Rancho Grande, Waslala, Siuna and Rio Blanco, Nicaragua

I have been without the internet for about 7 days now.

I had spent about a week in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. This is the main town of the area of Matagalpa – go figure. It is like being in Michigan, and staying in Michigan city – except a lot hotter and dirtier.

The cities, unless the mayor is one strict guy, are dirty in Central America. Trash tossed on the ground, and no one cares if it’s picked up

I digress, though, getting away from the main part of this article.

The deal was, I wanted to see this Reserva Natural Bosawas. It is the largest rain forest reserve north of the Amazon. Documentation and exploration of the land, by anyone other than natives, only covers 15% of the reserve.

From Matagalpa, I went to Waslala, Nicaragua. A “paved” road that had more and deeper pot holes then a Michigan highway after a winter with lots of snow. I thought I was going to lose my Tercel in one of those puppies, they were soooo DEEEEEP!

This lasted maybe about 15 KM, then the road change to dirt.

El Tuna is where the pavement ends, and the rest of the road to Waslala, Nicaragua is dirt. Better yet, stone, rocks, and ruts that will swallow a Tercel and rip it’s under carriage without any shame at all.

This is one of the MAIN roads to Siuna, which leads to Puerto Casbezas, the port for Nicaragua on the Caribbean Sea. It sucked!

If the road to Waslala that leads to Siuna sucks, the road from Suina to Rio Blanco REALLY SUCKS!.

If the road from Matagalpa to Suina is bad, the road from Siuna to Rio Blanco is REALLY, REALLY BAD!

If the road from Matagalpa to Siuna is terrible, the road from Siuna to Rio Blanco is REALLY, GOD AWESOME TERRIBLE.

Ah, but I digress, again. Shame on me!

So, going along on this sucky road from Matagalapa to Waslala, I left too late in the afternoon and had a 1 night stay in Rancho Grande.

A road off of the sucky road heading to Waslala – should I say more about the offshoot to Rancho Grande?

Ah, you have the mind-set that these roads east of Matagalpa are BAD – OK, so nothing more to say about the road to Rancho Grande.

Worse place I have slept so far on my trip. Literally a 4 walled, brick room, smaller than a jail cell, next to the bathroom.

The bathroom, for some reason, was a very popular room, this particular night. Could have been the hot weather, could have been the workers coming in from work to take a shower. But, all bloody night LONG!

Oh well, was not expecting the Ritz, and got some shut-eye, which was very welcome.

Got up early the next day, and after a coffee (No SUGAR!  Negro – and strong!) Got that message across, and away I went to Waslala. Did not know how long it would take me, as not having much information about the road, other than IT REALLY SUCKED.

Surprisingly, I got there just about noon. Drove around a bit, saw some hotels.

I had seen a sign that advertised a hotel and pizza, but I had not seen that one yet. Asked for directions ( Spanish is getting better!) and found it. On a little dead-end, dirt road at the edge of the city. It had been open for a week.

It’s owned by an American/Nicaraguan. Marvin Mansell is the owner’s name and his wife’s name is Janine.

Wonderful couple, and great hosts. Stayed there for 5 days. Alas, no internet but good food and digs.

Missing? Hot water and internet connection.

I have not taken a hot shower in over 2 months, and no one can convince me that a cold or luke warm shower is as good as a hot one.

Marvin is working on the internet thingy – not the easiest thing in the world to get resolved in a small town. (Did I mention how bad the road was? Hardy Har Har!)

Really not much to see or do in Waslala. It is a working man’s town, in the middle of cattle country.

It is the last stop before Siuna, the “gateway” to the Biosphere that I want to see.

So, if you’re headed to the Reserva Natural Bosawas, this is a great place to take a short break – as it takes at least 2 days to go from Matagalpa to Siuna.

Pictures of Marvin Mansell’s Mi Pizzaria, Mi Ferreteria and Mi Hotel.

The first picture is of the Mi Hotel. The second one is of the restaurant. His wife, operates this. She not only serves a great pizza, she also serves hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken.

The restaurant also serves breakfast, but this is just for the guests of the hotel.

Mi Hotel

The Mi Hotel and Restaurant in Waslala, Nicaragua

Mi Restaurant

The Mi Restaurant in Waslala, Nicaragua

This is Marvin’s hardware store. Supplies a lot of the town folks with last-minute items that they need – cement, iron ware, hardware, nails, etc. The second is of the loving couple – Marvin and Janine Mansell.

Mi Hardware Store

The Mi Hardware Store in Waslala, Nicaragua Central America

This picture is to the entrance to Marvin’s establishment. Restaurant on the left and the hardware store on the right. The hotel is behind the two store fronts.
The second picture is of the large water container that Marvin has to make sure his guest do not run out of water when the city shuts off the supply.
In Nicaragua, it is common to go without water. Most citizens and businesses have some sort of back up water holder for these occurrences.

All rooms come with double beds, and a wall separating the bathroom from the sleeping area. All brand new and good, comfortable beds.

Coming up on next: The last leg of the trip to Siuna, Nicaragua.

Cheers for now!

About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
This entry was posted in Nicaragua - places, people, pictures, Travel Article and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Rancho Grande, Waslala, Siuna and Rio Blanco, Nicaragua

  1. silverboom says:

    Good pics, man. And glad to hear your Spanish is getting better. What happens when you HAVE to speak the language to get by. Spelling also getting better!! Guess the break did you good. Nice break into two posts – eagerly awaiting the second installment.

  2. Pingback: Rancho Grande, Waslala, Siuna and Rio Blanco, Nicaragua. Part 1 … | Today Headlines

  3. Sailor says:

    This is really nice. Love the pictures and your blog!

  4. John Wilson says:

    Thanks sailor,
    I appreciate the comment and the compliment.
    I hope I keep your interest with my pictures and writing.
    Cheers,
    John D. Wilson

  5. Kyle Bryant says:

    Hi John, great pictures! I am planning a trip to South America and this looks like a great place to stop by if needed. I would like to know if the Owner, Marvin, has an email address or if the hotel has a phone number or address where he can be contacted for reservations. Let me know if anything is available. Thanks!

  6. John Wilson says:

    Hi Kyle,
    He’s listed on facebook here : http://www.facebook.com/marvin.mansell
    His email address is marvinmansell@yahoo.com.
    The hotels phone number is 505 8844 4955
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment.
    Cheers,
    John

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