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Photo of the Day: Completed Project in El Trapiche, Nicaragua!

Today I received a delightful email from Menlo School’s representative at Free the Children. If you haven’t been following the saga, back in February, I went with a group of 16 Menlo high schoolers down to Nicaragua on their “Knight School” trip– a week off each year from regular classes to pursue extracurricular interests– in […]

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Salman Rushdie: The Jaguar Smile

I never was able to finish Rushdie’s famed Satanic Verses due to the fact that it simply wouldn’t end, but recently while on a service trip in Nicaragua with my students, I opted for his much shorter The Jaguar Smile. In this 1987 work, Rushdie illustrates Nicaragua the way he experiences it during the Sandinista […]

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Going back a second time: Is it ever the same?

A common theme among travel bloggers is: “To visit a second time?… or not to visit a second time?… that is the question.” Visiting a place a second time, especially a place that you loved, is a very touchy subject in the travel community. From related readings on that topic, I’ve gleaned that most bloggers […]

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Hiking Volcan Maderas (4,573 ft) on Isla Ometepe

I went on a lot of hikes in Central America. A lot of them I enjoyed, a lot of them I did not enjoy. The hike up Volcan Maderas falls under the category of those I did not entirely enjoy, thanks to the on and off rain the entire time and the fact that the […]

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Granada, Nicaragua. Reason #6! El Dia de los Ninos…

Granada had a holiday while I was there– children’s day. Seriously? I love this place. Even Claro cell phone company came to the Parque Central to set up one of those bouncy castles and a climbing wall. The kids swarmed the place all day. La Catedral looks pretty sweet right there. Imagine being one of […]

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Granada, Nicaragua. Reason #5! Boat rides with monkeys.

Actually the monkey was a real meanie. I brought him strawberry cookies, but of course after that he wanted my own personal stash of chocolate cookies. Your boat ride will take you for about an hour amongst Las Isletas, the 350 tiny islands just off Granada’s shores. By “tiny” I mean some of them have […]

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Granada, Nicaragua. Reason #4! Location, location, location (geographically and culturally)

Granada has the perfect location. It sits on the northwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua and is less than an hour by taxi from Managua, so it is easy to get there if taking long busses from other countries’ capital cities. I came from San Salvador. You are less than an hour by bus to Masaya […]

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Granada, Nicaragua. Reason #3! La Calzada, Ole (the boutique that benefits local women), and the ChocoMuseum…

Then there’s La Calzada– the pedestrian zone, shopping area, and main strip for restaurants. I bought a gorgeous floral dress at Ole; coincidentally one of the Building New Hope volunteers worked there. Since I was volunteering, I got the volunteer discount (a welcome surprise!) and the profits from the sale of my dress went to […]

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Granada, Nicaragua. Reason #2! Tropical-colored churches…

Convento e Iglesia de San Francisco was my favorite, not only because of its cool facade– from far away it looks white and when you get closer you realize it is light blue, but also because of the view AND the attached city of Granada museum containing archaeological finds from Isla Zapatera on Lake Nicaragua […]

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A million reasons to visit (or live in) Granada, Nicaragua… here’s reason #1: The people– Nicaraguan AND expats…

I spent two weeks in Granada volunteering and exploring the old city, founded in 1524. After having a great experience volunteering with Building New Hope and being totally charmed by the city, I decided I could live some day in Granada, Nicaragua, for millions of reasons. These were my classmates. Yes, for a short while […]

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