Isla de Ometepe Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by rosequartzlover1
  • Things to Do
    by rosequartzlover1
  • Things to Do
    by rosequartzlover1

Most Recent Things to Do in Isla de Ometepe

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    Playa Santo Domingo

    by mircaskirca Updated May 15, 2011

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    the view of Volc��n Maderas from Natural
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    Situated on the north-eastern side, at the narrow wedge of land that connects the Maderas and Concepción side of the island, Playa Santo Domingo is a 4 km long stretch of gray sand which is said to be one of the prettiest freshwater beaches in Nicaragua. With the forest-covered Vulcán Maderas looming at the beach’s end, it is truly magical. The swimming can be nice but with the constant breeze the water is usually choppy and it can get windy. At the time of my visit the water level was very high due to a lot of rain in the previous months, so the sandy beach literary disappeared. But it was still fun sitting at one of the restaurants, just a step from the lake and with beach umbrellas literary in the water.

    Playa Santo Domingo is one of Ometepe’s main tourist destinations with some of the island’s finest accommodation options and scenic lakeside restaurants and bars. The main attraction is certainly the beach though Playa Santo Domingo can be also an ideal base to explore the surroundings. There is a short trail that leads into the isthmus of Ometepe and to the river Istián (actually a swamp) with its rich bird life. The best way to explore the river is by kayak. Another pleasant stroll is to Ojo de Agua, two natural pools with refreshing water. Surrounded by forest, the place kept its tropical look.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Food and Dining
    • Beaches

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    Finca Ecologica El Zopilote

    by mircaskirca Updated May 13, 2011

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    On the way back from Finca Magdalena to El Porvenir I also wanted to visit Finca Ecologica El Zopilote. It's a permaculture farm located in a quiet place, a 10-minute walk up the trail from the village of El Madroñal, run by a few peace-loving Italians, working with respect for the environment and nature. The finca offers to the visitors different types of accommodation such as camping, hammocks, dorm beds and private cabañas. All the cabins are constructed from natural materials and are integrated perfectly into the surrounding nature. The roofs are all made from natural palm leaves from the island. In order to limit the use of cement in El Zopilote they make use of natural stone and rock as well as recycling materials such as glass, bottles and metal.

    There is a communal kitchen where guests can cook their own meals, and three times a week they organize pizza nights with a good selection of organic pizzas to choose from. You can have tropical fruits for free as well filtered water. The compound has compost toilets, an artisan's workshop and a clay oven for bread and pizza. The land is completely planted with trees and plants of all kinds, including a nursery and a vegetable garden. There is also a wonderful lookout where you can watch amazing sunset with the volcan in the background.

    For those interested in permaculture, sustainable living and ecology they organize tours with one of the owners where you will get hands on experience with permaculture, composting, rainwater harvesting, solar power, recycle of all the trash, and more. And there is always plenty of work in El Zopilote so they have open arms for volunteers and WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) members that come to work and learn how a tropical farm operates.

    And don't forget to check out the yummy products in the small shop. All the products are organic and handmade in the farm. The list is huge. You can get everything from coffee, chocolate (6 different flavours), homemade nutella (rich chocolate-peanut spread), peanut butter, tahini, marmalades (made with seasonal fruits, herbs and spices from the farm), mango chutney, liqueurs (made from various herbs, nuts, fruits and spices), honey, juices, yogurt, granola, muffins, cookies and cakes, whole wheat bread, tomato sauce, chili oil and chili paste, cold pressed coconut oil and banana vinegar, and also soap (natural soaps made with oils and plants from the finca), natural sponges and notebooks (made from their homemade recycled paper). I would certainly buy lots of their products if I stayed on the island longer. But it was my last day so not very practical to carry them with me. I only bought three chocolate pralines with different flavour: coffee, nuts and coconut. A top-grade chocolate products with exquisite taste!

