I enjoyed this quiet hideway, for a number of reasons, the restaurant overlooking the lake, the cabins, awakening to the sound of howler monkeys, the beach and even the odd sow pig wandering about on the road in front of the hotel.
We met a guy (Hector) at the ferry ticket office who organised us accommodation and transport on the island. He told us that Hotel Villa Paraiso is the best place to stay and he was right.
It is a lovely resort perched on a cliff overlooking the lake with Volcan Maderas to the right. We had a lovely chalet with a patio and hammock. It is a little pricey at $40 but its very nice.
Hacienda Magdalena is a very basic hostel. You can stay in dormitories, or as we did in hammocks at the terrace. For that we paid 20 c (year 2000-prices).
They serve meals on request all day, and there is a very little shop where beer and basic stuff is sold.
The hacienda is a coffee-cooperative.
We arrived when it was dark to Balgües, and luckily we found a guy that was willingly to show us the way to the hacienda. He let us by torchlight through the bananafields on muddy tracks to the finca. Here we arrived tired from a long days journey and hungry. We didn't know what to expect, and we were glad when we found out we could order dinner at the place.
We went to sleep in our hammocks at the terrace, and the next morning the first thing we saw when we opened our eyes, where the beatuful surroundings, views to the lake and the volcano. And then we noticed the men on horses just in front of us, leading all the cows to the fields.
The hacienda is a popular place for starting the climb of Volcán Madera. We hired a guide at the hacienda to help us up the track to the summit. It took about 5 hours and the track was very muddy.
A great place to stay with a unbelievable view of Volcan Concepcion and the Lago de Nicaragua. Cost per night is $1-3 U.S dollars and food is also very reasonable. It is also a great place to take off from to hike up Volcan Maderas.
With a name like Chico Largo, how can you go wrong? We decided to go to the west coast of the north volcano for a night on or way back to San Jorge and spent a night at a side of the road beach hostel called Chico Largo.
This photo is of the toad next to my bed. Need I say more?
Finca Magdalena was recommended to me because of the amazing views of Volcan Concepcion and its location actually on the Volcan Maderas.
Although difficult to get to, it is an amazing place, and well worth the trip. After the ferry and the long bus ride, it is actually a 2km, partly uphill walk to the finca. I was lucky enough to catch a ride, definately don't be shy!but be prepared to walk, ,just in case.
From the finca, you can hire a guide (please hire a guide) to hike the volcano with you, which takes about 8 or 9 hours, and up to the crater lake. If that isn't for you, you can take a shorter hike around the finca and see petroglyphs and wildlife.
They have a good restaurant and anything else you might need.
I rented a single room that came with a mosquito net and an incredible view of the lake (which really looks like the ocean) for $3 per night. The rooms are in a converted barn, which only maks the experience even more interesting.
Located on the stretch of land that connects the two volcanoes, this hotel offers a comfortable day at the beach. It is a little pricey by Nicaraguan standards, but it is clean, comfortable, with good food and great views. The couple who runs the place are friendly and helpful. From here you can arrange any number of day activities, or be content to simply lounge on the beach.
This is a very basic pension. There are no luxuries, no tv, no email, nothing... you sleep in cots and there are showers available as well as a cloth washing area. It's not for the faint of hearted since it requires patience to get there. The reward though is priceless.
The Finca Magdalena is a strange heaven in the middle of nowhere. It’s a nice place to chill for days or weeks and let the traveling worries behind. Just enjoy a good game of cards with the rest of the traveller and sip the tasty Nicaraguan beer (adquired taste actually since it's rather weak).
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