I signed up for a tour of the Isletas of Lake Nicaragua, thinking I would be seeing a few natural wonders. Instead, I was treated to views of a couple dozen privately owned islands hosting extremely nice homes and a few wild treats – like Monkey Island.
I admit it, I’m spoiled. Lake Tahoe is my “home” wonder lake, and next to the spectacular tri-colored blue waters of that huge Alpine body of water, Lake Nicaragua disappointed me with its muddy brown. But I do love to be on or in the water, and I enjoyed tooling around on a 12-passenger touring boat with just the pilot. Again, I was spoiled by the personal attention.
We slowly motored by a collection of homes, all on their own island. One is currently for sale for $320K, with 5 bedrooms and all the amenities, including a swimming pool. Another could be rented for $400 for a three-day weekend and sleeps 10. The prices are incredible. The country’s politicians and wealthiest families own islands in this cluster.
In total there are 365 islands in Lake Nicaragua, which covers 3,191 square miles. My guide informed me that is the only fresh water lake with bull sharks – bull sharks. But no worries, according to him, they are only in the middle of the lake.
We sighted a couple of egrets and a bird that walks on the tops of lily pads – and a wonderful “magical banana” which hides a lovely flower.
The best part of the island tour was easily the tiny Monkey Island, owned by a veterinarian, which houses 5 monkeys – a family of four spider monkeys and one lone capuchin. They all have names: parents Lucy and Pancho, kids Lucero and Panchito and the white-faced Michael Jackson (hey, I didn’t name him!)
We finished the tour at a restaurant island – really, an island that was only big enough for a restaurant with a small pool – where I had the national drink “Mangua”, a concoction of mango, guava and light rum. I also had four dollar French fries!
The trip back to the dock was “rapido” and I was shuttled back to my Granada home, the Hostel Oasis. As I settled for the rest of the day, I considered my $15 tour way worth the money. I’d go back for the monkeys alone.