Backpacking Nicaragua: Ometepe Island

This week, Hannah’s regular contributions to The Most Alive while she backpacks through the Americas takes us to Nicaragua. Her pictures and tales from Ometepe Island has ensured the jealousy gauge stays at full strength! – Ash 

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Isla Ometepe is a small island formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua that is home to a  mysterious island community. I really enjoyed the few days I spent on this peaceful island…

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Without sounding too cliche, this place really does have an untouched feel to it. Made up of about six main towns,  the island has many beaches, houses and places to explore between each of them.

Ometepe is a very dark, quiet place at night with hardly any street lighting or nightlife scene, however the amount of things to do during the day made appreciate the lack of nightlife.

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Photo: Hannah Watkins

The main focus for most travellers to Ometepe is climbing the Volcanos. We opted to climb the smaller non-active Volcano, Maderas.

The night before our climb we met a lovely couple in there 60’s. They encouraged us to climb the next day, saying that the climb was very hard for them but they felt it was well worth the effort and assured us that as we were young and fit, we would have no problems.

Photo: Hannah Watkins

Photo: Hannah Watkins

The Volcano however, was a hike from hell.

We started off in high spirits expecting to cut the suggested six hour climb time in half…

Six hours later, sweaty, exhausted, battered and starving we made it to the ‘lake’ at the top of the volcano. The lake was really more a sinking mud pit, which wasn’t swimmable and due to the dense unkept jungle surrounding it, there was no view.

The hike itself literally feels like a vertical incline the whole 6 hours up and after the 4 hour steep hike down, I have never been more then happy to finish a hike.

My suggestion is to skip the volcano and enjoy the other activities the island has on offer.

One of the highlights of my time on the island was hiring motorbikes and exploring the different aspects that make up Ometepe.

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Motorbike adventures in Nicaragua, motorbikes on Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Photo: Hannah Watkins

If you are going to explore Ometepe by motorbike below are my top 3 suggestions of stops throughout your day.

  • The small village of Balgüe is a must- if only for “Café Campestre”. Eat either breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three at this Café and you will not regret it.
  • Cruise around to Ojo de Aqua, a natural spring and swimming hole. Surrounded by trees with crystal clear water, it is a beautiful way to lose hours of  your day.
  • Lastly, make sure you don’t miss sunset at Punta Jesus Maria. We nearly did due to a Motorbike malfunction but thankfully we just got the end of it and even that was worth all the stress of wheeling the bike down to a local mechanic and speeding off to catch the sun.

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With out going into detail about all the other abundance of activities and locations like great swimming holes, kayaking, restaurants, waterfalls and nature reserves, Ometepe island was an incredible experience and wouldn’t hesitate going back.

 

Hannah Watkins in BoliviaAbout Hannah: Hannah has spent the last seven years living, working and studying in Sydney, Australia where she worked professionally in the corporate event industry. She is a recent full-time traveller deciding to quit the rat race and explore the world. She hopes to inspire people to live their dreams as she lives out her on. Only new to the writing game she hopes to captivate people with the lessons learnt and the stories gained from the travellers road. You can read more about her travels and experiences on the road on her personal blog “Blue Marble Adventures”

 

Have you been to any ‘mysterious island destinations’ yourself? Or maybe there are some you’ve heard of and have your sights set to visit them in the future? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

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