Ometepe Island is a fascinating geographic point of interest, not to mention the interesting culture of its towns which are increasing in popularity among tourists. The island has a unique hourglass shape, as it was formed by two volcanoes rising out of the waters of Lake Nicaragua. The name Ometepe means “two hills” in the local Nahuatl language. The two volcanoes are conjoined by a thin strip of land, created by lava flow after an eruption long ago. Visitors reach the island via ferry, arriving in a UNESCO declared “Biosphere Reserve.”
To add to its credentials, Ometepe is the largest volcanic island within a freshwater lake in the world. A fascinating natural formation, coupled with interesting local culture and longstanding history of indigenous civilization makes an excursion to Ometepe truly rewarding. Much of the island is protected, and rich in unique plant and animal species, making Ometepe a nature lover’s paradise. Visitors can hike to the top of either volcano, or to various points along the way as the trek to the summit is quite demanding. Hikers can explore many other areas on the island, passing by lagoons, unspoiled beaches, outstanding lookouts, lush jungle teeming with wildlife, and impressive stones engraved with ancient carvings.
Ometepe Island is one of the most impressive sights in Nicaragua. The two volcanoes that emerged from the waters of Lake Nicaragua to form what is now Ometepe Island are called Concepción and Maderas. Adventure seekers can climb the still active Concepción volcano, though it is a grueling ten hour trek to the top. A guide is recommended. Visitors can also climb the dormant Maderas volcano, smaller in size yet overwhelmingly rich in biodiversity and natural beauty. Near the summit of Maderas, hikers discover a surprising oasis – a lagoon surrounded by lush forest, and revered by the indigenous people for its spiritual qualities. The top of Maderas is cloaked in a mystical cloud forest, alive with tropical birds and other animals. Walking through the cloud forest is an enriching experience.
The island boasts many beautiful rivers and waterfalls where visitors can admire the tranquility deep in nature, take a dip in the cool waters, feel the rush of a waterfall overhead, kayak, or swim. The island can be explored on foot, on bicycle, or on horseback. The towns of Ometepe are relatively small and quiet, even during tourist season. The native people are known for their hospitality, and the setting is very peaceful. The volcanic soils of Ometepe make fertile land for agriculture. A visit to a nearby coffee or banana plantation can be arranged. Ometepe has evolved relatively isolated from the rest of Nicaragua, giving it a unique mystery and charm, as well as some unique flora and fauna distinct from that of the mainland.
An enriching excursion to Ometepe Island from Morgan’s Rock is easily arranged and highly recommended!