Isla de Ometepe is the name of an island in Lake Nicaragua. With a size of 270 square kilometers, Ometepe is the largest island of volcanic origin in a freshwater lake. The shape and the natural conditions, both the mountainous relief and the first-class volcanic soils, are due to the volcanic origin. In addition to its scenic beauty, which increasingly attracts tourists, the island is known for the cultivation of fine tobacco.
The Ometepe myth
According to legend, Ometepe was born out of a tragic love affair. Similar to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, according to a legend from the Nahuatl people, a young woman and a young man from enemy clans have met in secret. When their secret love is discovered, they decide to commit suicide and open their arteries to each other. The shape of the island, with its two mountains, is said to have resulted from the breasts of the tragically perished chief daughter, while the nearby island of Zapatera is the remains of her lover, which protrude from the couple’s blood.
Agriculture and tobacco growing
In Central America, in addition to growing tobacco, Ometepe is best known for plantains that thrive here. Watermelons and sesame are also grown. Tourism plays an increasingly important role for the region, which fortunately has proven to be quite stable in recent years.
Chinese mega project
A Chinese mega-project poses a threat to the unique nature of Nicaragua. As an alternative to the Panama Canal, Lake Nicaragua is to be used as a link between the Pacific and the Atlantic. The lake would thus be degraded to a sea road used by container ships. The land between sea and ocean would have to be torn across the entire width of the continent.
Ometepe tobacco is still relatively rare. It is often cultivated by small farmers who cultivate other agricultural products in addition to tobacco. If the tobacco is used, it shows a peppery and spicy side and is medium to very strong.