Where is…Joe From Bow?

This week on “Where Is…?” I am excited to speak to Joe From Bow – not only is he a fellow Brit from East London…he is spending five months travelling through Central America – my ultimate dream tip (which I am yet to do). The photos on his blog fill me with so much envy – so make sure you go and check them out!

Where in Central America are you at the moment? 

I am currently in Esteli, North Nicaragua. I have been in Nicaragua for about a month, starting in the South and slowly working my way North. In Nicaragua I’ve visited Island de Ometepe, Granada, Laguna De Apoyo, Leon and now Esteli. It is part of a bigger 5 month solo backpacking trip through Central America which started in October in Cartagena North Colombia and is due to finish in Cuba in March.

What is the weather like at this time of year? Is it how you expected it to be?  

It’s generally dry and hot. It’s the dry season, but there was some really heavy rain a few days ago. The mountain areas in the North of Nicaragua are a bit cooler then central areas like Leon which can get unbearable in the middle of the day.

Where is...Joe From Bow?

I’m hoping to plan a trip to Central America in the not too distant future. Any tips on where is good to stay? 

I have been staying in hostels. My favourite either has to be Hacienda Merida on Isla de Ometepe because its really relaxed, the owner is really friendly and they also run a local school on the same site using plastic bottles filled with plastic waste as the bricks and building materials. Or La Tortuga in Leon, a really chilled out hostel with turtles walking around, a pool table and a great place to meet people.

What activities have you been getting up to? What has been your highlight?

Have done plenty of hiking, Nicaragua is full of volcanoes and lakes, some of the volcanoes are still active. I have also hiked up to some waterfalls, visited local markets and nature parks. I am currently also hanging out with some artists who are repainting a mural in Esteli. But my highlight is Volcano Boarding in Leon. Its basically what it sounds like, hike up an active volcano, then sit on a board and slide down.

Where is...Joe From Bow?

Sounds awesome…and equally terrifying!! Can you recommend any things to do or places to avoid?  

Volcano Boarding in Leon is a must do! I recommend going with Queztaltrekkers as they are the only company who let you do it twice. Also the top of Leon Cathedral is worth the $3 fee. I would suggest avoiding Moyogalpa on Isla de Ometepe. It’s not a great place and there is nothing to do there unless you are going to be hiking Volcan Concepción.

Do you have any other travel tips or advice for first-time travellers to Central America? 

Learn to love the chicken buses. They wont leave until they are full, by full I mean 3/4 people on each seat with babies on random people’s laps and standing room only. But somehow there is always room for more people. And they can get uncomfortable, but they can be entertaining and great opportunity to talk with locals. Also eat at local comedores, can get a good meal for 50/60 Cordobas ($2/3).

Where is...Joe From Bow?

They sound like the dala dala buses I experienced in Tanzania! Where are you off to next?

I’m on this trip until March, so after Nicaragua I keep heading north. El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Cuba.
After this trip I don’t know, it depends what happens when I go home, how quickly I get a job etc etc…

It sounds like you have quite the adventure lined up! What three must-have items are in your backpack right now and why?  

1) Camera – I like taking photos and often go out with camera at home. Having one when travelling means I can take photos of the odd cultural thing or the stunning landscapes and scenery
2) Diary – When on a long trip it’s good to write things down that have happened as you forget and things/time merges into one. You don’t have to write loads and loads, just a bit each day to look back on at a later date.
3) Pack of cards – these are a must have. They are a great way of getting to know people and bringing people together in hostels. I always travel with a pack!

Where is...Joe From Bow?

Like the tip about the diary – it’s one of my must-haves (memory like a goldfish!)

And finally, what has been your favourite destination so far? 

Before this trip I hadn’t done loads of travelling and hadn’t been out of Europe, but I visited Romania earlier this year for a week and travelled north from Bucharest to Cluj. It’s a great country with great people, plenty of hiking, culture and cheap food and drink. Really recommend it to people.

You can follow more of Joe’s journey across Central America on his blog Joe From Bow.

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  • Reply
    January 23, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    I’d never heard of Volcano Boarding – looks fab

    • Reply
      January 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Me neither! I did sand boarding in NZ and that was scary enough!

  • Reply
    Katie Uniacke
    January 23, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Falling off a sand board was painful, if you fell off on the side of a volcano you’d probably be skinned alive! What an adrenaline rush!

    • Reply
      Joe From Bow
      January 23, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      It was great fun. You wear a protective suit and gloves to help but it does hurt abit if you fall and you can lose abit of skin

  • Reply
    Vee N Ric
    January 27, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Nikki.
    Joe from Bow? How very intriguing indeed.
    Up until this moment, had never heard of Esteli, North Nicaragua.
    How long will you be staying here? When do you get time to write your blog if you are travelling?
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      January 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks. I’m not travelling at the moment so lots of time on my hands! Hoping to change that very soon!

  • Reply
    Derek cullen
    January 28, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Holy crap, volcanoes boarding – Never heard of it, sounds insane!!

    Central America is somewhere I have yet to visit myself, have to say that despite the Touristy reputation Nicaragua is getting, it really does look like an amazing place..best of luck on the trip joe!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I love the idea of doing a weekly “Where is” – wish I had thought of that! Haha.
    It’s also a brilliant way to get to know other bloggers and hear about their adventures, so thank you 🙂
    Oh and also: I’m dying to try the volcano boarding!

  • Reply
    Rob Taylor
    February 2, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    And now I have a new activity to be scared of: volcano boarding. Thanks for that. No, Nicaragua sounds awesome and like he’s really dug into it. Cool series to share.

  • Reply
    Karen Wanderlustingk
    February 3, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Volcano boarding looks like the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen…. I will need to try this out! I’m dying to go to Romania, so glad to hear another endorsement!

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