Days 3-4: Nicaragua’s Isla Ometepe
Day 3 Monday
Pack up and arrange a taxi from Granada to San Jorge, a small port on Lake Nicaragua. Ferries run between San Jorge and the lake’s island, Isla Ometepe, for around 70 cordobas per person. Isla Ometepe is made up of two volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, joined together by a small strip of land. The view from the ferry is magical so have your camera ready. You cannot rent a car on the island (only mopeds and ATVs are available), but it is possible to rent one on the mainland and have transported to the island via ferry. You should make reservations for the car ferry at least 24 hours in advance.
All of the accommodations on Ometepe are reasonably priced, but many lodgings are rustic. My favorite is La Via Verde, a small bed and breakfast run by Eileen and Darren, a warm and generous couple from California. La Via Verde is spotlessly clean, has hot-water showers, and its delicious breakfasts are out of this world! Eileen rises with the sun to prepare coffee, fresh juices, homemade bread, granola, yogurt, and pancakes. She will go out of her way to make your stay on the island perfect. Most impressive of all is La Via Verde’s minimal carbon footprint. It produces nearly zero waste and recycles as much as possible—an example to us all.
On your way to La Via Verde from the port, ask your taxi to stop off at Ojo de Agua ($5 extra) where you can enjoy lunch, drink fresh coconut water, and swim in the crystal-clear natural spring. For dinner, take a flashlight and take a twenty-minutes walk to Café Campestre for fresh salads, pastas, hummus, and other homemade treats.
Day 4 Tuesday
Ask Eileen to arrange a trip with local guide, Alexis, for a hike up to Maderas, the smaller of the two volcanoes. This hike lasts between six and eight hours or you can do a four-hour hike to the overlook point about two-thirds of the way up. Alexis knows the jungle well and can tell you about the birds, bugs, animals, and plants that inhabit the volcano. On a clear day, the views from the top are spectacular. If your are worn out at the end of the day, Eileen can arrange for dinner to be delivered from Café Campestre to La Via Verde.
Kathleen is a contributing editor to En Route Traveler. From a young age, Her parents took her and her sister on many adventures all over the world. Kathleen has lived in South Africa, London, and Paris. After five years of being a stressed corporate lawyer, she gave it all up to move to Nicaragua where she trained as a yoga teacher, learned to surf, and worked at the eco-lodge, Buena Vista Surf Club. Kathleen loves fitness, vegetarian cooking, contributing to the wellness blog, Hip and Healthy, and managing her own sites Yum Yoga and Super Fit and Super Food.