HOW TO: ISLA DE OMETEPE

Ometepe, Nicaragua

Untitled
Untitled
Isla de Ometepe is an island in Nicaragua formed from two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Its name derives from the word Nahuatl, meaning two mountains.

To get to Isla de Ometepe you have to take a boat. There are even small canoes you can rent to paddle across. We took the lancha (the cheapest form of transportation, a rickety boat) across the lake for about $2 per person. The ferry is nicer, more spacious and stable but costs a few bucks more and departs less frequently. Lanchas leave about every 45 minutes (see here). Between November and February the winds make the water super choppy, and we were there in February so it was super rough. I get car sick and sea sick, so I knew I was in for an adventure!
Untitled
Untitled
It takes about an hour to cross the lake, and you depart from the port town San Jorge and arrive on Moyogalpa. I was sick almost immediately. They put me in the belly of the boat and I managed to find a window. Everything below is tarped closed, so you can't see outside and it's dark and cramped (see here). I was about to hurl all my breakfast so I forced my arm underneath the tarp and create a tiny little hole using an already existing one. It was a life saver! I held my mouth to the hole like I was dying and breathed in the fresh air. I didn't care that I was getting soaked, and another tourist behind me thanked me for the "peep hole," haha. The water came rushing in and was sloshing at our feet, so be sure to keep your bags and belongings off the ground.
Untitled
The people are kind, waving and smiling as you pass by on bicycle or foot. There's lots of livestock and farm animals as people farm there for a living. Many families have parakeets and parrots as pets - which I thought was awesome. It's easy to get around, and cheap to get what you need. We hitch-hiked with some nice Austrians and made friends along the way.
Untitled
Untitled
One of my favorite things about Isla de Ometepe was the friendly people and the solitude it provides. This island is special. People let you enjoy your time in nature without being overly intrusive or haggling for tourism. Depending on which side of the island you choose to stay on, there's all kinds of adventures to have from kayaking to monkey island where there are a bunch of rescued monkeys living (be careful, they like to jump in your boat and attack people, haha) to winding down on the docks to your favorite book as the sun goes down.
Untitled
Once you're there, it's incredible. Such a beautiful, quiet and peaceful place. We made our way to Merida, a few hours by bus across the island to the far side by Volcan Maderas. We made ourselves comfortable at Hacienda Merida, an AMAZING hostel for about $6-8 per person that we totally recommend. Our room was perfect for Valentine's Day. Next to the hostel there's a school for elementary aged children where you can volunteer to teach and help with the kids. The hostel has a breakfast and dinner buffet, and they literally ring a bell calling everyone to get ready to eat together. I loved the sense of community I felt when staying here. Hammocks are strung everywhere and other travelers are all very respectful to the quiet nature of the place.
Untitled
Untitled
If you're staying on the Merida side of the island, be sure to hike to the waterfall on Volcan Madera and cool off after a grueling hike. We left after breakfast and made it there in good time for lunch. Near the end of the hike (the last few miles) the terrain is pretty rough and jungly, and coupled with the humidity and elevation it was pretty intense even for the gym-goers! I was huffing and puffing, and I thought I was in shape! The water at the top was super refreshing.
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
Isla de Ometepe is a tropical island with tons of outdoors activities from hiking, biking, and sailing to kayaking, horse back riding and fishing. There is so much to do to keep you busy, but it is fabulously calm with little to no crowds. We could have stayed here for weeks exploring the island. If you're headed to Central America, this is a definite must see.


You may also like:

4 comments on HOW TO: ISLA DE OMETEPE

  1. Ohhh I wish I knew you were there haha. One of the destinations that's still on my list, but I heard a lot of good stories about it too. Hacienda Merida too, definitely gonna check that out. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a amazing! Even that questionable room looks fascinating. Haha

    Xo.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I went to Ometepe as well, a gorgeous place indeed! I stayed in Balgüe and hired a bicycle to cycle around the island, but didn't make it to the waterfall unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This place looks absolutely amazing! Really great photos as well :)

    ReplyDelete

© Hope You Like Fresh Air. Design by MangoBlogs.