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Thread: Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

  1. #1

    Default Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

    On Saturday May 5th, I took my final serious walk in Nicaragua--at least for this trip. At this point, I'd already walked by machete wielding protesters running down the street at night and by a line of armed police herding them. This occurred near Metrocentro. I had also seen a couple of large protest rallies where many people were carrying weapons by this point. I had spent several days locked away in my room listening to mortars and gunshots after dark. I'd seen the reports of murders on Facebook and YouTube. Because of all of these things, I had already made plans to leave Nicaragua the following Monday.

    I made an appointment to go walk with a friend to Chocoyero. I've been to Chocoyero before--a couple of times. The last time was about five years ago. Chocoyero is a Nicaraguan national park near Ticuantepe--on the road between Ticuantepe and La Concepcion de Masaya. You have to exit the paved road onto a dirt road that winds through pineapple fields, jungle, and a small town to get to the entrance to Chocoyero. Chocoyero is famous for its waterfalls and for all of the small parrots that make their homes on the cliffs to the side of the waterfalls. The locals call these small parrots chocoyos.




    Because I made an appointment to meet a friend, I felt that I had to follow through despite my trepidation of traveling in the midst of the troubling political unrest.

    I woke up to my alarm. I walked through the Parque Japones out to the nearest bus stop for buses that would take me to the Huembes market. I have often walked to Huembes, but my friend asked me to meet her fairly early, and I didn't want to wake up even earlier to give myself time to walk. I waited for a non-TUC bus and then paid the C$2.5 to get there.

    Even though I arrived at Huembes ten minutes early, my friend was already there waiting for me. I was shocked, justifiably I believe, to find a Nicaraguan not only on time but early.

    We took a bus from Huembes to Ticuantepe. I paid C$19 for the both of us. My friend hadn't been to Chocoyero before, and she wasn't familiar with Ticuantepe either. She's a Managua native, so one might assume that she'd know more about the nearby towns and tourist spots. My experience in Nicaragua has taught me that most Nicaraguan don't know much about their own country beyond their home towns and sometimes they don't even know much beyond their specific neighborhoods. As a military brat, I've lived in many different States in the U.S.; we moved every year or two when I was growing up. My experience in the States has taught me that the same is true of must Americans. I'm guessing that this is a universal human tendency--to stay in the same place they are born there entire lives and not explore the unknown...

    We took the bus to the end of the line in Ticuantepe. There, I spent C$14 on fresh hot tortillas and a bag of bananas. This food lasted me the entire trip. If you are okay with eating simple fair, then you can get a long way on very little money in Nicaragua. By that I mean things like rice, beans, tortillas, and bananas.

    We walked along the side of the main road for about a kilometer to the turn off that goes to Chocoyero. We waited there for a moto-taxi. I'd walked all the way to Chocoyero in the past, and from this experience I learned that it's a lot farther than the sign suggests. The sign say something like six or seven kilometers. There is no way that this is correct. In any case, I knew that we wouldn't have any energy left to walk the trails of Chocoyero if we had to walk all of the way to Chocoyero.

    Two moto-taxis vied for our business. They started out asking for C$200. We got one of them down to C$150. I was annoyed enough by their price gauging that I almost sent them away, but because I was there with someone else, I sucked it up and paid the man. I remember that I paid C$80 the last time that I took a moto-taxi to Chocoyero, and even that is a lot considering how much moto-taxis charge in other parts of Nicaragua to cover the same distance. The driver argued that the road conditions are why they all charge more. I know this is likely the reason that they tell everyone, but I believe they charge more because all of the moto-taxis that work Chocoyero have unionized and fixed a higher price.

    There is a fee to enter Chocoyero that is paid in a large wooden structure at the end of the road. They charge C$40 for locals and C$90 for foreigners. It's interesting that the entrance fee hasn't changed in five years at Chocoyero. I've seen the entrance fees to many other tourist locations spike over that same period: the Masaya Volcano and Mombacho come to mind.





    A mudslide knocked out access to one of the two waterfalls, so we took the shorter trail to the remaining waterfall. This was about a 5 kilometer round trip along the bottom of a deep gorge filled with jungle. We took photos along the trail, at the waterfall, and then on the way back. Since my last trip, they've built some concrete containing walls under the waterfall...maybe to combat erosion. We climbed up on the wall to take photos while the spray from the waterfall soaked us. This was a perk considering the hot day, fierce sun, and how much we had already sweat getting there.





