Isla de Ometepe is a small island located in Lake Nicaragua. The island is famous for its two volcanoes and the stunning nature. For visitors, there are loads of activities to do and things to see. Either you want to hike a volcano, swim in an idyllic lagoon or drive around the island and watch the rural life of the island, Isla de Ometepe is a great place to spend a couple of days when visiting Nicaragua.
Ometepe is made by two big volcanoes. Concepción is the biggest one, 1600 meters tall, and a popular volcano to hike by adventure seeking travellers. The hike is hard and steep, and takes more than 8 hours. Concepción is still active and had its last eruption in 2010. The other volcano, Maderas, has a heigh of 1394 meters and is quite a hike itself.
We had one day and two nights on the island. Climbing one of the volcanos in the heat and humidity was not very tempting, and we wanted to see as much as possible in the one day we had on the island. Even though the island is quite small, the distances are too far for walking. Most travellers choose to rent a scooter, car or bike to explore it. We rented an ATV for the whole day, which was perfect as we also could go off-road with it. Our accommodation provided us the ATV, but we saw several places offering it in Moyogalpa. The price was 60USD for a day.
It is very easy to navigate when driving around the island, as the island only has one main road. We started in Moyogalpa, the “main town” on the island, before we drove to Punta Jesus Maria. This is a black sand beach that gives the perfect view of Concepción. Continuing along the main road, we found several beautiful view spots, green areas with cows walking around and quiet beaches. Such an amazing drive!
Ojo de Agua (“the eye of the water”) is a beautiful, natural spring located in the jungle on the island, and we stopped by and stayed for a couple of hours. The fresh water actually comes from one of the volcanoes! This is the perfect place to cool down as the water is quite cold (well, as a Norwegian I still found it more than hot enough). The entrance fee is 3USD and the natural pool is built up by stairs making it easier to swim in. The site also has sunbeds/chairs and a restaurant. This place is just stunning and a must to visit while on the island!
In addition to these few spots that are “musts” to visit, you should drive around and check out the rural areas. The whole island is lush and green, and everywhere you go you can see people riding horses and there are cows and pigs on every corner.
There are also a few small villages placed around the island, so while driving around you will find places to take a drink or eat lunch. We had an amazing lunch in the village Santa Cruz, in a restaurant called Nectar.
Where to stay in Isla de Ometepe
As mentioned, the distances are too far for walking. I would stay near one of the biggest villages so you can find restaurants and shops within a walking distance. No matter where you stay I also recommend renting a scooter/ATV to get around as I heard that the taxis are quite expensive (there are chicken buses available, but I did not check these out).
We stayed at Puesta del Sol Homestay. I have done homestays before and I think it is a good experience, but honestly I am not sure if I would recommend this homestay. It seemed very organized and more like a guesthouse. It may just be the case for the family I stayed at, as I talked to others who were very happy about their stay at Puesta del Sol. Another downside is that the location of these homestays is not in walking distance to the nearest village, which makes you quite stuck in the evening.
How to get to Isla de Ometepe
To get to the island, you take the ferry from San Jorge. It is not that far, but the ferry is slow and the journey takes 1-1,5 hour. Get ready for a bumpy ride with loads of waves!
In cooperation with momondo
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