A one-hour wait, two-hour chickenbus, 10-minute taxi, one-hour ferry and one and a half hour shuttle brought us to Mérida and Hotel La Omaja on Isla de Ometepe. The road from Playa Santo Domingo to Mérida is interesting to say the least – I’m not even sure it could be called a road. Very bumpy for sure!
The cars can’t last very long on these roads, and that’s probably why the taxi prices on Isla de Ometepe are quite expensive (by Nicaraguan standards).
The Hotel La Omaja (run by an American from Omaha in Nebraska) is located a little way up the hill from the lake, providing a lovely view of Lago Nicaragua and the volcano Concepcion from the infinity pool. We spent a lot of time in that pool!
Isla de Ometepe offers a lot of outdoor activities, from kayaking to bicycling to seeing petroglyphs, including hiking the two volcanoes: Concepcion (8-10 hours) and Maderas (6-8 hours). We figured we’d had our share of volcano hiking and opted for more leisurely activities, many of which included the hotel pool.
In between pool sessions we did find time to visit Cascada San Ramon, a 50 m high waterfall, the hike to which took us on a jungle trail with howler monkeys, lizards and snakes. We visited a nature trail by the hotel/restaurant Finca Mystica where we saw lots of lazy spider monkeys lounging in the trees.
On Valentines day we joined the locals at the Fiesta de Valentin in “downtown” Mérida; loud music, numerous food stalls, big bottles of beer and bullriding – the equivalent to a Norwegian “bygdefest”! The walk to and from the fiesta was also an adventure – walking unknown roads in the moonlight.
The pristine surroundings, nice hotel (pool) and outdoor activities made our three day stay at Isla de Ometepe both very relaxing and interesting. We’d love to come back some day!
More photos of Isla de Ometepe and our travels in Nicaragua can be found here.