A few of us decided to spend a weekend at Ometepe island after another week of fieldwork. From Managua, we took two cabs and a ferry.  Though I hear that people most commonly travel from Granada to get there.

We traveled in groups of four or five people so cab rides could cost at most 80 cordobas per person. 1 cordoba= 0.03 cents in US currency, so rides were generally under 5$. The rides took us a couple hours in total.

Once arriving at the port, we had to show our passports and pay the fee for the ferry (50 cords, or 2$) We could either pay at a booth or on the boat. The boat was two floors, but packed! There was the option of sitting inside for refreshments and a movie or outside. But most people stayed inside. Outside, one can get a good view of the Concepción volcano, which makes for a great photo op.  The hour boat ride went smoothly.

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Once docking, we got another view of the volcano as a backdrop!

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From the dock we headed toward The Landing hotel, but not without chaos. The streets were packed, worse since taxis blockaded part of the street. Further down the road, souvenir shops and tourism offices left and right. Part of the town is also inclined, so it made for a bit of a hike.

After probably a mile or so through the madness, we made it to the hotel lobby to check in. No crowds either! The hotel looked nice with mosaics and murals. And on the second floor, there was some gym equipment. However, the service was anything but nice.  We booked our rooms in advance (mine for 15$ a night), but our names were not on the list. While some of us had to wait to get a room, others decided to go to a hotel across the street. I wouldn’t blame them either. The electricity went out too, prolonging the wait time.

Thankfully, I was able to get a room, a pretty one as well.

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We soon got word about checking out the sunset. So by evening, we went out to the dock to view it. It was mostly cloudy out, with a reflection in the water, and ferries frequently were sailing toward it. These factors alone made it worth the view!

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By the second day, we decided to take a half-day guided tour around the island to the following attractions; Charco verde (Green lagoon), Ojo de agua (spring), Punta Jesus Maria; and the Santo Domingo beach. We rode a van to each one, with a light hike at each stop. We also had an awesome tour guide who was bilingual.

Charco Verde

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The first stop was the Charco Verde Ecological Reserve, where we encountered howler monkeys and many species of birds, butterflies, and trees.

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Welcome to the Charco Verde Eco Reserve

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monarch butterfly

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Howler monkey

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Also, there was the legend of Chico Largo (tall boy), a tale of fear and reincarnation. He was buried in the bottom of the green lagoon, where rituals would be held. Some claim him to be a demon, while others say that people were turned into cows if they gave their souls to him!

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From there, we journeyed further into the Charco Verde, leading us to the Santo Domingo beach with volcanic sand. It also allows an opportunity to view the Maderas volcano and some flora!

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Ojo de Agua

Next on the itinerary was the Ojo de Agua, a warm beautiful spring. You could think about it as a natural water park: It’s located deep in a forest with volcanic water, chairs, rope swing, and a rope for swinging and tightrope crossing. It’s a great place to take a swim, read a book, and have yourself a coconut drink.

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Yup that’s right! Natural coconut water is sold for 25 cordobas, under a dollar. Or, one could buy the coco-loco (coconut water with rum) for 80 cordobas. But even better, the vendor cuts the coconut on-site with a machete! So once you buy a coconut beverage, you can see it being prepared firsthand, the same way you would see food prepared at a Japanese restaurant. And these aren’t your typical brown coconuts!

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We spent a good hour or two at the spring.

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Punta Jesus Maria

The next and last attraction on our itinerary was the Punta Jesus Maria, a beach where waves clash into each other from two sides. There’s also a long stretch of sand where one can walk. It’s truly an amazing site!

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We ended the tour by midday, allowing us time to shop. The shops we went to mainly had trinkets like keychains and some wooden art.

By the third day, we left the island taking the ferry once more and two buses to return to Managua. The bus ride back was quite an experience: We hit a lot of traffic on the way back and stopped frequently for police checks. The buses filled up within a few stops and passengers who stood in the bus had railings to hang on to. Some of these passengers were two daughters and their elder mother. So I gave my seat to her and socialized with the daughters, who originally thought I was from Costa Rica (since we were almost at to the border). We talked about how important it is to care for one another in today’s world. It was short talk though since so much air was blowing in the bus and made it difficult to hear.

Thankfully, we made it back to Managua safe and sound!

 

Sources

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