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Central America Volcanic Island Ometepe (Nicaragua)

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Milions years ago two volcanoes submerged from the waters of lake Nicaragua, burning lava that streamed down their craters merged and formed what is today an island Ometepe. A beautiful and fascinating island Ometepe with the higher and still very active volcano Concepción (1610m) and a little shorter Maderas (1394 m). Today Ometepe is home to 35 thousand people that live in small villages or towns on its shores. The life in Ometepe is still very simple. Banana plantains, tall mango trees, chickens and pigs running all around, men resting in hammocks and the yellow „school“ bus bumping on the scary dirt road. Plus one curiosity, bright exit signs all over the island that show the way to run in case the volcano wakes up.
What here: You can climb either of the volcanoes, however the easier one is Maderas (about 8 hours there and back). Not exactly an easy afternoon walk. You will walk under the burning sun, then through mud, over the stones and under huge tree roots and stumps, you will even have to „climb“ a small wall. But, definitely worth it! The nature changes with the altitude, from hot to dump, fog and sometimes even rain as you enter the clouds. Strong wind blows at some points. If you are lucky it is clear at the top and you will get the view at the crater filled with brownish water. You can climb Maderas only accompanied by a local guide (20 USD, max 3 persons). It depends where you start, from Mérida you can go directly, from some other places you also need to pay for transport.
There´s more on Ometepe though. Old petroglyphs, beaches where swimming is ok, small lagoon Ojo de Agua, you can rent kayak, watch birds or get involved in some ecological or humanitarian project.

Where to stay:
Moyogalpa and Altagracia have the biggest offer, however they are not so nice. Accommodation can also be found along the beach in Santo Domingo (bay in between the volcanoes), but the best choice is probably to stay in some remote place.

Hacienda Mérida could be one of them. At first a little scary, but finally a very good experience. The rooms (that could be a little worked on) are set in a building surrounded by beautiful nature, flowers, trees and parrots at the shore of the lake. The restaurant offers meals that are good (perhaps a little too healthy). The owner is not exactly friendly, but the rest of the stuff will treat you well.
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Price: 7 USD dorm, 23 - 36 USD private room. http://www.hmerida.com
How to get here: From the docks in San Jorge frequent boats and ferries leave to Moyogalpa (1 hour, 40 – 60 c). Once in Moyogalpa you can take a cab or minibus that will take you anywhere on the island. San Jorge can be reached by a cab (25 c per person) from Rivas (many buses come from Granada, a little over 1 hour, 24 c).
There is a direct ferry from Granada, but only some days in a weak and the journey takes from 3 to 4 hours.