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Map of Nicaragua








Oscar Sogandares

Part two

Next day I proceeded to Empresas Alfaro - Zona Norte bus terminal in the "Coca Cola" district. My original plan was to be there one day before (in other words - proceed today), and make my "base" of operations the town of Liberia in Guanacaste, a scant 50 miles from the border at Peñas Blancas. But due to the delays and the fact I did not have bus reservations, I was to proceed one day later. I simply reserved my tickets for the following day. So after some touring and sightseeing through San José, I retired early for the long haul was due early in the morning at 5:00 AM!

I got up early, packed and checked out of the hotel and proceeded into the cool, dark and fresh morning air of Chepe, along the streets of San José, where I finally waved a cab, which sped me to Empresas Alfaro, Zona Norte Terminal. At the terminal it became a matter of minutes when I was seated in the bus with an old Guanacasteco next to me. He was complaining that he just recently gotten some money from his luggage ripped-off. He was saying it didn't really matter (perhaps out of pride of disdain), since he had plenty of cash at home, where he was going to, etc. I hadn't really noticed until I glanced later on the bus, since he was wearing a felt stetson style hat, that he had an earlobe slashed. Probably a machete fight from his youth, most common in those regions. I didn't really pay further attention. I just settled in my seat and dozed off; while the the bus continued its inexorable trek across the cool Meseta Central, and the morning mist, through mountainous crevices, valleys and into the hot, dry, and grassy plains of La Zona Norte.

I had just woke up when my fellow traveler (the old Guanacasteco), had told me that we were at Cañas (I remembered vaguely having told him I was going to one of these towns in the North, without specifying). I was half-awake, half-asleep, when I got up out of my seat, assuming this was my stop, but too late! A bunch of people had already gotten on the bus and I had already lost my seat. That little old timer had played one on me. But it didn't really matter now, since we were rapidly approaching my destination. Plus it gave me a chance to truly appreciate the passing scenery. A pitch blue sky with occasional white, fleecy, puffy clouds. Perfect volcanic cones in the horizon, an old lady hanging her clothes into this hot, rapid-dry air; her multi-colored bed sheets flapping wildly on the clothesline, like banners in the wind! A bridge and a rocky gorge, a cool crystal clear stream below - like an oasis in this hot, dry savanna-land!

I could finally see the Hotel Espüelas (or Spurs) resort rapidly appearing in the distance, from my last trip many years ago (very popular with tourists). I definitely knew now we were nearing the intersection at Liberia, where the highway crosses the road coming in from the Nicoya peninsula, into the town of Liberia. I got off into this hot, dry, desolate, almost desertic grassland, which somehow reminded me of Arizona! I just got off at a gas station, where I could see tall trailer rigs lifting huge whirlwinds of dust - on route to Central America. I checked several hotels, including one with a swimming pool (Hotel Boyeros - for next time), very good for 3000 colones or $23.00, pretty good deal. But since I knew I wasn't staying for long at Liberia, I really only needed a place to store my excess luggage. I opted for a more economical one - Hotel Oriental for 1000 colones or just about $7.00.

I proceeded back to the intersection next to the gas station where I had previously gotten off. There I flagged a TICA-BUS which was driven by "El Macho" (simply meaning light complexion in Tico jargon). A friend of mine I had known years ago in Panama, and who immediately recognized me. I got on the bus without hesitation. Further ahead a Guardia Rural whom I had just seen walking along the roadside in Liberia, also got on. I recall him since he was wearing authentic US Army camouflage fatigues with nametag and all. Anyway he looked pretty much "fatigued" after walking in this hot, dry, baking sun.

Next to me was another rancher, this time en-route to Honduras. Well anyway we were finally approaching Peñas Blancas, where I noticed the terrain gradually change from dry grasslands to cool, moist, forested hills, where the giant watershed of Lake Nicaragua actually begins. It was noontime at the border.




| Foreword | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five |