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Ometepe (also called Ōmetepētl which means two mountains in the Nahuatl language), is an island of Nicaragua, is located inside Lake Nicaragua, also called Cocibolca, it is made up of two volcanoes joined together, the Concepcion and the Maderas. It is the largest lake island in Latin America. Administratively it is part of the Rivas Department.
Its surface is 276 km² and its population amounts to around 35,000 inhabitants. The most important urban centers are Moyogalpa and Altagracia, which are also the two main ports for accessing the island from the cities of Granada, San Carlos and San Jorge, located on the mainland. The territory has a maximum length of about 32 kilometers, its width can reach 20 kilometers.
The Concepcion volcano that rises up to 1,610 meters above sea level. it has a maximum cone diameter of 14 kilometers. Its last eruption in the form of expulsion of ashes is dated 2005, while the last in lava form dates back to 1957, which forced the evacuation of the island. Previously after a long period of inactivity the Concepcion awoke in 1883 with an event lasting four years. Since then other phenomena occurred in the years 1889, 1902, 1907 and 1924. In 2005, an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude also occurred as a consequence of the internal pressure of the magma. Its slopes are covered with protected woods.
The Maderas volcano has a height of 1,394 meters a.s.l. and a diameter at the base which is up to 10 kilometers. The latest eruption is eight centuries ago, so much so that it is considered extinct. On its crater there is a small lagoon, the Maderas Lagoon. Its surrounding area of 4,100 hectares of nature reserve is a popular tourist attraction.
Stone engraving in Ometepe
There is evidence that Ometepe has been inhabited since about the year 1500 BC. It appears that these were populations that emigrated from South America to present-day Mexico. On the island there are ceramics and sculptures carved in the basaltic rock that are now on display in the park of the church of Altagracia and in the national museum of Managua. These artifacts are attributable to the same school that is found on the island Zapatera made by the Chorotega culture.
On the island there are engravings on the rock dated around 300 BC.
In the colonial period the island was used as a refuge by pirates during their sacking of the city of Granada, they come from the Caribbean sea using the connection constituted by the San Juan river. In addition to the looting, the pirates themselves also carried out kidnappings of women, which forced the local population to hide in the interior.
Nowadays a great effort is underway to ensure that Ometepe gradually enhances and improves its tourism infrastructures.
360 degree panorama of Ometepe