Just outside of Granada, on the northwest side of Lago Cocibolca, lie hundreds of fun-sized islands. Las Isletas, over 350 of them, are the result of a massive explosion over 10,000 years ago, which gave nearby Volcán Mombocho its rather haggard silhouette.
Touring the isletas the cheap and dirty way, we paid less than half the price of what the tour companies were asking. What we got was a ride in a motorboat from a teenage kid who just pointed out the obvious. And it was a lovely way to pass an hour.
Massive tropical trees sprouted from the diminutive islands, dipping their branches out over the lake. Birds dipped and dived, skimming the surface of the water. Awkward, gangly herons stalked about, trying to look elegant in white. Water lilies stretched their open faces toward the midday sun. Monkeys vaulted through tree branches.
Once one of Nicaragua’s poorest neighborhoods, the millionaires have started to move in, mansions popping up here and there to supplant the patched together houses with weatherworn paint. Hammocks and laundry hung about in the sun, as a number of the islands are inhabited.
And everywhere, islands presented themselves as a real estate option, just waiting for their new resident to boat by and fall in love. Maybe one of these days (years) we’ll have the disposable income to just choose an island, throw up a hammock and some Swiss Family Robinson–style dwelling, and spend our days, drink in hand, on our own private island. One of these days.