Our second day in Nicaragua was spent on Lake Nicaragua and in Masaya City visiting the markets and volcano. Here is a photo recap:
Nicaraguan money is the coolest money I could imagine a country having. The small bills have a clear plastic circle, like this one. They are all bright, and have neat pictures depicted on them.
We took a ride on the lake to view the 'isletas' or islands of Lake Nicaragua. This is the largest lake in Central America, 2nd largest in Latin America, and 10th largest in the world. It used to be connected to the sea by a river, but over time the volcano and earthquakes separated the two. Because of this, there are critters such as freshwater sharks, crabs and other things you would normally find in saltwater. Unfortunately, Japan helped hunt most of the sharks in the lake to near extinction, so the sharks that are left stick closer to the deep water.
The isletas are now a very popular area for foreigners to build big houses, as this pictures serves as evidence. The 1-5 acre islands (365 in total) used to go for less than $5,000, but are now closer to $100,000 ten years later. A boat is completely necessary to leave, obviously. Any takers?
This is a photo of the volcano which formed the isletas hundreds of years ago. 800 meters of the top of the volcano blew off (it should be a conical shape, but you can note the jagged top), forming the islands. The islands are made entirely of large chunks of volcanic rock.
This is a view of the massive crater of another volcano close to Managua, the capitol. It is still active, obviously, and had a big eruption seven years ago which sent tourist scrambling to get under their car to avoid falling rocks. If you click on this photo, you can see the tour buses at the edge of the crater for a reference of the size.
This is a photo of the last lava flow down the mountain, and the surrounding lowland areas. The entire park is littered with volcanic rock, so I am glad we got in and out without any problem! You technically are supposed to see Managua and the other lake from here, but it wasn't very visible.