Moving from place to place throughout our journey often required one or two or more different bus rides, which often can be kind of stressful. Many travelers we met along the way had horror stories of missed busses, being robbed on buses, taxi drivers not taking them where they want to go, you name it. Fortunately, Zak and I had great luck and almost all of our travels went incredibly smoothly.
From León, we traveled northward to a tiny little town on the coast called Jiquilillo (hee-key-lee-yo) upon a recommendation from one of Zak’s friends who had recently traveled in Nicaragua. Along the way, we experienced probably our least luckiest travel day, and it wasn’t even that bad. We had to take a bus from León to a small city called Chinandega, where we had to take a cab to a different bus to station to get the bus to Jiquilillo. Because we hadn’t carefully checked the bus schedule before leaving León, we missed the bus from Chinandega to Jiquilillo by about ten minutes, and the next one wasn’t for at least another three hours. On a whim, we got on a different bus that took us about ten minutes north of Chinandega, to an old baseball field/park. After much deliberation and difficulty understanding the bus drivers, we learned that if we kept walking straight on the road we were on that it would eventually lead to Jiquilillo. So, that is precisely what we did. After about twenty minutes of walking in the heat, someone kindly stopped and let us hitch a ride with them in the back of their pickup, which contained about ten other Nicaraguans. Add us and our backpacks in there, and it was pretty cramped. One of the little boys had a tiny puppy curled up in his shirt, which I thought was the cutest thing ever. In the truck, we were able to pass the bus that we had just missed, and the drivers kindly dropped us off right at the bus stop, as they were not going all the way to Jiquilillo. The bus pulled up right after we got dropped off, and we were on our way. Our unluckiest travel day turned out not to be so bad in the long run.
Its surprising to me that Jiquilillo is even on the map. There are a few cart vendors selling chips and cold drinks, one tiny market and a restaurant that is run right out of a family’s own personal kitchen. There are a few places to stay, but I would hardly call them resorts. Children and chickens run all over the dirt road and it seems that most people there are fisherman for a living. We stayed at a place called Rancho Esperanza, which I would highly recommend. They have a dorm, but also several private huts, which we stayed in. There are family style lunches and dinners, which always have a vegetarian option. They have surfboards available for rent, hammocks by the beach, and a cute puppy named Yogi. Everyone staying there was super friendly, and it was fun to hang out with other travelers for a few days while soaking in the sun and surf and reading a lot. We enjoyed spectacular Pacific Coast sunsets every night, long walks on the beach, some frisbee and morning runs. It was a super relaxing environment, definitely different from anywhere else we had been or would go. After three nights and four days, we got back on the chicken bus in order to head to Granada for new adventures.