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Isla de Ometepe

Unquestionably one of Nicaragua's natural wonders, this double volcano-island offers visitors a wealth of spectacular natural beauty. It's a place that evokes a sense of wonder and magic, and has been mythologized from time immemorial.

The evidence is scant, but experts relieve that Ometepe's first inhabitants were native Nahuas who migrated from Mexico around 4,000 years ago. The area has rich volcanic soil that allowed the settlers to thrive since the land can support continuous planting without the need to let fields lie fallow. Successive waves of migration left Ometepe with a diverse archaeological record, best exemplified by the numerous petroglyphs found around the island. The twin volcanoes featured heavily in pre-Columbian mythology, and were a place of great spiritual importante for the region's early inhabitants.

The Spanish annexed the island around the end of the 16th century, but its inhabitants had more contact with the Dutch, English and French privateers who used Ometepe as a base for their attacks. The island's isolation meant that it was spared from most of Nicaragua's 20th-century upheavals, though locals experienced periodic scares from the rumbling Volcan Concepción.

Today the island supports a population of around 35,000. Many people still live off the land, though tourism is playing an increasingly important role in the local economy.

Geographically, the island has an hourglass shape, with a low isthmus connecting the two volcanoes. Volcan Concepción, the taller of the two, is one of the most perfectly shaped cones in Central America. First appearing during the Holocene Epoch, Concepción lay dormant for a long period before literally exploding back to life 1880. The volcano remains active and, although you can hire guides to take you up the sides, Concepción is far too dangerous to summit.

Its sister, Volcan Maderas, is dormant and has a gorgeous lagoon within its crater. The area around this volcano is home to several farms that cultivate coffee and tobacco on the volcanic soil. Many of the farms also serve as hotels: Finca Magdalena and Hacienda Merinda are the most popular.

For the visitor, Ometepe offers an amazing range of activities: biking, kayaking and hikes up the volcanoes, to name a few.. And if you just want to relax, the beaches of Playa Santo Domingo are a perfect place to work on your tan. Either way, Isla Ometepe is one of Nicaragua's premiere attractions. Don't miss it.

Neighborhoods in Isla de Ometepe: Playa Santo Domingo, Moyogalpa, Merida, Altagracia, Isla de Ometepe Neighborhoods,

Other places nearby Isla de Ometepe: Altagracia, Moyogalpa, Tola, San Jorge, Playa Santo Domingo, San Juan Del Sur, Playa Pie de Gigante, Las Salinas y Playa Popoyo, El Astillero and Rivas.







10 Jun 2009

Isla de Ometepe Highlights

Petroglyphs

These ancient stone carvings are one of Ometepe's most famous attractions. The earliest date back over 4,000 years ‚Äď some of the oldest art you can find in the Americas. They're scattered all ...
Other Activity
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

San Ramón Waterfall

The San Ramón Waterfall is a spectacular natural wonder, and one of the highlights of a trip to Ometepe. In June 2008 the path to the waterfall had been blocked by a recent landslide and was too ...
Other Activity
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Volc√°n Maderas Hike

104568Volcán Maderas is Ometepe's junior volcano, rising up just 1394 meters, but can offer climbs that are just as challenging as Volcán Concepción. Since Maderas is dormant, most visitors head for the ...
Trekking, Hiking
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Kayaking

One of Ometepe's most popular activities is kayaking, particularly around the area of Charco Verde. Isla el Quiste, located just offshore, is one excellent destination. It'll take you about 30 ...
Kayaking
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Biking

Ometepe is quite a big island, and it's unreasonable to expect to conquer the whole thing by bike. It's also important to remember that many of Ometepe's roads are brutally rough. The trip between ...
Bicycling
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Circumnavigate Maderas

One fun day trip is to circumnavigate Volcan Maderas. The path around is rough, but it can be traveled easily by motorcycle, bicycle or even a low-clearance vehicle. If you've got a lot of energy ...
Bicycling
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Volcán Concepción

