A seven-hour hot, packed ride on a local bus to San Carlos, the launch point for the Rio San Juan – land of infamous pirates from the Caribbean, lush jungle, monkeys and colorful birds, and the original location for the canal from the Caribbean to the Pacific ocean. Six hours on the Rio San Juan in two pangas and one dugout canoe (no roads in this area), we arrived at Base Camp Bartola in the Indio Maiz biological reserve surrounded by the jungle de Nicaragua.
Panga #1 on the Rio San Juan
Dugout canoe transport to Base Camp
Refreshing coconut water upon our arrival. No ice or refrigerators here!
Base Camp is located in a community of 26 families that host campers and provide meals and tours of the area. We were transported back in time where all food is prepared with wood fires, outhouses are the only facilities, and bathing and laundry is done in the river. Spent the days hiking the jungle, watching the monkeys, visiting a local finca, making tortillas, roasting cacao fruit, then grinding and cooking the cacao seeds into tasty chocolate balls, and awakening to the sound of the deep-throated howls of the Congo monkeys and a plethora of birds songs.
Base Camp Bartola
Typical Nica dinner
Roasted Cacao seeds ready for grinding
Chocolate balls made from Cacao seeds
Stocked with cacao balls we are off to our next Nica adventure!