Walking through the streets of Granada, I paired up with my two mates, Matt and Dave, who I had met in El Tunco, to make the journey together, down the little strip of land between the enormous Lake Nicaragua, and the Pacific Ocean. We would be heading in that direction to transfer through the small, "nothing to see here" town of Rivas, then onto San Jorge, the port town to the final destination, Isla Ometepe or Ometepe Island.
I had taken some advice from my brother, as to places to go, things to experience in Nicaragua, and one piece of advice, was to visit Isla Ometepe, not because he enjoyed it, but because he never made it there, and regrets it. No Regrets Lifestyle, I can't let that happen so I mad a point of it in my journey to blaze my trail down the pacific side of Nicaragua, and have Ometepe as a highlight on my list.
Isla Ometepe, is a very unique island that continues the theme of me not being able to distance myself from volcanoes, as it contains two volcanoes, of varying sizes, with a thinning, connecting piece of land between the two. Jumping back to leaving Granada, the lads and I were lucky enough to bump into a cab driver who was heading back to Rivas, where we could throw him some money for petrol and get a cheap, comfortable direct lift to our penultimate destination, San Jorge, the port town where you depart to Ometepe. An honest driver, surprisingly quick trip, and we were passing through Rivas towards San Jorge. Tossed the driver a few Cordoba tip, purely as appreciation for his honesty, and we waddled with our bags over to a neighbouring cafe as our boat still had an hour before it departed.
I use the term "boat" very loosely when referring to the engine powered driftwood that led us over to Isla Ometepe, because as I mention in the video, "I could talk this boat into sinking." The engine was chugging so slowly, and a worker was pulling water from some compartment in the engine for the whole hour journey across the water.
We unloaded in Moyogalpa, got set up a Yogi's hostel, did a bit of walking around before having a BBQ at night and turning in, to prepare for our scooter trip the next day. We arose, shoveled in some rice and beans, and walked to the street behind our hostel to get set up with our scooters. We were fuelled up on carbs, the scooters on fossil fuels and it was go time.
The first few kilometers of the trip was on hand laid brick road, passing a gas station, tiny houses, a landing strip for the airport, and eventually into thinning civilization and then pure jungle. At one point, as the elevation increased, and the foliage cleared, we slowed right on the connector part of land between the two main bits of the island, and got an incredible view of the volcano, and the mass of water, which is so large, you often forget, it is a lake. Our first stop, was a place called "Ojo de Agua" or "Eye of Water" which was very similar to a fresh water cenote, located on the Riviera Maya.
The breeze as you scooter around Ometepe keeps you cool, but its still warm all year round here, so a refreshing dip into the water was very welcomed and affordable for only . We relaxed on the lounge chairs, jumped off the diving board, and tried to balance on the slack line for a little bit before sitting our soggy butts back onto the saddles of our scooters and heading off again. A quick stop before the "town" of Balgue, we treated ourselves to, as we all agreed, the best meal of the trip. To explain where this place was would be impossible, as it was just a cinder block house, with an open pit fire inside and an absolute wizard of a chef, cooking things up. Balgue proved to be the end of the road for us, quite literally, as it turned from tarmac to bumpy dirt, not suitable for our steeds. That was as far as we would be going.
The journey back, was as enjoyable as the journey there, and we passed through some beautiful mist as we crossed back over the center connecting portion of the island. As we approached the landing strip of the airport, which the road crosses over, we stopped at a "palapa" or thatch roof hut, that had a well placed picture of an ice cold beer. Slamming on the brakes, I signalled for the lads behind to pull off to the left and we park our scooters off to the side and took a seat. Plastic chairs and tables, pounded flat clay served as the floor, and the thick thatched roof sheltered us as the rain settled in as we each enjoyed a big cold beer each put a cherry, on an absolute gem of a day.
Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua, so far has provided the best day of my trip. Share this post to someone who is going to Nicaragua to push them to go check out Ometepe. Any questions about Ometepe or Nicaragua, drop me a line, or write in the comments on the Isla Ometepe video, above.