T-minus 5 Days Until We’re in Nicaragua!



Every single night we were in Nicaragua last year we were blessed with a beautiful sunset.

It’s that time of year again where we say goodbye to Central Oregon winter and hello to Nicaraguan sunshine. This go around we will be adventuring up around Matagalpa and Esteli before heading down to San Juan del Sur.

I promise to take LOTS of pictures… Steve just got me a new camera for Valentine’s Day, so I’m super excited to take it out and play with it.

This trip is another half play/ half work trip. We will be checking out Finca Esperanza Verde for a possible future yoga retreat then heading down the coast to check out Aqua Wellness just north of San Juan del Sur. This year I will be hosting my second yoga retreat in Nicaragua at Costa Dulce, which I’m super excited about. I love how it feels like you’re at the edge of the world, just you, a handful of other yogis, and the ocean. It pretty much rocks.

I hope to post pictures soon! In the meantime here are a few pics from last years epic yoga and surf retreat.


Nicaragua Yoga and Surf Retreat

I finally get to combine my favorite activities: yoga, water, travel, hiking and food!!! Steve and I will be hosting an All-Inclusive Yoga and Surf Retreat in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua February 28- March 7, 2015. We’d like to extend the invitation to all of our Fat Girl Does the World readers.

We’d love for you to escape the winter blues and join us for our 2015 All-Inclusive Yoga and Surf Retreat in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. You will experience secluded beaches, invigorating yoga, epic surf breaks, and the best food in Nicaragua! You’ll step into spring feeling calm, well-balanced, and full of energy when you treat yourself to this amazing all-inclusive yoga retreat.

We are ecstatic to be hosting our All-Inclusive Yoga and Surfing Retreat at Costa Dulce Beach Bungalows in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. This all-inclusive eco-retreat will allow you to fully step away from the outside world. Here you will find a beautiful tropical paradise that will rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit. Let all your stress slip away as you enjoy twice daily yoga sessions, delicious healthy meals, and plenty of scheduled downtime to surf, read a good book, soak up the sun, and practice hammock asana.

This 7 night All-Inclusive Yoga and Surf Retreat includes: 7 nights accommodation, meals, beverages, twice daily yoga, a massage, surf lesson, guides and board rental, roundtrip shuttle from Managua (MGA) to the retreat center and a daytrip to Laguna de Apoyo. Pricing begins at $1175 USD.

Check out www.ambujayoga.com or www.nicayogaretreat.com for more details, images, etc. We’d love to have you!


Central America Packing List


Granada, Nicaragua

On of our favorite places to travel to is Central America and fortunately we get to spend time there every couple of years. It is, after all, where Steve and I met. Sometimes our trips are short ten day trips and other times they are a month or longer, but what I’ve found is that you don’t need to pack more just because your trip is longer. Just pack smarter!

Our upcoming trip is both business and pleasure, but realistically there will be more business. We’ll be scoping out sites for an upcoming yoga and surf retreat. And we’ll be spending our time connecting with the local yogis and surf instructors, meeting with retreat organizers, and local business owners. So we will need gear for business and fun. I was really hoping to be able to take just a carry on backpack, but I will be taking yoga photos and unfortunately I will have to do my hair at least one day on the trip, so I’m begrudgingly bringing a hairdryer and straightener (which I would honestly never suggest bringing, who wants to blow dry their hair when it’s 90+ degrees out!). This trip I will be lugging around extras like: a yoga mat and yoga clothes, a camera, gorilla pod, laptop, phone…. you get the picture. I will be amazed and ecstatic if I can get it to all fit in a carry on bag. I believe in  MIRACLES!!!!

A waterfall on the Ruta de las Flores in El Salvador

A waterfall on the Ruta de las Flores in El Salvador

So I put together this Central America Packing List partially to help myself when it comes to packing for our trip, but to also help others with packing for their upcoming trips to Central America. This list is more geared toward those who will be backpacking/flashpacking in Central America or who will be going on a yoga/surf holiday.


