at the restaurant California Happy. It was really delicious! I think I’ll dream of my taco salad for the rest of my time in Nicaragua. We then went to Kiss Me for ice cream dessert. The decorations are insanely cute, but to be honest, we weren’t impressed with the ice cream or the service. Plus, our 4 year olds ordered “chocolate” but we were not told that it was actually chocolate cafe. I realized this only after licking a little off my daughters cone before it melted onto the floor. Luckily the coffee did not have an affect on our tired travelers and they went to bed with ease.
The next day both families went on a 30 minute horseback ride through some of the coffee bushes. It was a little scary with the little one’s because the horses loved to trot, but for some reason I couldn’t stop laughing. 30 minutes was the perfect amount of time.
Once back we quickly packed to go see Cascada Blanca. I read that there was an on-site restaurant, a cave, and place to swim, so we packed accordingly. Someone with kids had suggested it, and after doing some research it seemed doable with little ones. It was about a 30 minute drive from Selva Negra and was so worth it! We had a great afternoon exploring and could have definitely stayed longer if the toddlers didn’t need naps.
When we got back to Selva Negra we were all in need of a shower, but the water pressure in our bungalow was non existent in the shower. Our friend, Jason went up to the reception to ask if we could use another bungalow’s showers. The offer for us to move to another cabin and after checking out the 5 bedroom, 3 bath kid paradise, we decided it was worth the effort to move. Casa Bosche has a long hallway that the kids loved running up & down.
While moving our car loaded with all our stuff, my husband miscalculated the width of the driveway in the dark and one of the wheels of our car went off the edge. The men try to fix it that night, but decided it was a task better done in the daylight. With the help of a few Selva Negra employees and the winch on Jason’s SUV, our car made it to four wheel on ground safely.
After freeing our car and breakfast our friends got on the road to take advantage of their littlest’s nap time. Kharron used the Wifi in the restaurant to get some work done and after we did one last walk around the property to get some of the kids energy out. Selva Negra is truly beautiful and we look forward to another trip to the chilly mountains.
Azalea’s school, San Juan del Sur Day School, had an end of unit event on the same day that Nicaragua celebrates the Corn Queen. In honor a family had prepared atol for sale for only $C20 (less than $1). I got to watch as they put the pink mixture of pineapple, honey, & cinnamon on top of the warm, custard-like drink. Kharron thought it was so delicious, that I had to go buy a second cup!
Every time I passed by this stack of pre-bagged food, I thought it was some sort of empanada. I mean, it does say “queso” on each baggie. Today after picking up Titus from preschool, I finally ventured out and purchased one. While I waited to buy my C$15 ($.50) bag I notice the sugar glistening off the outside and my curiosity grew.
I untied the knot after getting Titus secure in his seat and offered him one. He seemed fairly pleased with his first bite, so I quickly hurled one into my mouth as I made my way around the car and into the driver seat. Pastry! It was delicious!
I saved some for Azalea after school and she quickly finished the bag, only leaving crumbs for Kharron to try. I will be buying these again.
We only plan on living in Nicaragua until around July next year. With our clock ticking down, I feel an internal pressure to check things off my Nica Bucket List so I decided I want to try something new each week. A lot of this will be eatable, but some are experiences or places.
This week we tried starfruit or carambola, but what Nicaraguans call melocotón (which is the actually the word for peach). Its commonly used in juice or eaten with sugar. It was very sour!