Nicaragua, Photography, Travel

Nicaragua Day 3 – No Rush Tours


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Meet Ramon, owner of No Rush Tours in Granada.

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Through No Rush Tours, we had the opportunity to experience Granada and Masaya in an incredible way! We visited common tourist sites in Granada such as the oldest railroad station, the oldest house in Granada, the cemetery of Granada, and various churches.

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An old train station in Granada that has been transformed into a school.
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Children in class.
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The kids at this school learn trade skills such as cooking, hospitality, mechanics, and more.
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Some students working on an old train.
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The oldest house in Granada.

After our quick tour of Granada, we were off to Masaya, which means ‘land of the deer.’ The city of Masaya is known as the city of flowers (referring to the women), the city of folklores and city of handicrafts.

Our first stop in Masaya was a prison camp that acted as a torture chamber.

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Underground hallways leading to the different chambers where prisoners were held.
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This particular room is said to be one of the most haunted chambers in the camp. In fact, Ghost Hunters did an episode on this prison camp and identified this exact spot as reporting high levels of paranormal activity. Check out the episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myTeuv4JjJE
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The only source of light.

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Ramon showing us how prisoners were hung from their arms on the walls of this chamber.

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Dried blood on the walls from women who were once held as prisoners. These women were tortured in the most unimaginable way – They were given an anesthetic by a doctor so they would pass out. During this time, a veterinarian would do the same to a rat. The doctor would then insert the unconscious rat into the unconscious woman’s vagina and sew it shut with a small opening for the head of the rat to poke out. When the woman regains her consciousness, she would be told to reveal whatever information they were trying to get out of her, otherwise, something horrible would happen. But they wouldn’t tell her what exactly was inside her. When the rat gains consciousness, it begins tearing itself out of the vagina, hence the blood splatters on the wall.

Eery and depressing, I know. It was hard to shake off that feeling, but Ramon made us some delicious Macua (The national cocktail of Nicaragua, made with rum and fruit juices), and cheered us up for the rest of the tour.

Our next stop: Volcano Masaya!

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Volcano Masaya is an active volcano which last erupted in 1772.

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Volcanic rocks left over previous eruptions.
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Volcano Masaya
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Lava!! This was my first time seeing lava in real life, so it was a pretty exciting moment for me. While standing there, you could hear it bubbling below.

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Masaya continually emits large amounts of sulfur dioxide gas and volcanologists study this (amongst other signs) to better understand the behaviour of the volcano and also evaluate the impact of acid rain and the potential for health problems. We were told that we only had 5 minutes at the top of the crater to look below, because the gas was harmful to our health. We may have stayed a bit longer than that though, because a few minutes later, we were back in the van, coughing like crazy with painful, burning throats and chest. (but it was totally worth it! I saw lava!!!!!!)

Next, we were off to Laguna de Apoyo, a large crater formed from a previous volcanic eruption filled with water. We stopped at a lookout point first to see the crater from above and later drove down below to a resort by the shore we had lunch.

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Our last stop of the tour was the islets of Granada, where we met a local indigenous community – more on them here.

Lake Nicaragua is huge! Even though it is only about 1/2 hour from the Pacific, it drains into the Atlantic, and there is a unique species of sharks that swim up the river to spawn in the lake, having adapted to both fresh and salt water.  There is an cluster of small islands along the western shore near Grenada, formed by an exploding volcano, known as the islets of Granada. These islands are home to many groups of people, from local and indigenous communities, to foreigners.

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An egret looking for fish.

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View of the volcano from our boat in Lake Nicaragua.
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I don’t remember what bird this was, but if you anyone knows, please let me know in the comments below!! 
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A silhouetted Kingfisher
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We found a Canadian home on one of the islands! 
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A howler monkey

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We had so many incredible moments throughout our trip, but this day will always be one my most memorable ones – partly for the volcano and prison camp, and partly for the amazing children we met on the islets of Granada.

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