First off let’s talk organization. If you can find a way to organize your stuff that makes sense you will spend far less time digging through your luggage and getting frustrated because you can’t find what you’re looking for. When I first started traveling I used ziploc bags, they’re super lightweight and they’re see-through, so you know exactly what’s in them. Now that I’m getting older, I’ll be 30 in just over a month, I’ve upgraded my organization system and I love it!!! Here’s what I use:

Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack(2)
Eagle Creek Pack-It Half Cube (1) and Pack-It Half Tube Cube(1)
REI small compression sack (1) for dirty clothes
Plan A Backpack: Kelty Redwing 40 Internal Frame Pack
Plan B Backpack:Gregory Women’s Jade 60 Backpack
Plastic folder for important documents, receipts, itineraries, etc. (1)
Crappy canvas beach bag (1)

The Sea to Summit bags kick major ass! They’re heavy duty. They won’t tear and they’ll keep your clothes dry even when the rest of your bag is soaked. In my opinion, they are worth every single cent. They’re a little heavier than some of the other dry bags, but really it’s negligible and they’ll pack your clothes down nice and small. If you’re getting one make sure it’s the right size. I usually use one for tops and one for bottoms. I’ll also be using my Eagle Creek half cube for all of my toiletries, sunscreen, etc. and my half tube for all of my little electronics and miscellaneous cords and chargers. This system worked perfectly for our Southeast Asia trip, so I’m assuming it will work just as well this time around.


1 Pair of quick drying socks like Smartwool’s PhD socks
3 pairs of underwear, my faves for traveling are still ExOfficio Women’s Give-N-Go Lacy Low Rise Bikini
Bra (1)
Swimsuits (2)
Sarong (1)
Shorts (2) I’m packing my Roxy Board Shorts and my new Nike Women’s Boyfriend Shorts
Tank tops (3) (cheapies from Target)
Dresses (1-2) (lightweight, wrinkle resistant)
T-shirt (1)(lightweight cotton or wicking)
Long sleeve cardigan or zip-up (1)
Rain jacket/poncho like Patagonia’s Torrentshell (1)
Pants (1)(lightweight, quick drying); I’m loving my prAna Halle Pants

The fun part… deciding what clothes to pack. This is always tough for me because I like options, but then I end up wearing the same thing day after day. 3 pairs of underwear is all you will need for any trip (if there is water available for washing) and I still swear by ExOfficio’s Give and Go panties. They are ridiculously quick drying and they’re virtually stain resistant, which is awesome when you get traveller’s diarrhea… seriously accidents happen. And I still love my Roxy Fold-over Boardies….they’re so comfy…although not exactly practical for surfing…I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t stay on in a big wave. And if you’ve been reading my blog you’ve probably heard me rave about the importance of a sarong and it’s multiple uses: skirt, dress, towel, beach blanket, privacy screen, etc…. you get the picture. Don’t worry if you don’t have one…pretty much any major beach destination will have them for sale. Steve and I will be in Nicaragua during shoulder season, May unfortunately is the first month of their rainy season, so I’ll be lugging a rain jacket with me, although an umbrella would do the trick too. But I’m bringing a jacket in case we get caught in a rainstorm while hiking or something. I’m also packing one pair of pants, hoping that I don’t need to wear them. I’ve been loving my PrAna Halle pants…. they’re water resistant, can be turned into capris, and they don’t look as ridiculous as most “travel” pants.


1 pair of trail runners/sneakers (old ones that you’d be okay with leaving behind)
1 pair of flip-flops (like Havaianas), Tevas or Chaco Sandals

I think these are pretty self explanatory: Old sneakers for muddy trails and climbing on rocks and sandals for everything else. The only downside to flip-flops is they’re not so great for climbing over rocks or on muddy paths. If you brought a pair of Tevas/Chacos, you could get away with not even packing sneakers (or socks for that matter). Awesome!


