Located on Lake Nicaragua or Lake Cocibolca, the Ometepe Island It is one of those places in Central America that you should not miss. From the air it looks like an eight, an eight formed by two volcanoes, the Concepción with 1,610m and the Maderas with 1,394m, both joined by a small isthmus.
Lake Nicaragua is known worldwide for the possibility of seeing sharks in fresh water, whose presence is due to the only exit from the lake, theSan Juan river. Currently, sharks have almost disappeared due to overfishing and the export of their fins to the Asian market, so friend don't have a fin soup in my presence ... Besides, it is already complicated that sharks They trace the San Juan river to reach the lake, the conditions and the presence of man makes this currently unfeasible. The San Juan River was for many years the dream of many explorers who thought it was the only link between the Pacific Ocean and even recently was able to rival the Panama Canal because of the short distance between the lake and the ocean Peaceful. It is clear that in the end it was not, nor did they have as much help as Panama to build a canal.
Historically, the San Juan River was a wreck of English pirates whose objective will be to plunder cities like Pomegranate, near Masaya volcano, located northwest of the lake.
On the island of Ometepe it is possible to do many activities from cycling, kayaking or trekking. Both the Concepcion and Maderas volcano are accessible, although the first of these is of greater difficulty and is not suitable for anyone. Although the height of the two volcanoes of Ometepe seems small, in both you have to cover more than 1,000m of unevenness.
Rivas to Ometepe
We start from Saint George, next to Rivas, one August afternoon taking the ferry with our rental car to spend 3 days on the island. We went without a hotel, simply guiding us with our travel guide. The first day, we arrived in the afternoon, and chose to sleep in one of the hotels in the east. I have never seen such amount of mosquitoes in my life. It was leaving the room and having to go through clouds of millions of mosquitoes, of those who do not bite by luck, being a somewhat unpleasant sensation. In fact, Bruno and Nuria had to change rooms, since in this one the mosquitoes sneaked through a hole left by one of the fans, stories not to sleep.
The next day we decided to change hotel to go to the west, where the sea is quieter and where you can find the odd paradise. We arrive atHacienda Merida, one of those “hotels” of cabins where Americans stay to learn Spanish or to carry out humanitarian work, a really incredible place. To get there you have to take the road that goes south, always taking the west face. The walk is long, so if you take a bus better than better. If you have a rental car, or it is a 4 × 4 or better leave it parked, the road is a hell of holes and potholes.
Hacienda Merida is an ideal place to spend a few days enjoying the lake and its forests. On the wharf of the hacienda you decide to do kayak to go to Istiam river, where it is possible to see many birds and even some crocodile. The route from Hacienda Merida is a bit long, about 14km round trip, so we take it in a quiet way, without knowing what the return was for us, a strong swell and the afternoon tide, let's not forget That this lake is almost a sea. The return became eternal and on more than one occasion we were about to tip over. I reiterate, watch the wind and the waves of the afternoon.
From the Hacienda you have the possibility to go south also by kayak, a short route, to see the monkey island, where there is nothing else but monkeys, or to the north, towards the Istiam River.
The next morning with arms full of laces from the adventure of the previous day of the kayak, we decided to ascend with a guide to the Maderas volcano, an option that if you have a GPS and the attached track is not necessary.
Ascent to Maderas volcano
The climb, through lush forests, allows you to enjoy the best views of the Concepcion volcano and local wildlife, such as hauling monkeys present at the beginning and half of the route. On the way we had to use our hands on many occasions, because of the amount of mud and the poor condition of the path. Also, forgetting the Relec could make you pay dearly, since there are a multitude of insects willing to stick to your arms or legs, so don't forget, here the insects are not small ... we put Relec on a sack and still, threw themselves ...
At the end of the route we had our small reward, an imposing lake in the crater. Already in the descent unfortunately we had our first "low", Cris made a sprain almost at the end of the journey, as we said, the path in addition to mud, slips a lot.
Once at the hacienda, at night, we enjoy the buffet and prepare the rest of the trip, where Granada was left once we left the island of Ometepe, the Pearl Lagoon and Corn Island, but this is another story and is another trip . Javier Blanquer
When to go?
Nicaragua can be visited all year round, but depending on the area where you are, the weather can vary greatly. The rainy season is 9 months in the Caribbean, except from March to May, and the months of September and October are hurricane season. The northern area is much more mountainous and therefore much colder. The guides tell you that the best time is from December to April, the dry season, but we were in August and it just rained, we had an excellent time during the whole trip.
How to get?
Since Saint George, next to Rivas, there is a ferry that allows you to cross the lake to the island of Ometepe in just an hour. This ferry also allows you to cross your rental car if you take it. If you go to Hacienda Merida you have the possibility of taking another boat from the Ometepe jetty to the hacienda's jetty.
What to wear
Ometepe is an island of adventure, so take everything you need to fight mosquitoes and everything you need to make good walks.
Where to sleep on the island of Ometepe?
There are many places to sleep, both in the east and in the west, but we recommend the east side and specifically the Hacienda Merida, a forgotten place in the world where you can rent a hammock or a cabin in the woods. In addition, they have a great buffet at night very cheap and can be a starting point for many activities on the island.
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