Madre Chronicles

Somoto Canyon - Secret World Wonder - Day 1

We hadn't done much research, we just knew we wanted to find it. Word was that Somoto Canyon had been relatively unexplored until 2004, and since then, tourism to this magnificent secret world wonder was growing slowly at best.  It would still be almost as secluded and publicly undiscovered as it has been to the villagers near by for ages.  We did not have access to a GPS or Maps on our cell phones. What we DID have was pencil scratchings of obscure directions and a stir-crazy sense of adventure. (..also machetes.. We thought we may have to clear our own way into the canyon, or fight off venomous vipers that methodically fall out of trees onto victims below. We had quite an imagination of how the trip was going to play out!)

Surfing Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua

Secluded Surf Spot in Nicaragua

Camping, Hammocking, Surfing, Hanging out

~ Adventure by Eli Baylis ~

Follow a bumpy dirt road lined with corn stalks and daisies to this special secluded spot near Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua. Playa Ausuchillas is a nearly vacant beach, besides fellow surfers and a few dogs. You basically have to dig to find it, but when you do, it's glorious. 


When you arrive at Playa Ausuchillas, you'll come to a small clearing where you can park. Then take a short walk down a path off to the right as it opens up to this beautiful surf spot.  Shade is practically non existent here,  be sure to bring your own. 

SMr Camping Gear Used On This Adventure:

Ginger Rust Pares hammock
Climb-Rated Carabiners

Transcending Borders - Road Trip from Mississippi to Mexico, and Central America

Prior to leaving on our quest driving from the US through Mexico and into Central America,  we read posts on the internet and listened as our friends and family offered endless warnings: “People in these areas are ruthless and violent” “Do not go, it’s too dangerous” “You WILL get kidnapped” “You WILL get robbed”. In many areas this may be true.

Surfing Guatemalan Mudslides

No one could tell us when we would be able to get through. The next couple hours of traveling were intense. We were driving along roads that were filling with water, rock, and mud. We witnessed mudslides running rampant as people desperately scrambled to save their covered mopeds and sinking trucks. 

Shaky Shakira Gets Her "fix" on the Black Market - Antigua, Guatemala

We pushed Shakira into a snug parking spot in front of Hostel Antigua. We came to find out over the span of our five day stay that this hostel had a lot of rules and its employees watched guests constantly, scolding us if we were too noisy or got in too late. It reminded me of staying with my grandmother. 

The Little Engine That Couldn't - Malacatán, Guatemala to Antigua, Guatemala

At this point, our journey became consumed with car problems. Upon leaving Malacatán, Shakira seemed to be in her death throes. Navigating Guatemala was much easier than navigating Mexico, however it proved to be more difficult on Shakira.

DANGER: Guatemalan/Mexican Border

We had been told the Mexico-Guatemala border was one of the roughest border crossings and for once what we had heard was true...As we entered, a few very casually dressed men raised a metal bar attached to a scrawny looking toll booth. And as we entered they shut the bar behind us, trapping Shakira in the lot...“What the hell?” Eli questioned. We were both concerned. "We're about to lose the car, I know it," said Eli, certain he had made a huge mistake by following the men into the lot we were now locked in. The lot was a huge, extremely sketchy, dirt space with rocks and giant puddles everywhere. We noticed about 10 men begin to approach our car.

In Trouble with Teachers! - Traveling Through Mexico (well.. trying to!)

We woke up early... Ixhuatán was a very interesting place geographically, and although I had never seen pictures, nor knew anything about the town I had always wanted to go there, based solely on it’s position on a map. Ixhuatán was located on the Pacific side of the isthmus of Mexico, the thinnest section of the country. We left the hotel in search of yet another mechanic.

Shakira's so Cool, She Doesn't Even Need a Fan

Eli and I got an early start with plans to make it to Mexico's southern border. We left Amanda behind because she chose to take a bus the rest of the way to Managua. 

Destination: Managua, Nicaragua - Team Sierra Madre Research Drives Supplies to Central America

Three strangers, one 1982 Diesel Powered Jetta, a trailer full of supplies, and a Kawasaki motorcycle. Destination: Managua, Nicaragua. Today travel is common, we all do it, so what makes this trip different? We have three people, myself (Lacy Greer) who will be documenting about our experience, Eli Baylis, a photojournalist who has traveled the world looking for adventure, and Amanda Braun, a ski instructor with a tongue for Spanish.  

US - Nicaragua Road Trip Warrior #3 - Amanda

Growing up in the suburbs, Amanda left the Minneapolis area to pursue her education at Colorado State University. She earned degrees in Spanish and Sociology, with minors in Latin American Studies and International Development. Her love of Colorado and skills on the slopes led to a job as a ski instructor in Aspen where she has worked for five seasons. Amanda has traveled South America studying abroad in Chile, working at a backcountry ski resort in the shadow of Anconcagua, and finessing her Portuguese in Brazil.