San Juan de Nicaragua, population about 1,500, wins the unofficial title of most boring town in Nicaragua.
There is nothing to do except wander its two short streets running through the center of town, with a handful of run-down storefronts and homes on both sides. A feature of the town's urban landscape intrigued me for a bit - its walking paths are raised above land by about a feet. Then it started raining at night, for about 8 hours straight, and the town was flooded the next morning, making the raised paths absolutely essential. This is apparently one of the wettest regions of Nicaragua, receiving almost 5000mm of rain annually.
San Juan de Nicaragua is expensive, for Nicaraguan standards. Bottled water costs 30 cordobas for 1.5L, compared to 15-20 elsewhere. It's because this place is as far away from the rest of the world as one can probably go nowadays - its 4 hours by boat from the next town of population 3000 down the Rio San Juan. I guess its inaccessibility made things expensive.
An Austrian couple and I shared the price of a hired panga to Greytown, the remains of an old colonial town right near the mouth of the river. Unfortunately the government was doing some secretive work there that involved a huge ship dredging the river and tons of army men, so we couldn't get there.
Spent most of the day poring through the Lonely Planet guidebook, to the extent that I now remember by heart some of those wonderfully flowery descriptive phrases guidebook authors like to use. "Teeming with fish" and "fringed with lush forest" are but two of them.
Sometimes I wonder what guidebook writers are thinking. Many times I read a passage in the book that waxes lyrical about a place and makes me want to go right away, but when I get there, I'm inevitably disappointed because its nowhere near what it's made out to be. Sometimes its clear that the writer has never even visited, but drew his inspiration from photos and tourist brochures - his writing is so far off from reality that you can't help but wonder.
Skipped a proper dinner and munched on some OREOs instead. It's probably better than the food here in this town anyway (I had a terrible and expensive lunch). I was sickeningly awakened at about 11pm by the loud crash of rain on the metal roof. It rained nonstop throughout the entire night, alternating between strong gusts, heavy rainfall and a lighter drizzle occasionally. I was initially hoping that it'd all clear up by the morning, so I could continue on my way to Bluefields, and get out of this god-forsaken, isolated town in the middle of nowhere.
Of course it didn't stop. Murphy's Law, which has proven remarkably accurate during this trip. Dengue Fever, Capsized Kayak and now Cancelled Ferry. So I had to wait for another day. This time, dinner was much better. I found a restaurant that serves such great fish and rice that it almost made my trip to San Juan de Nicaragua worth it.
Almost. I still dislike that town.