Ometepe, Nicaragua (Nov 2015)
The second stop on our journey through Nicaragua took us to Ometepe, an island made up of two connected volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua. Getting there required an hour in a taxi, and an hour and a half on a ferry. We spent 4 days on the island, which was just enough time to get a taste of how different life is there than on the mainland.
On Ometepe, time seemed to slow down and life seemed so much simpler. The streets weren’t overrun with people; instead they were full of dogs, cows, chickens, horses, and even pigs. Instead of moving out of the way for cars, you would move out of the way for a man on a horse herding 12 cows down the road. Instead of hearing cars or drunk people late at night, you would hear only birds, cicadas and the occasional mooing cow or barking dog. In fact, cars aren’t even prevalent on Ometepe; most people get around on scooter, tuk-tuk, or foot.
On our first full day there, we rented a scooter to drive around on the one road that circles the island and see the sights. We hiked through Charco Verde, a beautiful nature reserve on Lake Nicaragua. We found a small restaurant on the side of the road where we stopped for tacos; Kevin ate a chicken taco while the chicken’s relative walked below our table and chairs. After that, we decided it was time to cool down, so we stopped off at Ojo de Agua, a swimming pool that is fed with water from a river beneath the Maderas Volcano. Kevin took advantage of the tarzan swing and spent the afternoon jumping in the pool, while Christine opted for a coconut filled with Flor de Cana rum. We finished off the day at Punta Jesus Maria, a sandbar that extends out into the lake. We tried to watch the sunset and catch a view of the Concepcion Volcano, but instead were met with clouds, some rain, and a double rainbow!
Our main objective of going to Ometepe was to hike the volcanoes. Concepcion Volcano is one of the tallest, most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. Unlike the ones we visited in Granada, the only way from the bottom to the top was with our own two feet. We started our hike at 5:00am, and didn’t finish until 3:30pm. The views were stunning. We were so high up that you could see the plots of farmland, as you would see from a plane. At the 1000 meter lookout point, we were surprised to find a small herd of cows, just hanging out on the side of a volcano. Climbing that volcano was a true accomplishment. You can even feel that ground rumbling at the top!
Our time in Ometepe was unexpectedly cut short, so we didn’t get to hike the Maderas Volcano or see the other sights. We hope that one day we can return, as the people of Ometepe were so kind, and the pace of life was laid back, just as we like it.
Here are some of our favorite pictures from our time in Ometepe: