Ometepe island

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Sunday, December 4, 2011

We arrived to San Jorge, from where we had to take a ferry to Ometepe Island, on the Friday afternoon. From there we got a public ferry to take us to Moyogalpa on the Ometepe island. It is considered the largest island in the world found within a freshwater lake, Lake Nicaragua or Lake Cocibolca in the native language. The name Ometepe derives from the Náhuatl words ome, meaning two, and tepetl, meaning hill or mountain: the place of two mountains. Ometepe Island has two volcanoes, Concepción that is the largest and still active and the smaller Maderas volcano. You can climb both, Concepción takes around 10-12 hours and Maderas around 8 hours. We were too lazy to do either. Instead we got a whole day tour through the hotel to get a good overview of the island. Because of the volcanoes the earth is very fertile and they have a lot of flora and fauna. They took us to Altagracía which is another main town of the island, together with Moyogalpa. In Altagracía we visited the old church which they are trying to restore but since the roof is in such a bad condition they have built a brand new church next door. In the churches they have the typical saints you can find in Spanish churches, and the saint in the church in Altagracía are the original saints that the Spanish brought with them on the first sailings across the Atlantic. It is impressive to think that these saints travelled all the way from mainland Spain across the Atlantic and were brought to a small church on a volcanic island. We were also able to see some petroglyphs from the indigenous people of Nicaragua. We visited a natural spring which was like a swimming pool and was supposed to be full of minerals that are good for the skin. 
In the evening, before they turned on the lights around the hotel we were able to see fireflies in the grass around the hotel. I had never seen them before. The place we stayed at was really nice and we were right by the lake and could hear the waves throughout the night, for being a lake there was a lot of waves. The only downside is that if you don't stay in Moyogalpa or Altagracía you have absolutely nothing around you and have to have all meals at the hotel. A taxi to either town is 10usd one way. Which of course you cannot be doing just to go for dinner. We had bought some wine before leaving Moyogalpa and in the evenings we sat on the little balcony and just listened to the waves 5 metres away. We had to leave on the Sunday to be in Granada for Sunday night, we had arranged a meeting with La Esperanza Granada to see how the organization works and what volunteer projects are available. 
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