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    • Eco-Tourism
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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    Moyogalpa - the Getaway to Ometepe

    by mircaskirca Updated May 11, 2011

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    the main drag of Moyogalpa
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    Located on the north-western coast of the island, Moyogalpa is the getaway to Ometepe, via 1-hour ferry ride from San Jorge on the mainland. The name in the Nahuatl language means 'place of the mosquitos'. Not just the ferry terminal, Moyogalpa is the largest village and commercial centre on Isla de Ometepe with the only bank and ATM, a post office, a tourist office, a choice of hotels, bars, restaurants and shops, and the fastest internet on the island. It's also a home base to most of the island's tour companies, and the best starting point for a hike on the Vulcán Concepción.

    From the port, Moyogalpa's main drag rises up to a charming Catholic church where it meets the road connecting to the rest of the island's communities. La Sala Arqueológica, located toward the top of the main street, seems to have a small but interesting collection of pre-Columbian artifacts found on the island over years, but unfortunately I only stayed in Moyogalpa shortly so there was no time to visit it.

    The Vulcán Concepción looms over Moyogalpa, providing a dramatic and ever-changing backdrop to the town scenery. Moyogalpa also has a perfect location for watching the sunset which is best to enjoyed at the small park at the side of the port.

    Several fiestas are held in Moyagalpa. The most important celebration is the patron's saint (Santa Ana) festival which takes place from July 23 – 26, featuring the Baile de las Inditas which is performed in much the same way as the indigenous dance it replaced, with traditional costumes and the resonant sound of the marimba.

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    • Food and Dining
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Petroglyphs

    by mircaskirca Updated May 8, 2011

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    Ometepe is known for its rich pre-Columbian past. Petroglyphs and stone statues are scattered all over the island but the biggest concentration of them can be found on the north and northeastern slopes of Volcán Maderas. More than 1700 petroglyphs have been found on Ometepe and the oldest are thought to have been made around 1000 B.C. Some of the best places to see petroglyphs in their original place are at Albergue Ecológico El Porvenir and on Finca Magdalena. At El Porvenir there is a well-marked trail where you can see approximately 20 of these rock carvings. Visitors have to pay 1 US $ (December 2010) but for guests of El Porvenir it was free.

    Petroglyphs on the island of Ometepe paid homage to the Nahuatl gods. The most common motif is the spiral, representing perhaps calendars or the Nahuatl concept of time and space. Their calendar consisted of 18 months of 20 days each, which made a year of 360 days. Other images carved in the rocks depict anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, like lizards, turtles, frogs and monkeys.

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    Horse Riding

    by mircaskirca Updated May 8, 2011

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    my guide preparing the horse
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    Horse riding is a wonderful pastime activity on the island. In many ways, it is the best way to get around this muddy and steep terrain, and experience the island's village life. Surprisingly, no independent operator is offering rides yet, so ask at your hotel. Normally you can rent horses for between 5 US $ and 7 US 4 an hour, which should come with a guide. Where you go it depends on the area you rent from. You can go for a ride towards the lake and get the chance to explore the tiny villages. The beaches around Santo Domingo are also a nice place to ride.

    As I was staying at Albergue Ecológico El Porvenir, it was most convenient to rent a horse there. I asked the owner José what were the options and he suggested a ride to the slopes of Vulcán Maderas. We left El Porvenir at 8am following a trail to the volcano. It was a steep terrain through the forest, plantations and pastures scattered with volcanic rocks, offering some great views. After about an hour ride we came to a huge bean field where we left the horses. We took a short walk to a viewpoint where we were able to appreciate a fantastic panoramic view of Ometepe and Lago Nicaragua, with Volcán Concepción in the background.

    The ride took 2,5 hours and it was 5 US $ per hour (December 2010).

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    • Horse Riding
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Rent a Mountain bike

    by Spacemanspiff Updated Nov 13, 2010

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    The unpaved portion of the roads around the island are ideal for mountain biking. The southeastern section of the island in particular is mostly unpaved, rutted and muddy. In other words beautiful mountain bike country and you will be on the road with the horseback riders, dirt bikers, walkers and cow herders. It is not unusual to see folks riding double on these unpaved roads. we saw some familys riding four to a bike in Granada on the pavement.

