Howlin’ In The Nicaraguan Jungle

The further down Central America we went, greener jungles grew abundant with animals more exotic than before. Luke and I, and our two new backpacking buddies Deb and Tyson, took a free shuttle in Granada to Poste Rojo Tree House Hostel in a jungle just outside of the main city. I was thrilled to go to this place after I’ve heard so many great things about it from Jaryd and other backpackers we met on our route. Plus, jungle settings are probably my most favorite of all the settings in the world! We joined another solo traveler from Finland in the back of a pickup truck up to the tree house entrance about 20 minutes away.

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My backpack was the heaviest it has ever been from all the sand and wine bottles I’ve been collecting over the past few months. Like for real heavy. It’s been a strain on my back and especially my shoulders. When I saw we had to hike up the green mountain to the treetops, I wasn’t too thrilled, but it had to be done. Did someone exchange my clothes for bricks? It felt like I was carrying a boulder on my back! Not to mention my small carryon bag which was completely stuffed turkey with dirty clothes, gizmos, and other worldly entities I’ve scooped up over the months. Going up the hill was quite the workout. People in the army do this? I can’t complain, but it was completely worth it once we got to the top. It took about 15 minutes. My bags dropped off my body like an anchor into the sea, except onto a wooden floor suspended in the trees. We were literally in a giant sized tree house made for fun!

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It was so secluded that we ended up being the only guests there, save for another couple from Montreal that has already been there for one night.

“How do you like it here?” I asked them. Even though I already knew I would love it, I asked them anyway to see what they said.

“It’s great!” said Alexis, the boyfriend of the two. “But I must warn you of the howler monkeys that howl in the early morning that keeps you from sleeping.”

We were so high in the trees that the monkeys appear right next to you making all sorts of noises just as the sun begins to rise. Not to mention all the bugs and birds joining in on the party. Little Aakash of Nepal was the loudest little thing that ever woke me up in the mornings, so I was more than ready for the howling monkeys. They got nothing on Aakash.

We didn’t have any beds here, we’d all be sleeping in hammocks. Those hammocks were on another treetop that we’d access by a suspended red bridge that shook with each step you took. It was too cool and linked the two main houses together.

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There was one big closet where we could secure all of our bags nearby from snooty jungle bandits who crept at night. No pillows or blankets here, it was just us and the hammocks. Screw that! I had my travel pillow and sleeping bag I planned on using on the hammock at night because I was told it does get a little chilly at night. Underneath the tree house was a large swing that swing out into the open. If you fell off, it meant certain injuries for sure.

The bar in the main treehouse was decorated with all sorts of Nicaraguan signs, caricatures, and drawings from guests who stayed previously.

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Even better, they were stocked with Butterfingers, my favorite candy bar in all the land! Reese’s is actually number one but it’s not a “bar” per say. It’s hard to describe a Butterfinger to my foreign friends. Australian Luke has never had one and thought it looked…so so. The girl from Finland tried a bite of mine and thought it was rancid. It’s chocolate and peanut butter but the peanut butter is crispy and has a distinct taste, different from any candy bar ever.

Besides the chocolate, they did serve actual food here. The menu was set daily and since we were stuck here, we had no choice but to eat whatever they gave us. Thankfully, it tasted delicious: gallo pinto, plantains, and chicken for dinner. It wasn’t enough for my big appetite (it’s never enough) but it did the trick. I ordered coke after coke, sprite after sprite, Butterfinger after Butterfinger. I was a fat kid living it up (literally) in the canopy!

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That same day, Luke, Tyson, Deb, and I wanted to explore our surroundings. We went further up the hill and came across a barbed wired fence. It was meant for no passing but…I crossed over it anyways and convinced the others to join me. We hiked up the jungly mountain not knowing where we’d end up.

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We came across a bamboo forest, some of it cleared out, and to a pass when suddenly we heard howler monkeys going crazy nearby. We froze but ventured a little further and saw the monkeys in the trees above us. We’ve gone a bit further before we decided to turn back. The day was fading and getting dark. It’d be pitch dark soon and we’d get lost out here if we were stuck at night. We got a little lost on our way back but found ourselves before the sun completely let up.

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There wasn’t too much to do in the tree house and that was the whole point. Chill on the hammock, read a good book, listen to music, and nap away.

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When we finally went to sleep I was grateful that I had a sleeping bag and a pillow. The sounds of the bugs, distant animals, and winds together conducted an orchestra that lulled me fast to sleep. I was warm and snug while the others were shivering away at night. I felt bad but there really wasn’t anything I could do. The monkeys in the morning were there but they weren’t as obnoxious as I was led to believe. They must have been taking it easy today. I slowly rose from my hammock to find Luke and Tyson uncomfortably on the floor wrapped in jackets and sweaters. It was then that the others decided that one night here was enough. The hammocks were uncomfortable for them and it was too cold at night, they couldn’t bare it again. I, on the other hand, was content but I felt one day and night was enough also.

Before we left, I wanted to put my footprint on the ceiling. It’s tradition here at the treehouse to paint the bottom of your feet and climb up the tree trunks and plant your feet on the ceiling. It’s a little odd but still unique. Who would think to do that? Handprints I could understand, but feet? I stepped in a puddle of lime green paint, shuffled up a tree and found an empty space to paint.

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My mark will be left there for years to come, hopefully. I left a trail of green drops of paint all the way to the outdoor shower stall. I washed my hands and feet while a cheeky giraffe made out of clay watched me, poking it’s head over the shower walls. I still couldn’t get all the green off me.

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Luke left earlier in the morning to go back to Granada. He offered to help make piñatas for a local organization he came across on the internet. I carried my heavyweights and also his bag all the way back down the mountain and back to Granada where we reunited at our hostel for the day.

“You owe me a beer dude!” I said to him while drenched in sweat. What a workout! Onwards further down Nicaragua we go!

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Author: Adventure Born

I'm Daniel. A cereal lovin', traveling machine from Michigan on a solo journey around the world, documenting and sharing my unexpected tales from abroad. My aim is to inspire people like YOU to discover your very own adventures. The world is truly too big not to explore it!

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