Hola! from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Double rainbow welcomes us to Nicaragua

First, I would like to thank Kathy McCullough for so kindly filling in and sharing such a wonderful blog Thursday on Lake Superior Spirit while I was traveling.  Kathy, I really appreciate your wonderful heart and spirit and words so much.  It’s been a treasure to discover your blog Reinventing the Event Horizon

Readers, I want to hug each and every one of you who welcomed her so warmly!  You guys are the best!  (I even found some of you in my suitcase when we landed the other day.  So glad to have you with us here in Nicaragua!)

Horse, cart, man between Managua and San Juan del Sur

Yes, yes, you’ve now heard the Secret Destination.

We are in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

My nephew, Tim, and his fiance, Natalie, are getting married here this afternoon. (Natalie is a dual citizen of the US and Nicaragua.  The lovebirds met at Michigan State University a few years ago.  They are truly the sweetest young people who you can imagine–so much in love.)

Travelers pause

Of course, so many of our immediate family seized the opportunity to join them for their “Destination Wedding.”  I am sharing a “casa” with my mom and dad, here at the luxury Pelican Eyes Resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  My brother, Scot, and his daughter, Tianna, are here.  So, of course is my brother, Tim and his wife, Michele, and their sons–one who is young Tim, the groom-to-be.

Michele’s parents are here, too, and some of their friends.

Have you memorized all the family names and connections?  There will be a quiz.

Overlooking San Juan del Sur from our casa

My parents and I drove from Fort Myers Beach to the Miami Airport on Thursday through the Everglades.  We only witnessed two crazy drivers.  We didn’t get lost.  We followed Google-maps to our destination, although we missed the Economy Park-n-Ride and parked in the Dolphin garage instead.

We met many of the wedding-goers who had flown down from Detroit. 

We flew to Nicaragua, sampling a chocolate caramel brought by my brother, Scot.

Our veranda in the late afternoon sun

We disembarked in Managua and transported south to San Juan del Sur in mini-buses.  We will tell stories of this bus ride for the rest of our life.  How the drivers really didn’t speak much English in our bus and none of us were fluent in Spanish.  How some of us needed to use a bathroom and required communication desperately.  I must take credit for remembering the word “bano”.  The driver still looked confused.  Finally I pointed to the woods and said, “el arbol!!  el arbol!!”  (That means tree.)  The driver and his side-kick grinned.  They pulled over.  The trees worked, and the driver’s side-kick joined in the bathroom break.

They also kept telling us we would arrive in “twenty minutes”.  Twenty minutes, twenty minutes!  Three hours later we pulled into our little town by the sea.  It was a grand joke.

No flowers in Michigan in January...

Some of us weren’t prepared for the poverty along the highway and through the countryside.  Nicaragua still very much seems like a Third World nation in many ways–although my view is still too limited to discern much about the country.  Horses pull carts; cars and buses careen madly through bumpy streets filled with men, women, children and sleeping dogs.

Land of palm trees and flowers

In the midst of so much poverty, we sleep in a small villa–called a casa–in a gated luxury resort.  The “gate” involves a chain stretched across the road; a man with mobile telephone unhooks the chain as we jerk upwards in our van attempting to avoid potholes.

Petals in bowl welcome travelers from distant lands

The resort features three wonderful pools (as you shall glimpse below).  Tropical flora and fauna surround us.  Vibrant colors gleam out of palm-tree enclaves. 

You must walk up 228 curving brick steps to reach our house.  Fortunately, you can telephone the front desk for a van to collect you and bring you down toward the lobby.

Our wedding party–which includes about 24 friends and family of the groom and 25-50 friends and family of the bride (according to rumor) is spread out throughout the large resort. 

We sleep within a curve’s length from the long pool that looks like it drops into the Pacific Ocean.

Jungle reds peek from canopy of lush tropical gardens

“It feels surreal,” my mom just said.

My dad just said, “This reminds me of walking in Hemingway’s shoes.”

How I love being here with my parents…

What kind of bird caws so loudly, startling us with tropical shrieks?

I am not a late-night party person.  I wouldn’t mind spending the rest of the vacation reading on the veranda, swimming in the pool, eating chicken nachos–OK, maybe having another pina colada with umbrella.

And now, for your viewing pleasure (and our swimming pleasure)...

Last night we attended a most lovely rehearsal dinner down at the local Italian restaurant.  Pizza, pasta and tira misu.  Yep, life doesn’t get much better.  Remember those five pounds I lost?  I think they’ve all returned.

Clouds in pool

Scot, Tianna and I stretched in a Zen Yoga class down in the town this morning.  This was a feat for yours truly, as my calves ache mightily from the long climbs up and down the 226 steps.   It was great fun, though.

