Ometepe Island is the largest island located on Lake Nicaragua with an area of 276 square kilometers. The two volcanoes that shaped this island can still be visited: Volcano Concepcion and Volcano Maderas. Ometepe’s name is derived from the Natuatl meaning two mountains. The island’s economy is based on agriculture, livestock, and increasing tourism rates. Over the years Ometepe has grown significantly as a tourist destination. So many more travelers are now going to this majestic land to see and experience the natural beauty of Nicaragua.
Ometepe has also had inhabitants for centuries first by pre-Colombian Nahuatl and Mayans, Spanish conquistadors, and pirates. Located all over the island you will find many pre-Colombian artifacts. Too, there are many petroglyphs and stone idols; the oldest date is from 300 BCE. By the 16thcentury, the island was settled by Spain, and they built ports on the island. After being conquered by the Spanish Empire, pirates began using the San Juan River from the Caribbean Sea to raid and attack Ometepe Island.
Volcanoes Conception and Maderas
The two volcanoes on Ometepe, Volcano Concepcion and Volcano Maderas are separated by a small isthmus. Volcano Maderas is located in the southern part of the island and is a dormant volcano. It is 1,394 meters high and tropical rain forest covers it; the crater is now a large lagoon. Volcano Concepcion rises 1,610 meters and is still considered to be an active volcano. The most recent eruption occurred in 2010. The volcano’s considered the most perfectly formed volcano in Central America with its conical shape. Both volcanoes can be visited and climbed.
Exploring the island
There are a lot of different ways through which you can explore the charming island life that is Ometepe. You can rent a bicycle, motorcycle, quad, or you can take a horseback riding tour. Make sure to choose at least one of these and explore the whole island during your stay!
Visit during dry season for volcanoes: The dry season runs from December until April. This is the perfect time to climb Conception or Maderas, The Maderas hike especially can get pretty muddy even during dry season!
Beware of mosquitoes: Remember that Omepete rests on a lake at especially at dawn and dusk, there will be quite a few mosquitoes. This gets even worse during rainy season!
The only way to get to Ometepe is to get on a ferry from Rivas – San Carlos. Rivas you can reach within an hour from Panas Blancas and around 2 hours from Managua. The ferry ride will take around an hour and will offer you stunning views of the volcanoes.
There are several excellent restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal. The best place for dining is Santa Cruz, where you will most of the bars and eating options. Since this is am island, most of the restaurants will be a little bit more pricy than on the mainland.