Monday, July 21, 2014

Rancho Esperanza: hostel with a conscience

Lydia and I in front of our cabana.
With most of the country heading south to Managua for the Sandanista Revolution 35th anniversary celebration, Ulises, Mitzi, Lydia and I went on an excursion a few hours north of León.  We stayed at Rancho Esperanza in Jiquilillo—which is self branded as a hostel with a conscience.  This was the first hostel I’ve ever stayed at and the first time I ever slept with mosquito nets! It was all part of the experience!

Our cabana with shower/toilet

Everything about Rancho Esperanza is focused on the village/economy of Jiquilillo.  They provide long term volunteer opportunities, use local foods and labor, conserve electricity and water and even compost toilet waste.  No flushing—just adding saw dust.  This was intriguing!

There are hammocks right by the beach and the sounds of the ocean waves were soothing.  My daughter Lydia was thrilled to get a surfing lesson!  We stayed in a cabana with a thatch roof, bamboo walls and our own semi-private shower (it had no roof) but the bathroom walls were made with recycled glass bottles.  According to one of the backpacking/surfer guests, this was the best and friendliest hostel he has ever seen. We met people from New York who volunteered with kids club for 7 weeks, the cooks are local villagers and the assistant manager is from Norway and speaks at least 5 languages!

Tortilla making class with a local villager

The three of us were all wanting to bring
3 year old Maria Jose home with us!

We took public transportation back, which was quite the experience.  Ulises said that earthquakes feel a lot like riding a bus in Nicaragua—really fast and bumpy, while always being worried something is going to fall on you. 

-- Julie Delkamiller

Diplomado Module 6 begins tomorrow:

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