After spending some of the most chilled out days on the Islas Solentiname, the day had finally come to continue on with our travels across the lake to our next stop, Isla de Ometepe.
It was an early 6am departure back to San Carlos to catch the afternoon ferry which would take us over 9 hours to cross the width of the lake. Thankfully we had enough time to stuff our faces on not just one breakfast but two, at our favourite food joint before boarding.
We had expected that the slow-moving ferry wasn’t going to be one of the most comfortable experiences, but to our surprise, it was to be one of the highlights of our stay in Nicaragua. Having scored some comfy deck chairs we spent the day tanning on the top deck enjoying a good read.
Given the number of beautiful sunsets we have seen, I hadn’t expected to be impressed by one ever again. Yet again this ‘transit day’ was full of surprises, with a perfect uninterrupted sphere being swallowed by the sea against the backdrop of a fiery mist.
After falling asleep under the stars and a moon that was equally as stunning as the sun set, we were woken to the smashing of the waves against the boat as we approached the Isla de Ometepe at about midnight.
Arriving by moonlight just made this place even more magical. The port was a hive of activity with locals loading thousands of bananas, no doubt to be sold at the ferries next stop, Granada.
With only a handful of fellow gringos on board this felt like a truly authentic experience, made even more special by the ride we managed to score to the capital of the Isla, Altagracia; an open top jeep with only standing spaces to make way for the crates of cheese imported from the mainland.
Speeding through the thick jungle of endless banana plantations, with wind through my now quite feminine hair, and the most perfectly formed moonlit outline of an imposing volcano ahead, I could see why the Aztecs called this place the Promised Land.
You can’t help but marvel in the sight of this place; twin volcanic peaks seem to just rise out of the lake, creating the most fertile volcanic soil with rich black beaches.
Days were spent roaming around the island on bikes along the one road that circles the perimeter of the larger of the two volcanos, Conception, which is still active.
Given that the waters are not the best for swimming in thanks to the threat of the famous Bull sharks in these waters, we took refuge in a natural pool called La Presa Ojo de Agua.
I can’t begin to explain how amazing it was to swim in this crystal clear, natural water with jungle all around. As well as sharing this place with all the nature we also stumbled across Father Christmas! Obviously taking some time out from Lap land in this tropical paradise.
There isn’t a whole lot to do of an evening, irrespective of what part of the island you stay in. We spent most evenings wandering around grabbing a bite to eat, trying to avoid the local transvestite who for some apparent reason took a liking to me…with my hair as it is right now the worrying thing is that might have thought I was one of them!
The town of Moyogalpa on the eastern side is home to a fairly large contingent of retired alcoholic expats counting down their last days here, no doubt keeping the trannies busy! This part if town really did feel more like Thailand than Nicaragua.
Cock fighting is also popular here, adding to the felling that you are in Thailand. We unfortunately saw a training game whilst taking a stroll on the beach…not really my cup of tea to be honest!