    We used the bathrooms once we got back to the big wooden building at the entrance and refilled out water bottles. No moto-taxis wait at the entrance, and so we decided to walk from Chocoyero back out to the main road. My friend wasn't excited about this prospect, but we didn't have any other option. We made the best of it as we walked about 3 kilometers. We talked and took some photos and finished the last of our snacks.



    We saw this alcove in the side of a earthen cliff off in the distance from the dirt trail. From the trail, it looks like a deep cave. She was afraid of it, and so I walked over to check it out. It turns out that it's barely deep enough for a person to bit a person. I took a picture to prove it to her.

    A car slowed down and stopped after passing by us. The car was full of three adults and two children, so as it went by I assumed that they wouldn't and couldn't offer us a ride. I was wrong. They shift the kids into the front seat and let us slide into the back. It was a couple with their kids as well as a sister/aunt. They not only give us a ride back to the main road, but because they were heading to Managua anyway, they took as all the way to the Galerias mall.

    From there, we hopped a bus headed to Huembes. My friend paid for this one. We walked from Huembes out to a side street for her to catch a bus back to San Judas and then I walked back to my room near the Parque Japones.

    I didn't run into any problems on this walk. I didn't see any protesters. I didn't see any police abusing their power. I didn't feel in danger. In fact, a very kind family gave us a ride. The family joked and laughed with us. This is the Nicaragua that I know. This is Nicaragua as it ought to be.

    I went ahead with my plans and left Nicaragua two days later on Monday the 7th of May. As the bus from the Huembes market to Rivas left Managua, I saw armed police at the round-abouts. I saw men dressed as construction workers standing around in groups all along the main highway not doing any construction work. I strongly suspect that these were plants put there to quell any attempt to throw up barricades. The peace that I felt with my friend on Saturday was not present on Monday. I felt relief and gratitude that I was able to get out of Nicaragua on Monday. I knew that it would get worse and that I would have been pushing my luck past its breaking point by staying. Maybe staying wouldn't be the worst idea for every foreigner, but as a lone guy living as a local who likes to walk everywhere it was definitely time to go.

    I hope that Nicaragua will right itself. I hope to be able to return. I've been away for four months, and I already miss the many wonderful things that make up Nicaragua.

    Until then, saludos!
    Last edited by drlemcor; 08-29-2018 at 01:44 PM. Reason: spelling
    Soy el chele mono.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

    Well,, I'm going back end of November,, driving.
    So far my only passenger is Ariana.

    So,,,,,,, if you are ready to return by then, and interested in seeing Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, be in Tucson towards the end of the month.

    I don't go through El Salvador anymore.

    Great pictures, looks like you are prospering.
    Nice to see some people in your pictures for a change.

  3. #3
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

    Went to Chocoyero one time and really enjoyed it.....the highlight for me was we ran across a coral snake sleeping in the middle of the trail and seemingly was not interested in escaping to the underbrush.....very sluggish for a snake.

    Cool place and worth the visit. The guides were great.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  4. #4
    Viejo del Foro el duende grande's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

    Well, you timed it right. Tihuantepe was the scene of some heavy duty tranques,
    Is the road passable by 2wd? Any cabins or hotels in the park? Restaurant?

    "Support mental health or I'll break your head"


  5. #5

    Default Re: Cinco Cinco Chocoyero

    Quote Originally Posted by el duende grande View Post
    Well, you timed it right. Tihuantepe was the scene of some heavy duty tranques,
    Is the road passable by 2wd? Any cabins or hotels in the park? Restaurant?
    We made it the entire way on a little moto-taxi on the way in, and we made it out in a 2wd car. The road is rough, but passable in the dry season. I wouldn't recommend trying it in the wet season.

    There are some cabins up above the entrance building that they rent out to couples or families visiting the park. I didn't ask them how much they charge per night. My friend did, but I don't remember exactly what they said... I do remember that the rates seemed reasonable to me.

    I didn't see any restaurant. I don't believe there is one. You'd need to buy your food in Ticuantepe or bring it with you.
    Soy el chele mono.

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