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Photos of Nicaragua: Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua

Updated on June 14, 2013

Map of the Southwestern Portion of Nicaragua and Ometepe Island

Ometepe Island is in the southwest corner of Lake Nicaragua, near the border with Costa Rica.
Ometepe Island is in the southwest corner of Lake Nicaragua, near the border with Costa Rica. | Source

A Photo of Ometepe Island

Ometepe Island, as seen from the shore of Lake Nicaragua at San Jorge one evening.
Ometepe Island, as seen from the shore of Lake Nicaragua at San Jorge one evening. | Source

Location and Transportation to Ometepe Island

Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake of Nicaragua. It is located in the southwest portion of the country near its border with Costa Rica. Within the lake there are many small islands and one large one that arose from volcanic action. On this island called Ometepe, there is one extinct (Maderas) and one active volcano (Concepción), and each of the volcanoes are connected by a narrow isthmus. Ometepe is the largest fresh water volcanic island in the world.

There are three ways of getting to Ometepe, two public ferries or you can hire someone to take you there. One ferry leaves from Granada going to Altagracia twice a week, Monday and Thursday. The other port is San Jorge (near Rivas), where there are regular boats and ferries. To find the times of departure from both ports see Boat Schedules - Ometepe Island. The boats will give you a more nauseating ride because of the waves of this large lake, so I advise you to take the larger ferries. The trip can take from 30-45 minutes going from San Jorge, and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from Granada. It seems so close, but navigating the lake is a slow journey.

Music of Nicaragua and Many Ometepe Photos

One of the Ferries Going to Ometepe Island

A ferry heading for San Jorge port on a day of calm seas.
A ferry heading for San Jorge port on a day of calm seas.

Places to Stay on Ometepe Island

There a two major towns which are located on the portion surrounding Volcan Concepción, Moyogalpa and Altagracia. Moyogalpa is the largest and has the largest selection of hotels, but there are many places to stay along the road to Altagracia. Lucia and I stayed at two of the hotels near Charco Verde (green puddle), which is a lagoon reserve where you can do some nature watching and/or kayaking. We ended our stay with a night at the American Cafe and Hotel in Moyogalpa, which was quite comfortable and roomy. This hotel is owned by a friendly couple from the U.S. Some of the colorful pictures that follow are of Moyogalpa.

The Catholic Church in Moyogalpa.  The clouds behind are surrounding the crater of Concepción Volcano.  The street leading up to the church goes to the port and there are many shops.  I got a cheap haircut there.
The Catholic Church in Moyogalpa. The clouds behind are surrounding the crater of Concepción Volcano. The street leading up to the church goes to the port and there are many shops. I got a cheap haircut there. | Source
View down the street from the Catholic Church.
View down the street from the Catholic Church. | Source
Another view down the street from the Catholic Church showing colorful houses.
Another view down the street from the Catholic Church showing colorful houses. | Source
Che Guevarra is emblazoned on this colorful bus that provides cheap transportation around the island.  Taxis are expensive.
Che Guevarra is emblazoned on this colorful bus that provides cheap transportation around the island. Taxis are expensive. | Source
Orosi period tools in a private museum near Moyogalpa.  The collection here includes many ceramic pieces including unusual urns for the remains of the island natives.
Orosi period tools in a private museum near Moyogalpa. The collection here includes many ceramic pieces including unusual urns for the remains of the island natives. | Source

Concpeción Volcano

Concepción Volcano is a perfectly shaped cone. It is an imposing and ever-present aspect of the view on the island. It certainly is still active. Before my visit, in 2005, there was an earthquake that crack the pavement in the nice roads that they have there. They fixed that, but there was another strong eruption in 2010. The residents were ordered off the island, but they didn't pay any heed. Below is a photo of the volcano from a hotel near Charco Verde.

Concepción Volcano in its conical glory.
Concepción Volcano in its conical glory.

Photos Taken Along the Ometepe Shores

There is a lot of activity around the shores of Ometepe Island. Of course, there are fishermen who are offshore a few hundred yards in small boats. There are also women washing their clothes, children playing in the water and cattle are driven to the shoreline to get water. My walk along the shoreline gave me the following photos.

A fisherman on the west coast off Charco Verde on Ometepe Island.  His boat was leaky, I saw him bailing it out several times.
A fisherman on the west coast off Charco Verde on Ometepe Island. His boat was leaky, I saw him bailing it out several times. | Source
Boy rowing past the fisherman in the previous photo.
Boy rowing past the fisherman in the previous photo. | Source
Women washing clothes along the shores of Lake Nicaragua near Charco Verde.
Women washing clothes along the shores of Lake Nicaragua near Charco Verde. | Source
An empty washing table and two other women washing clothes along the shoreline.
An empty washing table and two other women washing clothes along the shoreline.
One bull in a herd of cattle that was driven down to the shore to have a drink.
One bull in a herd of cattle that was driven down to the shore to have a drink.
Kids playing "who can hang on longest to the moving branch."  One boy got dumped in.  The girl is still hanging on.
Kids playing "who can hang on longest to the moving branch." One boy got dumped in. The girl is still hanging on.

Tourist Activities on Ometepe Island

There are several things that I saw while on the island for 3 days and nights. There is a place called the Ojo de Agua (a naturally spring) where you can swim in two pools and there is a place there where you can buy sodas, alcoholic drinks and food. It is a very relaxing place to be. A photo of that location follows this section.

There is also a museum on the island that is worth visiting. Photos from that museum are featured on the page Ometepe Indian Artifacts. This museum, Museo Ceibo, is really worth a visit to get a sense of the rich indigenous, Pre-Columbian history of the island.

Ecotourists visit the south end of the island to scope out the biodiverse natural rainforest environment there. There is a large reserve there where people study botany, primates, amphibians, etc. If you have interest in this option, I suggest you visit the website of the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy.

The Ojo de Agua on Ometepe Island

Take a short trip to this spring-fed pool to relax.
Take a short trip to this spring-fed pool to relax. | Source

Comments

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    • Alex Longsword profile image

      Alex Longsword 

      5 years ago from Nicaragua

      Hi Randy, Surely I will read your hubs. Yes I think I am the only nicaraguan in hubpages. This is a great place to write and read.

    • Randy M. profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy McLaughlin 

      5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Hi Alex, nice to have someone from Nicaragua visit this page. Regarding the islanders attitude about the volcano, I suppose if you grow up in such an unstable environment, you might consider it normal since you don't have other perspectives. I didn't notice anything but tranquility among the people that I met there.

      BTW, maybe you might want to visit my other pages about Masaya, Granada and the Granada Islands as well.

    • Randy M. profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy McLaughlin 

      5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Hi Alex, thanks for stopping by. I didn't notice any fear on that part of the islanders I met. I suppose that when you grown up in an unstable environment, you think it's normal. It is all in one's perspective. And it is not really a choice that they see that they can make, to find a safer place to live. Everyone's perspective is relative to their experience.

    • Alex Longsword profile image

      Alex Longsword 

      5 years ago from Nicaragua

      Hello Randy, good photos, I am Nicaraguan and have been in ometepe a couple of times enjoying the site. about the question left by Derdriu there is something to add, also islanders doesn´t consider volcano activity as natural disasters, it is very common for them to experience tremors and ash eruptions. It is just part of the island activity.

    • Randy M. profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy McLaughlin 

      6 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Instead of a command, it seems to have had nor more of an effect than an advisory. Probably they didn't want anyone looting their houses or businesses, regardless of the potential threat to their lives.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      Randy, What a ravishing, refreshing, riveting tour of Ometepe Island! Your photos are as effectively welcoming as your text. The article is full of sound cautions -- such as ferry rides on windy days -- and of pleasant learning and relaxing fun -- such as the coin/pottery museum and the scenery.

      Thank you for sharing, etc.,

      Derdriu

      P.S. Why were the islanders able to ignore a command to evacuate?

    • surf traveler profile image

      surf traveler 

      6 years ago

      Good advice on the ferries to Ometepe. It is a puke fest on a windy day. But it is so lovely and natural over on Ometepe, definitely worth the trip. I just checked out your Guanacaste blog, love the photos.

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