Ometepe Island and San Juan del Sur

Enough with seeing the roads of the roads, usually full of garbage, to see that in Nicaragua things are not going as they should. The economic poverty and, above all, educational sustain a society where throwing garbage on the ground is cases a norm. Nicaragua has a lot to teach, but the government and Nicaraguans are going to have to start taking care of their environment. Tourism money awaits. They are my reflections after my days of traveling around San Juan del Sur and the island of Ometepe .

(03-18-16) The last time we spoke, I had just arrived in Nicaragua, where I spent a few days of churches, culture and university plans in the city of León. From there I retraced my way through Nicaragua to the south of the country, where I was expected to meet Yoge the next day. Getting there was my first serious experience with Nicaraguan buses, an activity that should be classified as a risky sport.

The game is simple: the buses do not have schedules, seats, or capacity limit. The driver arrives when he wants and leaves when he considers that enough millions of people have already entered the bus. You have room to breathe, there is room for someone else. Luckily for me, I was able to do this route sitting down, although I had to share the position of my head with the odd ass. About 5 hours of travel later I arrived in Rivas, the city where I would meet Yoge the next morning. About this place nothing to say, a road population in one of the most chaotic areas of Nicaragua. Not suitable for tourists. Unfortunately not late in finding a decent lodging for the night.

San Juan del Sur

(19-03-16) Around 10 in the morning I met Yoge, with whom we did nothing but have breakfast and head towards San Juan del Sur, one of the most touristic coastal towns in Nicaragua.

Where to sleep in San Juan del Sur

With so many people it was not easy to find an accommodation according to our personal and economic concerns but pulling the manual of the intrepid backpacker we ended up getting it. Our recommendations:

We spent the night at Chale’s House, for about € 24 a double room. A nice option for all budgets.

See Hostal Chales House

For € 32 the double with breakfast you can access the Hotel Nuestra Casa. Rated with a 9 on Booking.

See Hotel Our House

It prefers something of a certain standard, and the Hotel HC Liri will meet your expectations. About € 60 is the price of the double room with breakfast in this hotel rated 9 on Booking.

See Hotel HC Liri

Installed, showered and eaten …

… we went out. I must admit that I am not a coastal man. In other words, I like coastal towns and beautiful beaches, but as long as the place has something more to offer than sand, hammocks and beach bars. And that is exactly what San Juan del Sur offers.

San Juan del Sur is a coastal town of about 8000 inhabitants, located in the south of Nicaragua, very close to the border with Costa Rica. Due to its location in the map, in this town national tourism meets foreign, creating an atmosphere at least curious.

In real life this is a purely theoretical something because in the practical they do not converge too much. Nationals go one way …

… and foreigners on the other.

And although basically both are looking for beach and alcohol …

… Each one keeps on own offer of services.

Exactly, the beach is west facing …

… For it, he gives us a green card, spectacular.

In this way the sun said goodbye to us, putting a precious finishing touch to our day there.

(03-20-16) Although it was fitting in our plan to have spent some more day in San Juan del Sur, this is not the kind of place where people like us especially enjoy what we took our way to mid-morning.

How to go to Ometepe Island

Our next stop was Ometepe, a volcanic island located in the middle of the Cocibolca lake that has converted into one of the most famous in Nicaragua. Logically, to access the isle there is that to be done by ferry or boat. Around the lake there are several ports, but during this period the water level of the lake is very low and they only leave from the town of San Jorge, in the municipality of Rivas.

Our visit to San Jorge was such an expert. For the reason that was we had to wait about half an hour for the ferry tickets to be released and we were surrounded by impatient tourists and rude locals. I open parentheses. Anyway, a time in this part of Nicaragua if it is in agreement with a tourist destination, it makes sense to me that the company of Nicaraguan people does not accept the sacrament in this situation. Far from taking advantage of the growth possibilities that tourism can bring to a country in need, in general it takes little care of the tourist, if dealt with abruptness and is deceived too much. Included in many places the feeling that the traveler bothers. Of course I cannot generalize because there are many sites where people have had a great time with us,

San Jorge was one of the most beautiful places in the world. Even more so when Cases lose the ferry despite having arrived on time. At the same time, the buses in Nicaragua do not need to go up to the time indicated until the time when you consider it.

But despite everything, the ferry trip truly deserved infinitely worthwhile. And it is that the two volcanoes of more than a thousand meters of altitude that make up the island create from afar (and close) a spectacular greenishly print.

Ometepe Island

Little more than an hour later we arrived at Ometepe Island, whence we took the first surprise of the night: the accommodation we had reserved was 30 kilometers from the port of Moyogalpa, the landing place. The next surprise was that at the time that the car was not in the form of the haste, it was to pay a taxi. The third and last surprise is that the taxi cost … $ 20!

