Hot, humid, but worth the struggle...but one day

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Ometepelt - the frogs in the swimming pool have great voices

Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We hope all our dear readers appreciate our work. Internet in Ometepe is so slow that a sloth just fell off the keyboard next to Veronika a few minutes ago waiting for an upload. We will persevere!

So talking about today, after another pancake brekkie we started our journey around the island with its 2 volcanos. We rented a jeep from the hotel Oemetepl ($40 dollars for 12 hrs). It turned out, it might be the only vehicle to rent on the island, but more to that later...
After about 10 km around the forst volcano, we decided to stop in a little beach hotel (Laguna Verde or something like that) to have a proper coffee. It really is difficult to find strong coffee in Nicaragua even though they are one of the manufacturing countries. The problem is that they export most of it, so they must leave a couple of grains for locals!

On the way back to the road we met a backpacking couple and decided to give them a ride, it was already hot at 9am, and their backpacks looked huge! It turned out it was a couple from New York which we had seen in the hostel at Granada, but she was Finnish, and they were "between jobs", moving back to Helsinki. Vero wished the Amercian guy "Good Luck" in learning Finnish, after having tried herself for 2 years...

We dropped them off in another lakeside place (Santo Domingo), and drove on ourselves in direction "Finca Magdalena" to find the famous Petroglyphes. Apart from the 2 really small volcanoes here (we will no longer accept a mountain as such unless its over 4,000 metres!) most tourists come to look at the petroglyphs. Basically they are pre-columbian carvings on rocks depicting animals, humans, mountains, etc.

We arrived at the Finca and decided to do a tour with a guide ($3 Dollars each plus $1 dollar entry fee each). It was well worth it! He explained the concept of the Finca, which is a cooperative farm with 24 families working on and living from it. They do coffee, fruits, beans and a bit of tourism with a few basic rooms and a restaurant.

The pertoglyphs are probably the best preserved ones on the island, and there are dozens of them around the Finca. The giude left us to look at them and then tell him what we think they depict. Most of them had connected spirals, which mean "eternity" but could also be a symbol for the place the indians lived in.

Some of the shapes were very obvious, especially the human ones, and some of the animals, but most of them were left as a mystery of what the original inhabitants tried to express. The guide himself told us arqueologists just keep changing their versions of what each thing means...that sounds familiar! We only missed a crazy european coming here and saying it was referring to aliens that came here. That always seems to solve the mysteries.

Link to more information:

After this 2 hour tour we had a nice lunch at the Finca. (2 dollars each) and then moved on. Again we found some people in need of a ride on board. This time 3 Americans, from Miami, and one girl was working and living in Managua as a teacher. They gave us the tip to stop and have a swin at "ojo del agua", a lagoon. So we did, and just look the the pictures, most refreshing swim ever :)

As the rain started, we moved on , and guess what?! More gringos in need of a ride! On board we took 2 old French hippies, who perhaps had a collection of 5 teeth in between both of them. But they were friendly if a bit crazy, and showed us the way to the museum in Altagracia. The other couple in the jeep were a Dutch girl and an American, who were politely offering money for the ride, which gave us another business idea :)

The museum itself we classified as the "most boring museum ever", nothing to see, except some old fotographs of the 60´s of local politicians of the time, and some random people, plus some rotten petroglyphs, no explanations etc. The only interesting things in there were the bats flying around!

Then we put our hopes on the stone statues next to the church, and again, it was not reaaaalllyyy that intesting, 2 statues, one in a good state, have a look at the pic. No idea what it means, how old it is etc, as no info available...As always the travel guides are written by absolute plonkas. We are yet to meet one, it must be an interesting profile. Their CV must read "gets absolutely everything wrong. Exaggerates greatly"

Anyway, this is a great Island (largest one in fresh water in the World) and the Concepcion Volcano is magestic. However the roads are terrible after Altagracia and it seems that bus services are insufficient (reason why we carried have the island around). This place will certainly not become a 7th natural wonder of the world in our eyes. Sorry guys!

That was it for the day, tomorrow we travel back to mainland and head to Léon.
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