The Concepcion Volcano of Ometepe

Trip Start Aug 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 23, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Nicaragua  , Rivas,
Monday, September 20, 2010

From Granada we got an early afternoon chicken bus South to Rivas, from here we caught a boat to Ometepe Island and stayed in the main village of Moyogalpa. The journey again was an eventful one and transport at home will never be the same and will surely be so boring! For those who have not traveled Central America, Chicken Buses are old American school buses pimped up in their own style, color and character. These act as the main means of transport for the locals and us budget travelers, most people on holiday would simply pay out for a taxi or a mini-bus shuttle.

What makes the Chicken Buses so entertaining is firstly the fact that you can buy probably anything on them. On our hour ride from Granada we had people selling fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, banana's, onion's, garlic, beetroot, coconuts, corn, rice, potatoes, nuts, cinnamon... the list goes on. We also had people selling toiletries like cotton buds, razors, and toothbrushes amongst batteries, nail clippers, calculaters, music CD's and DVD's. You always get women shouting out their cooked goods like Tamales (a starchy dough, often corn-based, which is steamed or boiled in a banana leaf, filled with meats, cheese, vegetables and chiles), Tacos and chicken and rice in a bag. At one point we had a salesmen who performed a rehearsed sales pitch, he was selling health and dietary information booklets.

The second reason why Chicken Buses are so unique is the fact the passengers can bring anything on, at times you think to yourself surely there isn't enough space for anything else, the next thing you know a passenger is loading up large bags of scrap metal! At one stage a old man loaded up enough metal cables to build a house! Hour journeys can either feel like 10minutes or last forever! We love them!

Ometepe is a large island that is dominated by the 2 large volcano's (see the pictures). The volcanoes were the main reason we visited this Biosphere Reserve. The island had just recently been upgraded from a Nature Reserve to a Biosphere Reserve meaning that no tree's could be cut down and none of the environment could be altered in any way or form. We hear the reason for this is because locals were cutting trees down and endangering the 3 types of monkey that live here as well as snakes, birds, butterflies and frogs.

The next morning we set off early to hike the volcano with our great guide Lewis. Lewis was a local boy who spoke very good English and had lots of information on the animals, vegetation and the history of the island. The hike is by far the hardest thing we have done so far. The route up was very steep with just the roots of the rainforest trees acting as steps, many times I had to lift Hollie up to reach the next platform or path.The volcano was a lot more challenging to climb than the volcano in Antigua as the trail was very narrow and steep and almost non-existent due to the recent heavy rainfall. Once we reached the top we were very relieved and the view was well worth it, overall it took us 6 hours. Unlike Antigua we could not reached the crater as it was too dangerous at this time of year, due to the rain, but the 360 degree view of the entire island (and sister volcano) was worth the climb. When we got back to the hotel we had a deserved siesta and went out for dinner in the evening. The next day we made the boat trip back to Rivas to yet again get an entertaining chicken bus to the holiday town of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific Coast. 
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