Lodgings in Ometepe

20 dollars for a 27 kilometer journey in the same country where I have paid less than 5 dollars for traveling 200 kilometers. But it was already dark so that was that or it was nothing, so much as I was outraged and if I showed it to the taxi driver… at the end we released the money. At night we arrived at our accommodation, which looked much better from the reception than when you were handed the keys to your room. It was not a great thing, but any mattress is a good bed. So I prefer to recommend other places to sleep on the island:

Because of its authenticity, Ometepe is an ideal place to use AirBnb and stay in local houses. If you have not yet registered, here is an invitation.

€ 25 gift in AirBnb

In Moyogalpa, the town where the ferry leaves you, is the Hostal Casa Moreno. € 19 for this double room in the accommodation valued in 8.4.

See Hostal Casa Moreno

On the other side of the Concepción volcano, in Altagracia, is the Hotel San Juan de la Isla. € 71 in this habitable double room with a lodging of 8.4 in Booking.

See Hotel San Juan de la Isla

In Balgue, at the foot of the Maderas volcano, is the Totoco Eco Lodge, one of the most “luxurious” accommodations in Ometepe. € 90 is the price of a double room in this hotel rated with an 8.0.

See Totoco Eco Lodge

(03-21-16) As you marry every day of the trip we fell out of bed soon, although for blog reasons it took us a little while to leave the place. Great mistake. By the time we wanted to realize it, it was around 11 in the morning and the heat was unbearable. To give her dramatism to the thing, the distances in Ometepe are long and taxis, as you have seen, very expensive, so we opted to rent bicycles. Anyway traveling there with a rental car (if they can get in the ferry) is also a good option.

See car rentals in Nicaragua

As I have already told you, Ometepe is an island in the middle of Lake Cocibolca, with a shape of 8 and that it has in a surface with two volcanoes: the Concepción and the Maderas. So today they are inactive, their development is largely the result of the activity of these colossi.

Ometepe is believed to have had a human presence for more than 3,000 years. Including there was a time when the island was a small fort for pirates trying to control the city of Granada.

Actually, the nearly 30,000 residents that populate the island are largely dedicated to tourism, although they also maintain their old trades in the field of livestock and cultivation, especially of the plane tree.

That morning our plan was to reach the Charco Verde lake, one of the most visited corners of the island. In the theory of 15 kilometers separated us from there for what seemed like a reasonable fate for our bikes. In practice, look for 40 grades that would do on the island blew us half an hour from the hostel so that we change our plan. We would spend the morning soaking.


Precisely Ojo de agua is the result of this mentioned volcanic activity. Del Concepción swirls a fresh stream of water that has an open space for creating a “natural” swimming pool.

Evidently, there is no swimming pool for the use, which is bi-rodent and natural, the gaze of two impressive volcanoes. However, the environment in the enclosure is the one that probably has in the swimming pool.

Anyway, only for a few days of 30 degrees justifies the $ 3 entry fee.

Refreshed we return to our bike path, this time in search of food.

Luckily, it didn’t take us long to find what we were looking for …

… And with the tripe already full, we took the opportunity to visit one of the Ometepe beaches.

Evidently, the island rises above a lake so the Ometepe beaches are not of fine sand and turquoise water.

However, they are quite charming and it is a good place to see the last rays of the sun …

… Gave way to a precious moon.

(29-03-16) Knowing that we were in the land of volcanoes, our last day in Ometepe I dedicate it to suffer one of them. In view of our hostel was less than half an hour going from the Maderas volcano, around 8 in the morning we left to on conquest.

Maderas Volcano

A priori the challenge did not seem too complicated: about 6 kilometers separated us from our fate. Nothing seemed to indicate that the route was to become so complicated as finally it did. The first kilometers of ascent to the Maderas volcano are relatively easy. Although there is some slope (the summit if it is at 1500 meters), and the chimney is not in bad condition and you can go going at full speed. In addition the tour has a certain charm.

When you raise 3 kilometers from the street in the Mirador del Volcán Maderas, a green day was worth the effort.

The panoramic view of Ometepe from that point is truly impressive since it offers a privileged view of the Concepción volcano and of the two sides of the island.

But after this viewpoint, the ascent to Maderas goes from being something relatively simple to destroying you little by little. The trails are getting narrower, steeper and slippery until the chimney ends by becoming in mud. It was precise at the same time when, from the point of view, from the point of view and from the point of view, from the point of view and from the point of view that it was the top of the mountain, no need to be conditional on it. Of course there is having more head and physical capacity than we had to face this type of excursions, and that probably would have been more successful if it had been done with a guide. Yes, as you taste the war for your heart, no more than that for the respite of the street. As a result, any mishap in the foreign country can become a problem.

5% discount on Iati travel insurance

Turning to the walk, for lack of more than an endless kilometer, we turned around and started the descent, which was less casina but more complicated due to the instability of the ground. A few stumbles later and 8 hours later we arrived at the beginning of the road …

… And after buying and drinking 2 liters of water in one sitting, we decided to take refuge in the hostel, where we polished ourselves in the shower and went to sleep. Our days at Ometepe had come to an end. Hard days, very hot and racking but very satisfying for having been able to discover one of the most renowned corners of the country. Now our route has taken us to the city of Granada and we are not alone, someone has joined our adventure. But we will talk about that later. For now, the comments are open.

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