After an interminable 11 hours on a ferry from Río San Juan that I could have swam faster than, my parents and I arrived at 1:30 AM on Ometepe Island. Ometepe is made of two imposing volcanoes jutting out of the middle of Lake Nicaragua.
40,000 Nicaraguans inhabit the islands, and there are tons of tourists crawling around the place, especially around Christmas, when we were there. The island is fertile agricultural land and produces tons of plantains, coffee, tobacco, and other produce. Scattered around the island there are also a lot of indigenous rock carvings, known as petroglyphs.
I really enjoyed our time on Ometepe. To me it offered everything that Solentiname offered – the relaxation, the birds, the art – but also electricity, better hospitality, and more to do. Hopefully I will get to go back to Ometepe before leaving Nicaragua.
We did not climb either of the volcanoes – Concepción and Maderas are known for being arduous eight hour mud and ash slogs in the blazing tropical sun, but we did hike around the base of Maderas a bit, where we saw the petroglyphs and also got a tour of a coffee finca. When I go back I will probably stay over on that side of the island.
From Ometepe, my parents are I took the short-hop ferry to the mainland and stopped in my training town of San Juan de Oriente before continuing on to Granada.