Sunscreen 30 SPF and 15 SPF
Moisturizer/after sun lotion
Ultra-moisturizing conditioner like Alba Botanica Hawaiian Cocoa Butter Conditioner
Minimal make-up (Diorshow Blackout Waterproof Mascara, NARS Duo Eyeshadow, eye lash curler, Burt’s Bees lip balm, Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer, blush) and know that you won’t wear it.
Body wash
Coconut oil for face, skin, and hair
Wide-tooth comb
Kiss My Face Moisture Shave (3.4 Oz.)
Compact mirror
Lunette Menstrual Cup
Alba Botanica Natural 3-in-1 Clean Towellettes or other gentle wipe
Nail clippers
Castille soap
Small first-aid kit
Pain meds (Arnica, Ibuprofen, Blue Magic, and Excedrin)
Bug Repellent
Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron (if you must)

Toiletries always take up more space than you want them to. Alba Botanica’s Cocoa Butter conditioner is AMAZING!!! It’s the only thing that has been able to tame Steve’s crazy frizzy curls. I love it because my hair actually feels moisturized after I rinse it out, silky soft and detangled!!! I don’t think I will even go back to Biolage. I hate wearing makeup in the tropics, so I’m kinda bummed that I will be packing it for this trip, but when I do have to pack it waterproof is definitely the way to go and I swear by the Diorshow Mascara and Tarte concealer…. and Nars always has nice color palettes and they go on so smooth. When I’m at home I use Alba’s pineapple enzyme face wash religiously, but I know that when I travel I can be a bit lazy when it comes to washing my face, so their wipes are the next best thing and they’re a lazy girls best friend. Kiss My Face makes the best shave cream, it’s the smoothest hands down and they make it in a travel size… lucky for us. And finally the Lunette cup…. this was probably my best purchase 0f 2013. I use it every single month now and I only use tampons in an emergency. The Lunette lets you wait up to 12 hours (although I’ve gone longer) before changing it, so it’s perfect for long travel days or even just spending the day at the beach….no more soggy tampons. Seriously get one!!!

Yoga Extras

My trusty million pound Manduka PRO Yoga mat (I might actually take one of my other lighter mats)
Hugger Mugger Eco Bamboo Yoga Towel
booty shorts like my Under Armour HeatGear® Sonic Shorties(2)
Teeki Yoga Pants(1-2)
yoga tanks (2)
sports bras (2)
Calvin Klein Seamless Thong Panty (2)
grapefruit, bergamot, clary sage essential oil blend

I’m torn on whether to pack my Manduka mat or one of my cheapies for this trip. My Manduka is definitely the most comfortable mat I’ve ever practiced yoga on, but I would be pretty bummed if it got lost/stolen…. and it’s pretty heavy. I think it will end up being a last minute decision for me. Between Steve and I we have three of the Hugger Mugger Bamboo towels…. and we need them. We both sweat a ton and they keep our mats from turning into slip and slides…. but they’re kinda bulky, so they may not make it in the bag either. I wonder how my sarong would work as a yoga towel? Under Armour shorties will definitely make it in the bag…. I love them, because they don’t show the cellulite on my butt, they don’t ride up in the front and they pack up nice and small. And I will pack at least one pair of yoga pants, probably my Teeki pants because they also pack up nice and small. And because I’m not quite down with going commando in public I will be packing a couple pairs of seamless thongs, so I won’t have panty lines in yoga class. And I am mildly addicted to my grapefruit, bergamot, clary sage essential oil spray..it’s so lovely and energizing. It’s an instant mood uplifter.