    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Budget Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Playa Santo Domingo

    by MalenaN Written Mar 26, 2010

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    Playa Santo Domingo
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    At the isthmus between the Concepción side and the Maderas side of the island is Playa Santo Domingo. Here you will find several hotels with restaurants and the longest beach on the island. It is often very windy at Playa Santo Domingo, maybe too windy sometimes for laying on the beach.
    There is a small canopy zip line here and as in other places on the island you can rent bikes and go horse riding.

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    Merida

    by MalenaN Updated Mar 26, 2010

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    The dock in Merida
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    Merida is a village on the west side of Vulcán Maderas. It is the end stop for the buses and there are a few cheap hotels here.

    I came to Merida on bike and had lunch at the hotel Hacienda Merida, a place that used to be a farm belonging to the Somoza family. I had a tasty lunch in the restaurant and then walked down to the lake. At the jetty there were a couple of boats and two tourist coming down to the jetty with their luggage told me they were taking the boat to Moyogalpa. Apparently there was a new boat service between Merida and Moyogalpa and this sounds to be a good option as the buses are not frequent.

    If you stay in Merida you can do activities like horseback riding, kayaking and mountain biking. It is also easy to make excursions to Vulcán Maderas, Cascada San Ramón (a 40m high waterfall) and to El Cogüito (Monkey Island).

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    Altagracia

    by MalenaN Written Feb 12, 2010

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    In Altagracia

    Altagracia is a small town situated northeast of Volcán Concepción. Before the arrival of the Spaniards the name of the town was Astagalpa, which means House of the Herones in náhuatl.

    In Altagracia there is a large Parque Central. This is where the buses stop. Around the park there are several food stalls and you will also find the church and the museum near by. If you want to stay in Altagracia there are a few hotels.

    Just north of Altagracia there is a ferry terminal with ferries to Granada and San Carlos (twice a week to both destinations).

    During November 12 - 18 the Fiesta de San Diego is celebrated in Altagracia.

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    Altagracia Church

    by MalenaN Written Feb 6, 2010

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    Photo exhibition

    Altagracia church is situated next to Parque Central. It is a yellow building dating from 1924 and it is connected to an older church building. In the older church there was a photo exhibition when I visited. It was a lovely photo exhibition with photos from Nicaragua, by Nicaraguan photographers. To visit the exhibition a donation of 20 cordobas should be paid (July 2009). Outside the church there is a Sculpture Park with pre-Colombian basalt rock figures, like eagles and jaguars.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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    Museo de Ometepe, Altagracia

    by MalenaN Written Feb 6, 2010

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    Pottery in the museum
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    The Museo de Ometepe was founded in 1994. This small museum will give you good information of the history, geography and traditions of the island. In a small courtyard there are some petroglyphs and stone statues. In the exhibition you will also see pottery, traditional dresses and a model of the island and its volcanoes.

    The admission was 30 cordobas (July 20099.
    The museum is open between 8am - 4pm, Mondays - Saturdays.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Moyogalpa

    by MalenaN Written Jan 26, 2010

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    Street in Moyogalpa

    The ferry from San Jorge arrives in Moyogalpa, a small town with a population of 6700 inhabitants. As I arrived I arranged for a hike to Volcán Concepción, and then bought snacks, sweets and water at one of the small supermarkets up the road. Then I bought an ice cream at Eskimo, situated by the yellow church at the end of the road, before going to the bus stop.

    If you want to travel on from Moyogalpa you can catch a bus down by the ferry terminal or from the road opposite the church.

    In Moyogalpa you can find several hotels, restaurants and Internet cafes. There is also a small archaeological museum, which I didn’t visit.