Yesterday, Mom, Dad and I walked the broken cobbled streets of San Juan del Sur.  It is culturally a fascinating place.  It is nothing–let me repeat, nothing–like Michigan.  A security guard at the local bank wore a strapped gun and waved detectors over us before we entered.  

It’s good to stretch beyond our cultural preconceptions and proclivities.

Another pool at Pelican Eyes Resort

The Mayans once migrated through this area.  They did not live here permanently; they passed through like pelicans and parrots, lightly touching feet against the southern Nicaraguan soil before moving on. 

I feel their presence in the craggy hills surrounding our bay.

Would you like to dine by the pool near the tiki bar/restaurant?

This blog has taken me half the day to write.  Usually I blog in a half hour or so.  Today we’ve been so busy that I process the photos and write the sentences in increments.  A photo here; a sentence there.

I hope this makes sense!

Hundreds of bricks steps winding down, down, down...

Bowl of petals, palms, brick pathway

Fan of palm

It is almost time to get dressed in our wedding finery.  (I am wearing a blue dress, if it still fits.)

The wedding is in a small Catholic church in town.

Wishing you all the best, back there in the States and wherever else you might be today.  Hasta manana~~ con amor, Kathy

Oh look, who's in the pool with a pina colada? It's my niece, Tianna, and me. Nope, not in Michigan any more!

Now for your quiz.  Without looking back, what are the names of the bride and groom?  If you remember, pour yourself a pina colada!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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31 Responses to Hola! from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

  1. EL says:

    Amazing pictures! Would love to visit someday! The closest I’ve gotten was Costa Rica .. Thank you for sharing! Looks like you are having so much fun! Happy Travels! EL

  2. Karma says:

    Oh my goodness Kathy! Breathtaking beauty!!! I’m sure Ms. Rebel has forgiven you for any perceived neglect on her part. Wonderful and exciting (maybe a little anxious too? Nicaragua does have some reputation for being a dangerous place. Then again, so does New York City, I suppose, but I don’t let that stop me from visiting) I can’t wait to see more pictures! I do hope you get your family’s permission to post lots of wedding pictures.

  3. Oh my gosh Miss Kathy, you’re definitely not in Kansas any more! Fabulous photographs. I’m excited beyond words for you. Soak it all in (and drink a few in as well).

  4. xandimusic says:

    Great photos, like them, so beautiful!!!
    Greetings, peace and a nice travel

  5. What a lovely recounting of your activities. Of course, I am still on brick/step #26….so you’ll have to wait up.

    Congratulations to the bride and groom and if I remember correctly the groom is Tim and the bird is…Michelle….I don’t think I get the pina colada.

  6. Brenda Hardie says:

    Wow…beautiful! Hi Kathy! I suppose Tim and Natalie are married by now ♥ How wonderful for them to be able to have a destination wedding and how wonderful that so many loved ones are able to attend and share their special day. The pictures are amazing but my knees hurt when I think of all those steps!
    Thank you for thinking of us and having your friend Kathy visit in your absence. You are such a thoughtful friend 🙂 Kathy’s post was very interesting and her blog is jam packed with new and exciting things to read about. My heart still belongs to Lake Superior Spirit though ♥
    Enjoy your time there, say Hello to your Mom and Dad 🙂 and know that even though we are missing you here, we are so so so happy that you are experiencing such a wonderful adventure!

  7. Barbara says:

    Wow, what a gorgeous place! You must be having such a wonderful time. The photos are beautiful (and how lucky to see a double rainbow.) Just a little different than the UP. Enjoy!

  8. Celeste says:

    Have a wonderful time!

  9. Barb says:

    Kathy, Kathy! You and Tianna have made my day! Pina Colada’s with little umbrellas. Let the fantasy begin. Where there are tiny umbrellas for drinks there must be magic. (Lucky you have those 228 steps or you might not fit in the blue dress.) Happiness to the young couple. Enjoy the adventure.

  10. Jessica says:

    Wow! Hello Nicaragua! It’s nice to see you enjoying the vista and thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

  11. lisaspiral says:

    Enjoy the pina coladas don’t forget the sun screen. What great photos!

  12. It was my honor to fill in for you, dear Kathy.

    Your post made me laugh, as I think twenty minutes must be how long nationals tell foreigners the world over things will take–I’ve heard it everywhere from India to Vietnam. Too funny!

    Looks like you are enjoying yourselves! Happy wedding!


  13. Dawn says:

    Have fun!! I’m sure the wedding was beautiful. Hope the blue dress fit spectacularly! Loved ‘clouds in pool.” It’s all beautiful, but the poverty is something that is difficult to see. What an experience! You WILL have stories for years!

