Visiting Ometepe Island, Nicaragua


Ometepe Island is a real Natural Wonder. No words are enough to describe its beauty.

Concepción Volcano, Ometepe. Photo by Bosa Tours

Concepción Volcano, Ometepe. Photo by Bosa Tours

Interesting facts about the island

  • Nominated to be among the 7 Natural Wonders of the World
  • It has an 8 - shape
  • It has 2 volcanoes, one active named Concepción and one dormant named Maderas
  • It has very fertile soils - due to the minerals from the volcanoes- and produces abundant big fruits and vegetables
  • It is recognized as the largest oceanic island in Central America in the second-largest freshwater in Latin America.

How to get there?

Ometepe is located in Lake Cocibolca, Rivas, Nicaragua. The island has an extension of 276km2.
To arrive at Ometepe Island, you must take a ferry to cross the Cocibolca Lake.

This is a one-hour ferry transfer, a complete natural adventure experience. To take the ferry, you must arrive at San Jorge Port in Rivas, which is at 2 hours from Managua; 1 and a half hours from Granada; and 45 minutes from San Juan del Sur beach.

The ferry departs on different schedules depending on the aquatic company you choose. We prefer to take the 9:30 am ferry which departs daily from San Jorge and arrives at 10:15 am, approximately, at Moyogalpa Port, Ometepe Island. The price per person is U$6-8 per person round trip. You can take your car on the ferry, as well. If you are doing so, you must call first to the ferry company to book space for your car, the car transfer in the ferry depends on the size of the car, which could be between U$30-50 roundtrip including port taxes.
Take note: You must be a good driver to drive your car into the ferry and park it; to do so, you should be 45 minutes in advance at the San Jorge Port.

Ferry crossing the Lake. Photo by Bosa Tours

Ferry crossing the Lake. Photo by Bosa Tours

Once in Ometepe Island, to move on the island you have many options, you can hire a local private minibus per day, book a scooter, or book a transfer from your hotel.

Attractions

Charco Verde Nature Reserve

It is located 14 km. from Moyogalpa Port. It could be your first stop.
Entrance per person is $3, in there you can hike 2 km. in trails surrounded by nature, see howler monkeys, and local flora. Walking the trail, you arrive at its beach. Later, you can go back to the restaurant to have lunch and visit its butterfly garden, U$5 per person at the entrance.

Charco Verde, Ometepe.

Charco Verde, Ometepe.

Ojo de Agua

It is located 12 km. from Charco Verde, you could visit this place the same day in the afternoon - avoid going on weekends since it gets too crowded-. Ojo de Agua is a natural pool of spring waters, coconuts beverages and more are sold on its shores. It is an excellent place to nourish your skin and relax your complete body. The entrance is U$3 per person.

Ojo de Agua, Ometepe

Ojo de Agua, Ometepe

Santo Domingo Beach

Some of the best hotels of Ometepe are located in Santo Domingo Beach. The lake Cocibolca is such a big lake that has little waves, a perfect place to relax in warm tropical waters.

Santo Domingo Beach, Ometepe

Santo Domingo Beach, Ometepe

Lora Trail

Just in front of Santo Domingo Beach, you find the entrance to this 1.5-kilometer trail. Entrance per person is U$2. It is just amazing how fast you can change the environment and activities in Ometepe Island. From being at a "beach" to being into this small trail in a cloud forest reserve. Tall old trees, big rocks, parrots, and humid wind make this trail a must-visit place.

San Ramón Waterfall

San Ramón is one of the communities in the south part of the Island. There is a 3-hour trail that departs from San Ramón Community and takes you through a cloud forest until you arrive in the San Ramón Waterfall. Take into consideration this is a rocky-slippery trail. You must hire a local guide and pay an entrance of U$3 per person.

Maderas Volcano

Close to San Ramón, we find Maderas Volcano, the dormant volcano of 1,394 meters of height on this island. It is a cloud forest that challenges its visitors with a 6-8 hour hike in rocky - slippery trails and humid wind. At the top of it, you find a crater lake and an impressive view over the island. The entrance is U$3 per person.

Concepción Volcano

This is the active volcano of the island with 1,610 meters of height. The trails depart from Moyogalpa or Altagracia towns. The hike may take 7-10 hours over sandy and rocky slopes and high temperatures. Its slopes are very steep and you find fumaroles on the way up. At the top of it, you can gaze over its smoky crater and enjoy a 360 degrees panoramic view from the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua to the Caribbean. The entrance is U$2 per person.

Other activities

You can rent kayaks, bikes or ride horses at different places in Ometepe, could be in Charco Verde, Santo Domingo Beach or close to Maderas Volcano at U$10 per person per hour. Also, you can kayak Río Istián. There are some museums with petroglyphs to learn about the history of the natives.

Recommendations

  • The island is not fully developed as a tourist destination; there are not 4-5 star hotels and transportation is in local vehicles.
  • Take the 3 p.m departure ferry from Ometepe to San Jorge.
  • The best traveling months are during the dry season that goes from December to April. In the rainy season from May to October, you won't be able to enjoy much of the tropical activities. - Also, ferry transfers may get complicated due to high-speed winds which lead to last-minute cancellations of the ferry.
  • The place is safe to travel, but the best way to get the maximum of it is with a certified guide or legally registered Tour Operator. Do not move on your own after 5 p.m.
  • The place is great for family vacations as well as for couples and friends.
  • Ometepe island is doubtlessly THE place for nature and adventure lovers
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Written by BosaTours
Hi! My name is Elizabeth. I run a Central American Tour Operator, write articles, and coach young people. Bosa Tours & Travel is a Tour Operator that truly believes in showing to the world the authenticity of the Central American countries. We take travelers to discover the roots of our traditions and culture while enjoying captivating natural landscapes and meeting the locals. With excellence, passion, and personalized service including 24/7 phone monitoring, day by day travelers live a unique journey, they live the Bosa Family experience.

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