…“Land of lakes and volcanoes” might have been inspired by Ometepe Island. Located in lake Cocibolca and formed by two volcanoes linked by a narrow isthmus, Ometepe is a one of a kind paradise with 276 square kilometers.
Life in this island goes back to 1,500 years B.C. according to pre-columbian remains, petroglyphs, statues and ceramics that are abundant on Ometepe.
The name of the island comes from the nahuatl “ome” two and “tepetl” mountain, for the two volcanoes that form it. Ometepe has been regarded as a paradise-like destination since pre-columbian times. Tribes coming from the north of Central America traveled south looking for the prophecy announced by their priests: the finding of a land formed by two mountains. Until this day, that reputation attracts thousands of local and foreigner tourists to the island’s coasts.
When you come off the boat in Ometepe, the first thing you see is the perfect cone, 1,610 meters high of Concepcion volcano. To the south, Maderas volcano, smaller in elevation, has a crater lake on its top. The Concepcion is active and once in a while its thunder can be felt in this garden of vegetation, water and land.
The most important cities in Ometepe are Moyogalpa and Altagracia. Moyogalpa is the main port for the ferries that come from San Jorge in Rivas, south of Granada. When looked in a map, Ometepe has the shape of an eight and it is possible to surround it completely by car. Through this road you will find beautiful places to spend some time relaxing.
One of the most visited, 11 km. from Moyogalpa, is Charco Verde. This is a lagoon with green water caused by the mangroves surrounding it and the algae living in it. You can find howler monkeys in the vegetation surrounding the lagoon. It is a great place to birdwatch, find insects and snakes. Before you arrive to Charco Verde, you can visit ‘Punta Jesus Maria’, an extension of land that comes 200 meters inside the lake, where you can walk and be surrounded by the waves coming from the lake. This is a great place to enjoy the sunset.
ome other attractions are the towns of San Ramón and Mérida. On the first, you can visit the waterfall and on the latter you can enjoy the beautiful beaches. Although according to the locals, the best beaches are in Santo Domingo, with four kilometers of clean waters and light sands that provide the perfect setting for you to unplug from life’s daily hassles.
There is a variety of activities in Ometepe. You can visit pre-columbian museums, climb volcanoes, hike trails, visit the beaches, kayac the Istian river and be immersed in nature. Finding a Hotel on the island is not difficult, but our favorites are Totoco on the slopes of Maderas and Finca San Juan de la Isla on Santo Domingo Beach; both have a sustainable approach to their operation.
How to get there?
You can get the ferry from Granada or from San Jorge. The best way is to go to San Jorge by car (1 hour away from Granada) and take the ferry there, it takes an hour to get to Moyogalpa. The cost of the ticket is US $3. You can ask your hotel to help you set up a transfer from the port and other places. If you have a car, you can take it to the island on the ferry and drive everywhere yourself, there are also motorcycle rentals available on the island.