Globe Trekker

Costa Rica & Nicaragua

Neil Gibson travels to Central America, where he visits two contrasting countries; Costa Rica, one of the most affluent lands in Latin America, and Nicaragua, better known for it’s volatile politics.

Neil Gibson hiking amongst the clouds

His journey begins in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, where he gets caught up in election fever and after sampling some traditional recipes in a Boca bar, he goes out to dance the night away at a Merengue club. Whilst in this area, he also visits a volunteer group who are trying to combat the problem of poverty that still exists on the outskirts of San Jose.

From San Jose, Neil hooks up with a Harley tour, and cruises up to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It’s a haven for wildlife boasting the largest number of different bird species in the world. Here Neil has close encounters with rare birds, tarantulas, & deadly snakes, before arriving at Volcan Arenal where he relaxes in the mystical atmosphere of the hot volcanic springs.

Heading West to Liberia, Neil plays at being a cowboy and goes to a bull fiesta, where his Scottish charm lands him with the honour of dancing with the Rodeo Queen. From Liberia, Neil heads South to rest up on the Pacific Coast in Montezuma, a popular traveller’s hangout. Later, Neil meets up with Victor, the crocodile man who introduces him to the beasts at very close range.

The next leg of his journey takes Neil over the border by boat into Nicaragua. His first stop is at the historic town of El Castillo, where Neil finds a guide and heads off to explore the surrounding jungle. Neil has to hunt for his dinner and ends up eating roasted rat around the campfire.

North of El Castillo is Lake Nicaragua. Neil travels across this Lake to the Solentiname archipelago, and stops off at the Island of Mancarron, where he learns about the roles thatTasting the wares: a visit to the cigar factory in Granada people played during the revolution in Nicaragua. On Sunday afternoon, Neil plays baseball and as part of the winning team he celebrates with rum which is brewed locally and fermented in human excrement. Whilst on the island, Neil also investigates the local art scene and learns how the Island’s turbulent history has influenced the art produced.

Travelling across from the Soletiname Archipelago, Neil reaches Granada where he visits a cigar factory and learns to roll his own. From here he hitches to Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. Neil explores this city which was devastated by an earthquake in 1972, and discovers that getting about is not easy, because many streets do not have names, and people use buildings that are no longer standing as reference points. Neil finds a guide and takes to the road with a biker who shows him the sights and sounds of Managua’s night life.

On a more serious note, Neil also visits the Heroes & Martyrs Museum, and Peace Park, which brings home the realities of decades of fighting, in a war where over 30, 000 died.

Neil hitches a lift to Diramba, where the annual religious festival was taking place. After joining in with the colourful festivities, he journeys to the serene landscape of Volcan Masaya. It’s a four hour trek to the crater’s edge, known by the Indians as the land of the Gods, and known by the Spanish as the mouth of Hell. It is here in this dramatic landscape that Neil ends his adventure through Central America.