Visit to the National Park of Volcano Masaya
We took a Ruta Ordinaria bus for the 35 minute ride to Masaya, arriving at 8am. From there we took a taxi to the entrance to the Volcan Masaya National Park, arriving at 8:30 AM, 30 minutes before the park opens. Later we realized we could have taken a Managua bus and just gotten off right at the same entrance - saving the taxi fare. After waiting for the park to open, we paid our entry fee plus an extra $2.50 to ride a bus to the top. Along the way we stopped at the visitor's center to buy tickets for a guided tour to the bat cave. The view at the top around the Plaza Oviedo is quite spectacular, and we enjoyed taking photos of the steaming Santiago crater. Our guide David was personable and seems knowledgeable, and spoke to us in Spanish, which was a relief. We got hard hats and flash lights to traverse the cave, which was pitch black. We did see some bats, and a couple of different kinds of lava, but the most interesting thing was the enormous tree roots which had made their way into the cave to suck up the moisture, bat guano, and nutrients from the lava. We walked into the largest part of the cave-el templo de los dioses-and then turned around. After we parted from our guide we walked up hill to take a look at the San Fernando crater that is dormant and full of vegetation. As we walked down the road, we saw lots of pretty flowers - a park guard identified the Sacuanjoche for us - Nicaragua's national flower, as well as the Poroporo, a gorgeous large yellow flower - the bark of the plant is used to aid in childbirth. Then we walked downhill to the visitors' center (55 minutes) and were impressed with how well done the exhibits are there. The only quibble we had was that the very lovely paintings of plants and birds were not labeled. We then walked to the entrance to catch a bus direct to Granada.