Ometepe is located in lake Nicaragua and consists of what seems like 2 islands, each with a volcano making up most of the island, joint at the hip by a narrow ridge.
The larger of the islands has an active conical volcano called Concepcion, while the smaller island has a dormant volcano called Maderas with a crater lake.
There are 2 ways to get to the island, either by ferry straight from Granada although this service only runs bi-weekly or to go to San Jorge near Rivas and take a daily boat across. Either way will take you to the larger side of Ometepe from where you will have to take the bus or, if you can join a large group, take a taxi to your destination. However, you should note that buses stop running at 5.30pm.
We arrived from Granada following a 4 hour ferry journey and were lucky enough to find 10 other people looking to go to the same area so we managed to arrange for a shuttle to take the 12 of us for a discounted price.
There are only a handful of attractions on the island; the 2 volcanos, a waterfall which unfortunately was almost dried out due to it being the start of the rain season, a clear pool of water called Ojo de Agua and petroglyphs.
Outside of this the island has some beaches but they do not seem to be very well maintained. We walked along Playa de Domingo, the beach resort area and found plenty of dead fish, cattle droppings and rubbish scattered among the shoreline. As such we decided to only stay 2 days.
There are many options for accommodation on the island and we would recommend taking your time choosing the hostel/hotel as they don’t all live up to expectations.
We pre-booked at the Zopilote eco-farm near Santa Cruz and were expecting a basic yet homely retreat. We arrived after the sun had set and had to find our way along a dark path through a plantation for around 200 metres, needless to say with 1 torch at hand between us (2 packed away) we got lost and the 10 minute walk turned into a 20 minute search for the right way. Luckily we were rescued by a passerby who directed us the right way or who knows how long it would have taken us!
Once we arrived the whole place was in darkness except for the communal kitchen and reception which were hard to find as the place is full of paths. We finally arrived dripping in sweat and out of breath from the uphill scramble in the dark.
Once checked in we were shown to our cabana which was very basic and didn’t even have a fan but the big surprise came when we were given a map to the accommodation area and discovered we had communal showers in the open air with compost toilets.
We hesitantly went for a shower among bamboo shoots, under the light of some stars and the moon. Definitely a new experience for us!
When we woke up the next morning we were pleasantly surprised with our surroundings and once we got our heads around the facilities we started to enjoy our open air showers.
The only downsides to the place were the extremely basic kitchen with no fridge and the complete lack of light at night. The cabin could have done with a few more basics too. There are also no shops nearby so if you plan to cook make sure you bring food with you as the little home shop sells only a couple of basic items.
After 2 days we felt ready to leave and decided to head towards San Juan del Sur on the beach for a few days before moving onto Costa Rica.