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the Degree Confluence Project
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Nicaragua

5.8 km (3.6 miles) WNW of La Calzada (Granada), Masaya, Nicaragua
Approx. altitude: 76 m (249 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 12°S 94°E

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View north. A small house sits about 50m to the right. #3: View south. Cattle and ranch hand. #4: View west. Trail along pasture. #5: View east. Trail leads to dry riverbed. #6: Me. Photo by ranch hand. #7: Old railroad bridge #8: GPS

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  12°N 86°W  

#1: General area of confluence at the edge of the pasture.

(visited by Jamie Zelazny)

11-Aug-2003 -- According to my research, this confluence lay about 9km north of Granada, Nicaragua. My maps showed two roads, one north, and one south of the confluence. My GPS indicated a rail line, that I assumed (correctly) to be abandoned, passing within a kilometer. With this scant information, I determined that I would go for it.

I had been studying Spanish in San Jose, Costa Rica and now had about a week on my own. I wanted to document the first confluences in Nicaragua and Honduras, and this was my first.

In the northeast corner of town I found the depot, which displayed a steam engine sitting on a short section of track. I turned in the direction of the rail line and began the long walk.

The railroad bed, to my relief, is still in use by the locals. It is now indistiguishable from other dirt roads in the area. On several occasions, I became uncertain whether I was on the right track. I stopped more than once to inquire in my broken Spanish whether this was the old train tracks. One old man commented that he didn't know how long ago the train existed, but confirmed that I was where I wanted to be.

Houses lined the left side of the road, but I saw no cars. People walked and rode bicycles. I saw families sitting outside their homes enjoying the day. Most stared as I walked. In this place, I was clearly an outsider. A pale face among the many dark-skinned Nicaraguans.

Most houses were built of rough-cut lumber and scrap wood with tin roofs. Behind the houses were fields with corn and other unknown crops.

On my right was a vast pasture where I could see cattle and men on horses in the distance. The confluence lay in this direction.

I came to an intersection at what appeared to be a formerly thriving community. A grand abandoned church surrounded by an overgrown fence occupied one corner. In an adjacent corner, a family sat outside for dinner and called to me probably their only English phrase: "Bye!" they repeated over and over as I turned north onto the crossroad.

Now I was less than a kilometer from the confluence and walking directly toward it. A herd of cattle came out from the pasture followed by a young man on a horse. He was quite curious about me, staring and asking questions. He wondered if I were lost.

The road paralleled a dry riverbed, and then the two merged. To get to the confluence 100 meters away, I had to climb the steep riverbank. I followed a small trail into another, but smaller pasture. A young man stood watch over about ten cattle. He paid me little attention, but I went to him and asked if I could take some photos. He agreed.

The confluence is appropriately located on the edge of the pasture. The surrounding area is agricultural. To the north (not visible behind the trees) is a small house. The dry riverbed is roughly 100 meters east.

I rushed the return walk, trying to beat sunset. Feeling jubilated about my find and more confident about my location, I chatted with a few locals. I found them to be very friendly and extremely curious about me. Unfortunately, my Spanish is too limited to have any serious conversations. I made it back to the hostel well after dark, and had a bit of trouble finding my way through town.

I walked more than 20 kilometers to get this confluence. A bicycle (available for rental in Granada) would have made the trip much quicker and easier. There is road access from somewhere, as I saw a truck on the riverbed road near the confluence.


 All pictures
#1: General area of confluence at the edge of the pasture.
#2: View north. A small house sits about 50m to the right.
#3: View south. Cattle and ranch hand.
#4: View west. Trail along pasture.
#5: View east. Trail leads to dry riverbed.
#6: Me. Photo by ranch hand.
#7: Old railroad bridge
#8: GPS
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)