Let me just tell you... my 21st birthday was f*cking cray. And maybe if you're not from the United States, you might not know, but your 21st is kinda the big one. The big birthday. The birthday where you can finally go out without the shame of your terrible fake ID, or wear the dreaded black 'X'es on the backs of your hands. The birthday you're supposed to get sh!t faced and have your friends carry you home.
Well, none of this mattered too much for me, because I was already in Nicaragua (Granada, Nicaragua more specifically) where the drinking age is 18, or pretty much nonexistent, BUT, my 21st was absofruitly the best birthday I've ever experienced. And that's because I spent it in the jungle.. with the howler monkeys.. on the side of a volcano.. in a treehouse.
A Hostel In The Trees
Treehouse Nicaragua is an amazing hostel. The vibe, the people, the mentality. The way it makes you slow down and turn inward during the day, and get crazy and put yourself out there at night. It is truly a special find.
It's completely made up of treehouses 200m high up in the jungle. On top of that, it's built into the side of Volcano Mombacho just outside of Granada, surrounded by wildlife. There are so many fun features to the pad, like a giant hammock, a 60 meter canopy bridge, great sunsets and good music.
They have a free shuttle that takes you up (most of the way) from Central Park. They have dorms, private treehouse rooms, and even hammocks you can sleep in. They also serve large group meals for breakfast lunch and dinner (including a vegetarian option YUM). They have daily tours to cool secret swimming spots on the side of the volcano during the day, and then at night there is always a crazy party.
The main reason I actually ended up at The Treehouse was to do some volunteer work. The website www.workaway.info is great for finding work-for-stay volunteer jobs abroad, and is how I got to talking with some workers at the hostel. In exchange for washing dishes, promoting parties, and some behind the bar work, I was able to stay and eat for free. The dorm rooms were nice and separate from the guests, and the food was family style meals that were always delicious and cooked on site. Free bottomless coke and rum was included in there which was nice at night if you know what I mean. Throw in some birthday shots and let's just say I don't remember the cake fight that happened in the picture above.
Some of the work that was difficult was hauling things up to the treehouse. I remember one night it was pouring rain and we had to carry stacks of beer and soda and other items up slippery rocks the rest of the way up. I just about died. I can't remember if this was a Free Shot Friday (free shots for everyone on the hour), or one of those nights where we had a mariachi band and everyone was wearing crazy costumes, but the jungle party went on just the same with everyone dancing in the rain. Then at night we'd go to sleep, and then wake up to the sound of the howler monkeys in the trees.