Volcano Islands

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Although I liked Granada I would only be staying for a day. Out of all the colonial towns I visited in Central America I definitely preferred this one and would choose to stay here for a while to learn some essential Spanish if I returned.

We were going to Isla de Ometepe today, a volcanic island in the Lago de Nicaragua, but the question was how and when. We could either leave early on a bus to Rivas and catch one of the hourly ferries to Moyogalpa, the main town, or sit around till the afternoon and catch one of the twice weekly ferries from Granada. We chose the later and hung around at the hostel catching up on the Internet/e-mail for an hour or 2.

There was some confusion as to when the boat was actually leaving. The LP said 2pm, a leaflet for a hostel on the island said 1pm and the reception said 3pm! The reception was correct and we started to make our way to the pier at around 2pm, just the time when the daily downpour should have started. The tab for the night, all the food and drinks came to a quite reasonable 295 Cordobas (8) for the 2 of us. Far less than I was expecting but quite a lot for Nicaragua.

Once at the ferry terminal we had no idea where to go. There were market stalls and people everywhere and we had to try and figure out where to buy tickets. We walked to the gate and found out the ticket desk was at the other end so I left the bags with Dave and went to put my useless Spanish to the test and get the tickets. After working out she was talking about 1st and 2nd class tickets, ($70C and $25C respectively) I asked for 2 second class tickets and found out I needed the passports! Ran back to Dave, grabbed his passport and rejoined the queue. Tickets secured we headed through the gates for a thorough inspection and bag search before boarding the rusty, old tin boat.

Not exactly the big car ferry I had been expecting but fine for a 4 hour journey to the island. Not sure I could handle the full 10 hours to San Carlos though! The second class section was completely devoid of tight ass foreigners except us and a couple of American girls. Loads of rows of wooden benches packed with locals trying to make themselves comfortable for the long journey ahead.

We were soon underway and I headed outside to get some fresh air and watch the sea. Hadn't been on a boat for a while, Brunei I believe, so it was quite a novelty again. Soon wore off after an hour and I was bored and boiling hot. It was scalding hot in the second class cabin with no fans! I had to keep heading outside to cool down until the waters got too rough and I got a drenching, much to the amusement of everyone on the boat when I re-entered.

The boat finally pulled into the dock in Altagracia at 7pm and we were met by loads of truck drivers looking for commission for taking us to the local hotels. We settled on Hotel Central and soon tucked into some reasonable dinner. There is a guesthouse on the island which sounded brilliant but there was no chance we could get there today as this island is the most basic destination I have been to all trip. But more on that tomorrow...

After dinner and a couple of beers we went to see what Altagracia had to offer in the evening. Absolutely nothing so we returned to our hotel, which seemed to be the liveliest place in town, and started drinking a few more beers at the bar. Around midnight the police moved us inside and pretty soon after that we called it a night in preparation for some hard travelling tomorrow.
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