  14. Dana says:

    Oh, your post is giving me cramps, Kathy! I would love to be in Nicaragua right now, too! 🙂 These photos are so pretty and have me looking so forward to your post-trip, wrap-up entries. Enjoy the rest of your time on vacation!

  15. Sybil says:

    After I climbed out of your suitcase, I hung out on the veranda for a while, but when you didn’t appear, I went looking by the pool for you. Perhaps I’ll see you on the beach later …

  16. ceceliafutch says:

    Kathy, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!! San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua is one of my favorite places of all time!!!! I have even used your dad’s word to describe it . . . like walking into an Ernest Hemingway novel!!! Of course I was there back in the early 1990’s when life was not so good in Nica. We traveled throughout the country to see and talk to Sandinistas, support the poor, learn the culture, etc. for three weeks, but took one day for a vacations — to San Juan Del Sur! It wasn’t the resort then as it is today. Very primitive. Sandinista Revolution was over but still fighting in pockets in the mountains. In fact we were shot at at one point on a mountain road near Estali (spelling???). Anyway, our trip was intense and political, and San Juan was a haven of peace and tranquility in the midst of it all. I have always wanted to return. And I’ve been in the Catholic Church there. Wish I could remember the name of the place where we slept and ate . . . Right on the beach. In fact when the tide came in, the water lapped the roadside that passed in front of our hotel . . . and we had to go outside, down rickety stairs, to a communal outdoor bathroom with one toilet for us all . . . and it didn’t flush. In a gorgeous, lush, beautiful place like that, I remember the toilet. Too sad.

    Ohhh, I was so taken with your secret destination and so excited when I read it that almost forgot!……HAVE FUN! I can’t wait to see more photos and hear more stories. 🙂 This is absolutely awesome!

  17. Susan D. says:

    Wonderful descriptions and photos!! So glad you posted, dear lady. What a memorable experience to share with family. We are buried under snow here in our corner of the world … it’s lovely, but I’ll be thinking of that luscious pool later when I go out to excavate for signs of my car. Ha! Big hugs to you.

  18. Carol says:

    I look out my window and I see frosty ground with patches of frozen snow, a thermometer that says -1 and ice on the pond. I look out your window and I see, vibrance, fragrance, beckoning waters and warmth! Thank you, thank you for letting me look through your window!

  19. Marcie says:

    WOW….all of that warmth and color. Beautiful!

  20. Heather says:

    A double rainbow for your arrival surely bodes good things to come. Glad you’re having a great time and expanding your cultural horizons.
    I admit that I was not able to reward myself with a pina colada. 😦

  21. I could have climbed into your suitcase??????? *sigh* Wish I had known 😉
    It sounds like you’re having quite the adventure. And the resort…. WOW!!!

  22. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I saw your two posts come in earlier and have been saving them for a few quiet moments. Rick guessed this is where you might be going! He was there during his earlier, nautical days. Maybe it was wishful thinking on his part more than just a good guess. We have Canadian friends with a daughter and son-in-law living someplace close to where you are.

    Such a beautiful country, in so many unexpected ways. And those pina coladas look pretty inviting too! It sounds as if this is going to be a very special time for everyone!

  23. Kathy says:

    I have loved reading each and every one of your comments! (And my mom and dad did, too.) Thank you so very much. We are having an incredible vacation. This country is beautiful and rich in spirit. We are lucky to be welcomed so lovingly by so many people. It was a pleasure to share this with all of you–and there will be more photos to come! Love, Kathy

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  27. Enjoy!! Can’t wait to read more.

    The bus story is too funny! Those pictures are gorgeous.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh how fun that you stopped and read some of the Nicaragua stories, Lunar. Glad you liked the bus story, too. (I had to scroll up to see what I had written.) Oh there were some other REALLY funny bathroom stories that I couldn’t publish. Just thinking right now about the stories that DON’T end up in our blogs…

  28. Grace Nuzzi says:

    Hello! thank you for sharing your adventure with us, the photos are absolutely GORGEOUS! My fiancé and I are hoping to get married in a catholic church in nicaragua. Any information you could provide regarding how to start arranging this would be a HUGE help 🙂

    La paz,Grace

    • Kathy says:

      Grace, thank you for stopping by and enjoying the photos. Nicaragua was spectacular! We are still thinking about this magnificent experience four years later. Unfortunately, we were just guests at this wedding so we didn’t have any part in the planning. The bride’s parents were from nearby so they did much of the work. I would recommend this little Catholic church in San Juan del Sur, though. Good luck and hope you find someone to assist you! P.S. It’s four years later and the bride and groom are expecting their first little one next spring!

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