Ometepe Island is a great place to enjoy the outdoors in a distinctive location…
Both Volcan Concepcion and Volcan Maderes are visible from the mainland and are climbable with a guide. Volcan Concepcion is a hard and strenuous hike with a constant two steps forward, one step back scenario. Good hiking boots are recommended however many still do it in sneakers. If you are lucky enough to get a good day, the views are particularly rewarding. If not, the mist and the cloud provides a unique atmosphere. We recommend Elmer from Elmer Tours Operators (C540 per person however prices can vary from US$10-30 depending on the season) who was informative throughout the journey. The walk begins in the forest surrounded by the calls of birds and howler monkeys. By this point you will already be sweating profusely. After wringing your T-shirt for the 6th time you will have made it to the top where you can explore the volcanic rocks, warmed by the steaming vents. The walk is hard but rewarding for those wanting a challenge.
As mentioned you need a guide for these walks. There have been tourists who have attempted to climb Volcan Concepcion alone and are fined by the police upon their descent. Better to get a guide. Fit travellers should allow around 8 hours for a round trip. Depending on recent activity on Volcan Concepcion it may be difficult to find a guide willing to take you right to the top for safety reasons. You will, however, find someone on the island willing to take you to the top if you are keen like Charlie was. Bring plenty of water and a handkerchief to wrap around your mouth at the top…unless sulfur inhalation is your thing.
If sulfur inhalation or potential volcanic eruptions aren’t your thing then there is still things to see and do on Ometepe. Like many others, Yogi Hostel hires bikes for around $5 allowing you to explore the island freely. Charco Verde: C50 per person is a great stop off for bikers and is also reachable by bus. This ecological reserve allows monkeys, lizards, birds, butterflies and the odd snake to roam around. The area is also rich in history with legend indicating Charco Verde was a place of sacrifice for the Indian. Kayaking and swimming are also great ways to spend the day, weather permitting.
Unfortunately we struck bad weather during our stay on Ometepe and as a result can’t provide too much information. This website has easy to understand information and breaks down the sections of the island.
Accommodation: Yogi Hostel (Ferry Station 3 blocks up, 2 blocks to the right (South), Isla de Ometepe 505). C162 per person, per night, dormitory. No kitchen, breakfast not included. Nice outdoor hangout space. Dorm beds are double beds. This hostel is not as close to the main street as others and the street is not well lit which may concern single female travellers. We found it fine as a couple. Great chicken eatery a few doors down run out of someone’s kitchen (C60 per plate).
Getting there from Granada:
• In Granada walk down Calle El Comercio, past the market on your left. Just past the UNO gas station hang a left where you should see buses pulling in and out . Board the Rivas bus (1 hour 30 mins, C30 per person).
• Ride the Rivas bus until the end. When you get off try and share a taxi with other tourists to save costs. Taxi ride to the ferry terminal (C50 per person, 15 minutes).
• Boats to Ometepe Island leave at different spots and times depending on your destination. Check out this website to decide which boat to take to Ometepe. Our boat to San Jorge/ Moyogalpa cost C35 per person, left 1.30pm, 1 hour 8 minutes.
Getting away to Costa Rica: Click here for information for the border crossing to Monteverde and San Jose, Costa Rica