Business Stuff, Electronics, & Miscellaneous

Old Macbook Pro
Old Iphone
Business Cards
Digital Camera (Canon EOS Rebel; Point and shoot)
Ipod Mini
Portable Speaker
Chargers for all devices
Joby GP3 GorillaPod Tripod
Reusable water bottle
Knife (if I’m checking my bag)

I remember the days of electronics free traveling, but I’ll be working on this trip, so I have the privilege to lug around 20 lbs. of gear… okay, maybe not 20 lbs., but it will seem like it. We will have the cameras, GoPro and Gorilla Pod for yoga and surf photos/video and the Macbook for photo editing and blog/website updating, the Ipod and speakers for yoga music and the old Iphone for phone calls, meetings, reservations, etc. And I’ll be packing my kindle for chill out hammock time. Unfortunately, I think these will all be essential for our trip. Whatever you do don’t forget your headlamp!!! It’s Central America… the power goes out…regularly!!!

Travel Docs

Drivers License
Flight Itinerary
Hotel Reservations
Extra Credit Card

Copan Honduras

Copan Ruinas, Honduras



Steve Is About To Pop His Nica Cherry

Steve and I had been tossing around the idea of a trip to Nicaragua for over a year now!!! We were talking about it while we were still on our Southeast Asia trip!!! Well ticket prices have been down lately, so we bit the bullet and we will be spending 10 glorious days in Nicaragua. Soaking up the sun and spending our days surfing, practicing yoga and watching the sunset with Flor de Caña in hand…. sounds pretty heavenly to me. We will also be scouting locations for a possible yoga/surf retreat.

It’s been 5 years since I was last in Nicaragua…. I can’t believe it’s been so long and I cannot wait to share it with Steve. When you tell people that you’re going to Nicaragua you’ll get one of two responses: DON’T GO!!! It’s dangerous!!! or OMG!!! I’m so jealous!!! Well, for all the naysayers Nicaragua is probably the safest country in Central America…even safer than Costa Rica. It’s still splendidly cheap!!! It’s absolutely gorgeous and Nicaraguans have hearts of gold (well probably not all of them).

I like to tell people about a little story from my last trip to Nicaragua. My friend Evan, from Two Farts In The Wind, and I were bussing it from Granada to Rivas and on to Isla de Ometepe. Well, at the time, this little jaunt involved a bus switch-a-roo on the side of the highway. We rushed off of our first bus and ran up to our second bus and hopped in the backdoor, only to realize that we had left our backpacks on the roof of the previous bus. Shit!! Shit!!! Shit!!! But to our lovely surprise, we looked out the backdoor of the bus and there were two Nicaraguan guys running down the highway with our bags over their heads. Bringing them to us!!! AMAZING!!! Nicaragua had my heart from that point on.

When Evan and I went to Nicaragua we had only two weeks. We divided our time between Granada (where we took day trips to Laguna de Apoyo (we walked), Volcan Masaya, and the Masaya Handicraft Market), Isla de Ometepe (where we climbed a jungle clad volcano, swam in a spring, and found some howler monkeys), and Little Corn Island (where we snorkeled, went scuba diving, and pooped our brains out). So this trip to Nicaragua Steve and I are heading down south, near the Costa Rican border, to the town of San Juan del Sur. From San Juan we will have access to some of Nicaragua’s most wild coastline, perfect surf breaks and serene yoga spots.

To hold you over, here are a few pics from my 2009 Nicaragua Trip.

Volcan Masaya

Evan, from Two Farts In The Wind, and I at Volcan Masaya.

Volcan Masaya Crater

An epic stinky crater…check out how steep the sides are!!!

VOlcan Masaya

Evan and I at the Volcan Masaya upper viewpoint

Masaya Handicraft Market

The handicraft market in Masaya

Nicaragua Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking in Nica….here’s proof that you can survice




Isla de Ometepe volcanoes

Isla de Ometepe and it’s volcanoes

Howler monkeys on Ometepe

Howler monkeys on Ometepe


Volcan Maderas guide

Hanging out in the cloud forest with our guide on the way to the top of Volcan Maderas

Volcan Maderas group photo

Evan, Anton and I made it to the top…soaked and completely covered in mud

Evan and Anton sink in the mud at Volcan Maderas lake

Evan and Anton sinking in the mud at Volcan Maderas lake

Baseball game at Volcan Maderas

The boys went for a “swim” in the Volcano lake, while I watched a local baseball game.

