Once we got to the staging area of the Mombacho reserve, we decided, due mainly to the tour schedule, to do the tour of the crater at the top of the mountain. But first there was the prospect of getting there. We left the trusty Dollar van in the parking lot and loaded onto an old Soviet-made truck with a bed with bench seats in it. Of course, more people were loaded onto the truck than could actually sit so some got to stand. The truck proceeded to climb uphill grades that you wouldn't want to try to walk, trust me. This road was steeper in places than some roller coaster rides. We literally inched up in some places.

The story was that this truck was Soviet, not Mercedes like the ornament might imply. Notice

"lid" over gun turret mount in the roof of the cab!

    After reaching the top, and after our tour, a tour guide who was tired of hanging out with the people that actually paid him to walk them around the rim of one of the craters, told us a little story. It seems that about a month or so before we visited, one of the private tour guides drove a small group to the top of Mombacho in a private vehicle. On the way down, the guide, who was new and didn't know how to drive in the Mountains, rode the brakes most of the way down. He finally got to a sort of level stretch where he thought he could shift into a higher gear. When the vehicle started picking up speed, he tried the brakes again, but he had overheated them. Only two of the tourists survived, the only two Americans in the vehicle.

   Well, anyway, once we arrived at the top, we toured the rim of a small crater in the top of Mombacho. This was cloud forest. There were living things all over everything. Some of the trees themselves were hosts to over one hundred species of other plants.

Trail around the Mombacho crater.

    The gravel trail (note: if you go, don't wear sandals), full of long stretches of up and down stairs seemed to be landscaped with every imaginable tropical plant, many of which are the same species you will find potted in offices and homes all over the US.

The trail wound between two rock faces.

   Finally the trails comes to the halfway point, a meadow on the side of the upper portion of the mountain with a wonderful overlook of Granada and Lake Nicaragua.

Yes, those clouds are actually below us! Granada and Lake Nicaragua in the distance.

    After the tour of Mombacho, we were off to San Juan del Sur.

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