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    Reserva Charco Verde

    by MalenaN Written Jan 23, 2010

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    Reserva Charco Verde
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    A short walk from Playa Venecia is the Reserva Charco Verde. I took a hiking trail beginning at Hotel Charco Verde and this late afternoon I didn’t see any other persons along the path. I saw a lot of birds though and the landscape was lush and green so it was a very nice walk.

    The trail passes the Laguna Charco Verde, a green pond said to be home of the ancient witch Chico Largo. According to the legend he is there to protect the tomb and gold throne of Cacique Nicarao, who is buried here. In change of your soul Chico Largo can also give you a life of luxury. But remember your soul will become a cow!

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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
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    Volcán Maderas

    by MalenaN Written Jan 17, 2010

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    Volc��n Maderas

    The second volcano on Isla de Ometepe is Volcán Maderas. It is inactive and 1394 metres high. If you take the Maderas hike you will ascent through tropical forest up to the rim of the crater (there is no view from here), and then there is a steep descent to a crater lake. The volcano was mostly covered in thick clouds during my visit on the island.

    I had planed to do the Maderas hike as well and asked for it at El Porvenir. A guided tour would be 20 dollars (July 2009) if I was alone and 10 dollars if another person also came. In the end I didn’t do the hike as I realised a Public Holiday was coming up and there could be problems with less transport the day I was supposed to go to Granada, so I left Ometepe a day earlier than planed.

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    • National/State Park
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    Hiking on Volcán Concepción

    by MalenaN Written Jan 17, 2010

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    At 1000 metres
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    Volcán Concepción is the highest of the two volcanoes on Isla de Ometepe. It has a perfect cone shape and is 1610 metres high. Concepción is an active volcano with smoke coming out of the crater. I visited during the rainy season so the volcano was mostly covered with clouds (very much the day I did the hike).

    Right after arriving to Moyogalpa I arranged for the hike to Volcán Concepción with Ometepe Expeditions. The tour was 15 dollars (July 2009) to the middle (actually 1000metres) and 20 dollars if we went further (to the top I thought). The price only includes the guides, no transport and no snacks. When I booked the tour we were three people in the group and we were told to be in Moyogalpa at 7am (there was a bus passing Playa Venecia around 6am). But in the evening the man from the agency was at Playa Venecia and we were now eight people in the group, so it was arranged that a car from the hotel would take us in the morning, not only to Moyogalpa, but to the place were the trek began. And it was going to pick us up later in the afternoon to return us in the afternoon. It was going to be 5 dollars each. In the morning the group had increased and we were now ten tourists. No prices decreased though.

    In the morning we stopped at a supermarket in Moyogalpa to buy water and snacks. The guide advised us to buy three big bottles each, that’s 4.5 litres. I had only intended to buy two but followed the guides advise. The backpack became very heavy of course and after the hike I had still one bottle left.

    We had two guides and were divided in two smaller groups of five and then started the hike. The first part of the trek is only sloping gently but it soon becomes steep. We walked through a lush green tropical forest and saw both howler monkeys and white faced monos. At higher elevation the vegetation changed and soon after passing the tree line we stopped. We were at 1000 metres and from here you will have a spectacular view if it is clear, which is was not on the day I visited. We sat down to rest and ate our snacks. It was quite cold and windy and I changed my wet t-shirt to a dry one to keep warm.

    It had been a quite hard ascent and we were only three from the group who wanted to go further up. It was now even steeper and it was rocks and loose volcanic rook (see photos in travelouge). We went to 1300 metres and were told we could not go further. It is too dangerous with strong wind and ravines. I guess that if you want to reach the top it should be done in the dry season.

    When we walked through the forest on our way down we suddenly heard a roar, it was the rain arriving, one of the most heavy downpours I have seen. I was lucky I had my camera in two plastic bags. In the end of the hike we caught up with the rest of the group. Even if we were all soaking wet and it had been cloudy the hike was absolutely worth doing.

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    • National/State Park

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