Tag Archives: hostel

Cabanas de Gigante

There are places you don’t write reviews about. You don’t write them because the review might cause more people to go, and then it won’t be what you wrote about. Surfing was the first adventure sport. And it invented the idea of the secret location. But what if you are a struggling Nicaraguan, with all your savings invested in a two room hotel. A single mum that needs to catch a bus for four hours to medical care through the dust and heat, when your daughter is sick. Who when she is isn’t sick, which she almost always isn’t, is more welcoming and relaxed than a person seems to have a right to be. This is the place you really want to go to if you are surfing in Nicaragua. The town of Gigante, the wave Colorado, the restaurant Mare Mar, and Bimania’s little hotel, Cabana’s de Gigante. Google the wave. This is the town near it, not the gringo ghetto in front. The rooms are comfy, private, secure and air conditioned. Lobster dinner’s you can’t finish for 5 bucks or so. Liters of beer for less than $2 and the best rum in the world for about $6 a half liter. Beautiful, friendly and world class waves. Enough of a party but normally a quiet fisherman’s beach. I love these people, and I never say that. The last thing I want is more people to go there, but then, I know that’s what they need. It’s an $80 taxi ride from Managua airport, which seems cheap now, but you can get there on buses through Rivas for about $5. It is about $30 from San Juan. Also there is an excellent Spanish school in the town with private lessons for between $5 and $10 per hour. I came for a weekend and stayed for 4 months. I have no financial connection at all to anyone there. Ask for Omar. He’s the only taxi driver and he’s a dude. And Birmania, the hotel owner, she’s a stunner.

Qype: Homer Hut in invercargill


Homer Hut is not actually in Invercargill. It’s on the road into to Milford Sound, Just before the tunnel on the right hand side.
This is a wild and very exciting part of the world. Climbing here in The Darrens, as they are called, can be a very extreme undertaking. Sir Edmund Hillary trained on the the long granite walls before he attempted Everest, and the potential for remote adventure is still what attracts a range of international climbers every year.
I arrived for the first time in 1996 as an end point to my tour of climbing venues on the South Island. Back then I never had any money so I put up my little shelter, which was a tarp and a bivy bag, about 5o metres from the hut (something you are still allowed to do) in order to avoid the fee’s.
It then rained flat out for two weeks. When it wasn’t raining the mozzie net of my bivy bag would go black with sand flies. (A bivy bag is like a full body gortex condom)
On about the fourth day of this, the hut warden, bless that beautiful man!! let me sneak into the hut – it was empty due to the bad weather – and stay for free if I helped him with chores and renevations.
At that time the hut had bunk accomodation for about 18 people and enough room in the wardens room for about another 6. There is cooking facilities, blankets and an excellent common room with a donated library. Historic pictures of climbers and skiiers adorned the walls and completed a uniquely wonderful New Nealand alpine atmosphere. It IS like Switzerland – but it’s also very different. No one is going to sell you stuff or cook for you – you can’t buy a beer. But it is really cheap. It costs about 10 pound a night to stay, or 7 if you are a member of the Alpine club.
I had met the relieving hut warden – the late Gordon Legge (Gonzo) near the summit of Mt Cook, and I moved into the Wardens room with him and remained a comfortable – if incredibly dangerous – further three weeks.
If you are touring the South Island of New Zealand I really recommend this place. You won’t find it in any tourist brochures – but you don’t have to be a climber to stay. You just have to know where it is.
In 2006 this hut re-opened and looking at the picutres – it is just like it was except more weatherproof.

Check out my review of Homer Hut – I am gotiges7 – on Qype