Volcano Island

Trip Start Feb 10, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Friday, June 25, 2010

After crosssing the Nicaraguan border we boarded a bus to Rivas in order to catch a boat to the Isla de Ometepe. On the bus we met an Israeli guy called Avi who was heading the same way us and he travelled with us for the next few days.
After a rather wet(the boat was not waterproof) and uncomfortable boat ride we arrived on the Isla de Ometepe and our first stop in Nicaragua.
The Island is made Our first stop in Nicaragua is up of two volcanoes; Conception which is active and Maderas which is extinct.
The Island remains fairly unspoilt, the main towns are small and the majority of people rely on farming as their main income. This gives the island a real simplicity which we both really enjoyed after the very commercial feel of Panama and Costa Rica.
Our main reason for coming to the island was to climb one of hte volcanoes, after a lot of deliberation we settled for the 6 hour round trip and easier trek of Volcan Maderas.

The morning of the climb started at 5:30 with minibus ride to the start of the trail. However, after a stopping for breakfast en-route the minibus decided that it wouldn´t start. So while the driver tried to fix the bus we had a bit of time to marvel at the amazing view of lake Nicaragua at dawn. Eventually we were told that the minibus was very broken and that we would have to wait and get a chicken bus to the start of the trail. Not a big deal, and our very knowledgeable guide, Will (who later told us he had worked for the BBC on the program ´Beyond Boundaries´) filled the time with hundreds of facts about the local wildlife.

Once we had finally made it to the start of the trail we were running pretty late so the first part of the walk was pretty quick, we passed through primary and secondary dry forest and primary cloud forest, and then we got our first sighting of the Howler Monkeys who fill this forest with their haunting calls. They were suprisingly un-bothered by us and even came fairly close to come and check us out.
We stoppped at a clearing in the forset and got an incredible view of Conception, it looked like something from Jurrasic park, definatle worth the pain and sweat!

The rest of the climb was very tough scrambling up rocks and all uphill, we were very glad we chose the easier of the two volcanoes to climb!
After about 4hours climbing we finally made it to the rim of the crater, the volcano has a lake at the bottom of the crater which is supposed to be beautiful, so into the crater we walked.
Sadly the cloud had settled in and we didn´t really get to see much of the lake, oh well!

The way down wasn´t much easier, but we did see lots more monkeys!

The island is an amazing place, it feels like another world, hopefully the rest of Nicaragua will be just as breathtaking.

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