Bare feet volcano hiking in Ometepe
This pretty island with two towering volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua is a must visit for many travellers. With beaches (of sorts), a waterfall, natural springs, two volcanoes to hike and horse riding, what is there not to like about this island?
I hiked the smaller Maderas Volcano which was a challenging seven hour return hike, half of it through mud in the dry season (all of it through mud in the wet), but the rewards are huge on a sunny day.
Just as we arrived at the top, the dense cloud lifted from the stunning cloud forest to reveal the crater lake and on the way down we had panoramic views across Lake Nicaragua and Concepción Volcano.
My claim that boots are essential hiking kit were challenged when one guy decided to hike with bare feet. He made it, but was suffering for several days. Apart from being covered head to foot in mud, I escaped unscathed.
With strong winds buffeting the island from January to March, this is the ideal location for kite and wind surfing.
Maderas Volcano trek: $8-10 per person
Scooter hire: US$25 per day
Hostels: There is a shortage of good hostels on Ometepe. Hospedaje Buena Vista comes recommended and Casa Istiam has clean ensuite four bed dorms, but don’t expect a smile or change for cash payment. El Zopilote Finca Ecológica has a great vibe but bedbugs in the dormitory. Dm US$7-8 without breakfast.
Getting there: The strong winds whip up huge waves in Lake Nicaragua turning the smaller ferry to Moyogalpa into a cork in a washing machine. For a smoother ride, take the car ferry which runs twice a day from San Jorge to San Juan de Sur.
The cheapest way to reach the ferry at San Jorge is to take a bus from Granada to Rivas and then a bus or taxi to the port. Alternatively, shuttles run from Granada and Laguna de Apoyo to San Jorge for US$15. Ferries run direct from Granada to Ometepe infrequently.