Muddy shoes

Volcan Maderas made me throw out my shoes…

Post volcano hike dip at Ojos de Agua on Ometepe.

Post volcano hike dip at Ojos de Agua on Ometepe.

Locals fishing on little corn island

Local fisherman and his daughter on Little Corn Island

Nicaragua Little Corn


Nica Little Corn jungle path

The jungle path from Sunset to Sunrise.

Our Rasta digs on Little Corn...not too shabby...okay...kinda shabby.

Our Rasta digs on Little Corn…not too shabby…okay…kinda shabby.

Lights out

Since most of the business run on generators power is only available for a few hours each day…oh well, time to drink more Tona.

Beautiful Beach on Nica Little Corn

One of many small beautiful beaches on Little Corn Island

No shampoo

This is what my hair looked like after two weeks of sweat and salt water with no shampoo.

Group photo on little corn

Evan and I made new friends and met fellow travel blogger Ian who posts a fun travel blog on travelpod

I cannot wait for more Central American Shenanigans!!!!




Can You Walk to Laguna de Apoyo?

private beach at laguna de apoyo

The view from our “private” beach at Laguna de Apoyo.

Yep, you sure can and we did. The Moon Guidebook for Nicaragua has basic directions for walking and has more information for visiting the lake’s restaurants and hotels.

Being the young an adventurous type we walked… from Granada…a very long, hot walk.  First, we had to walk through Granada’s cemetery, past the tombs of the rich and beyond the unadorned graves of the poor.

Granada's cemetery

Our walk through Granada’s cemetery begins.

Granada's cemetery

Beautifully sculptured tombs in Granada’s cemetery

tomb statue facing the mountains of Nicaragua

Statue of a saint facing the mountains surrounding Granada, Nicaragua.

Where the less prominent families of Granada are buried.

Where the less prominent families of Granada are buried.

Then we followed the dirt road on the northeast side of the cemetery (I think it was the back right corner) all the way until the end and then hiked down a cattle path to a teeny, tiny beach that we had all to ourselves…well, until a farmer showed up to water his cows.

the road to laguna de apoyo

The road to Laguna de Apoyo.

My travel companion had jumped into the crystal clear lake with all of his cash and passport in his shorts, and had laid it out over a log to dry when the cows showed up; instead of stealing my friend’s cash the rock wielding farmer began chucking rocks at his cows. Love the Nicaraguan people.

deep blue Laguna de Apoyo

Deep blue Laguna de Apoyo. The bottom of the crater is the lowest spot in Nicaragua. The lake has tons of endemic species and offers scuba diving.

Moo....cows at Laguna de Apoyo

Moo….these cows interrupted our sunbathing and swimming, but kept us giggling all afternoon.

Walking to the lake definitely provided a more interesting and cultural experience, but if you would prefer something more predictable hop one of the local buses out to one of the restaurant, beach combos on the other side where you can lay on a dock and sip Toñas all afternoon.

Farmer taking his horses to water

Farmer taking his horses to water at Laguna de Apoyo near Granada, Nicaragua.

typical home on the walk to Laguna de Apoyo

Typical home on the walk to Laguna de Apoyo.

I personally was thrilled with the randomness of our little adventure; we met a farmer…and his cows, we hitch hiked half the way to the lake crammed into the back of a Jeep with about 5 other people, had a perfect little beach to ourselves, watched a farmer run his horses, explored the cemetery where some of Nicaragua’s presidents are supposedly buried and had a chance to see the real Nicaragua as we walked past rural homes.

If you’re walking stuff your day pack with plenty of water and snacks, ask for directions (people might think you’re crazy; we got some pretty weird looks) and allow an entire day.