At a towering 1,610 meters, Volcan Concepcion is the taller of Ometepe's twin volcanoes. It's also highly active, making it the more dangerous of the two. In fact, going all the way to the top is ...
Other Activity
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Altragracia Beaches

The most popular beach near Altagracia is called Punta Taguizapa, and it's located just to the east of the city. If you head north towards the ferry about 2 kilometers out of town you'll pass a ...
Beach
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Cycle to Petroglyphs

104569The ride begins hilly but becomes flat and takes around 45 minutes to reach an isolated house, where there is a sign to the petroglyphs. There are two sites with ancient carvings on boulders, but the ...
Bicycling
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Ojo del Agua thermal spring

Just up from the beach on the road to Altagracia you'll see signs for this place. The Eye of the Water is confusingly described as a cold-water thermal spring. The point is, it's natural, ...
Spa/Hot Springs
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Punto Jesus María

This lookout extends to the island's west and is known as the best place on Ometepe to watch the sunset. The beach isn't spectacular, but it's the most convenient place to swim if you're staying in ...
Other Activity
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe Hotels

Hacienda Merida

104567It is a bit of a trek to get out to this place - the bus takes three hours or a cab is one-and-a-half - but it really, really is worth it. Nestled by the water on the south part of the island, this ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

La Penita Hospedaje

Verry frendly people and location, clean rooms and beds.The are from the island and realy want you to have a nice stay in the hostel. Remember this is a Hostel, so you live in the same house as the ...
Hostel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hostel Ibesa

At only $4, this is one of the cheapest private rooms to be found in town, but we'd hesitate to recommend it. The walls don't touch the ceiling here, meaning you're basically sleeping outside. ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Taguizapa

Taguizapa hotel is located in Altagracia and is next to a beach of the same name. The hotel, which is new and offers great hospitality, is a nice place to visit. The food is good and you can arrange ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hotel La Omaja

This could be the most gorgeous place on the island. A spectacular hilltop lookout over the lake. The location is very isolated and rustic, rich in bird life. The wilderness ends at your doorstep ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hotel Finca Santo Domingo

Rooms here are breezy and offer a lovely view out on the lake, although the building itself isn't as new or as attractive as Villa Paraiso. The place seemed clean, but there was an abundance of ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hospedaje Buena Vista

The is the budget option on Playa Santo Domingo. There is an even cheaper place next door, but it is not recommended. Rates are per person, so if you're a couple it's a great deal. Rooms are a bit ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Villa Paraiso

Villa Paraiso is the priciest option on Playa Santo Domingo and definitely has a more resort-type feel. The cabins are pleasant, with a quiet atmosphere and a nice view. The cheaper offerings, ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hotal Posada Cabrera

An old hotel, but a well-kept one and a pleasant enough place for the price. Staff are friendly and washrooms are clean. It's conspicuously family run ‚Äď there are kids all over the place. ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Hotel Castillo

This place is quite friendly and well-kept, although the rooms at Hotel Central are significantly nicer. One of the only places on the island where credit cards are ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Altagracia Hotels

Viva's choice for accommodations in Altagracia. The $4 rooms are a bit grimy, but $6 buys you an excellent place. Spotlessly clean and with a pleasant little balcony outside. For $16, you can rent ...
Hotel
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe Destinations

Altagracia

Altagracia is both the second largest town and second largest port on Ometepe ‚Äď having fallen behind Moyogalpa in prominence since being the island‚Äôs former indigenous capital. The ferry from ...
City
Altagracia, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Moyogalpa

As the main port of call on the island, Moyogalpa has grown into a prosperous town with a range of tourist friendly services, hotels and restaurants. Altagracia may be closer to Volcán Concepción, ...
City
Moyogalpa, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Playa Santo Domingo

Playa Santo Domingo has some of the best hotel and restaurants on the island, although the beach itself is no more than a small strip of sand (and it shrinks in the rainy season). The playa is known ...
City
Playa Santo Domingo, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Mapa
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