Nicaragua is a magical place that brings interesting people together in strange and incredible ways.

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This has always been true for me, from the moment I first stepped foot in the country 13 years ago, but this past week in Nicaragua was particularly awash in wonderful coincidences, encounters, and friendships new and old. The reason for the trip was to learn about Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable tourism program, and also to promote our new Nicaragua guidebooks.

It was a whirlwind tour, including both places I knew well, and new properties. In the photo above, we are taking the scenic route to San Juan del Sur after a night at the stunning Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge. Below, we are traveling to the brand-new Jicaro Island Ecolodge, in the lake near Granada.

boatnica2.jpgI was rolling with a group of international outbound tour providers, looking for packages to sell to their clients back in the UK. They were all travel-loving souls, many of whom were in the country for their first time, and it was a joy to see it through their eyes.

As we made our way around the gringo trail (as the Granada–San Juan del Sur–Leon circuit is known), I ran into old acquaintances at every corner—from my Peace Corps language trainers who I hadn’t seen in over a decade (Rosibel! Blanca! Naomi!) to people with whom I’ve been emailing/facebooking for years but had never met in person.

I have to get back to packing (I brought down suitcases full of books and baseball gloves, and am going back with coffee, rum, and cigars), but just wanted to say, once again, Thank You, Nicaragua.

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