As I mentioned, Ometepe is not the best place to keep a blog updated. There is internet at a few places on the island. Electricity is obviously a prerequisite, which often isn’t met. But here’s an attempt to catch up.
Cocos locos at Agua de Ojo
After a long nights sleep after climbing Concepcion, we weren’t up for anything big the next day. We went to Ojo de Aqua with the Irish girls we hiked Concepcion with , which in Nicaragua is a five star spa resort. It is a natural/ artificial pool that is fed by volcano filtered water. The water is nicely cool and we decided that it was the first time in central America that we had been actually cool. We both got coco-locos, which are coconuts with rum. They were strong and we enjoyed recovering in the pool and swinging off the rope swing.
After Ojo de Aqua, Cameron and I ate lunch in Santo Domingo, which is a beach town on the island. We walked back along the beach and had to cross some cows going for a drink and some horses before going for a refreshing swim and trying not to think about what was else was in the water. We walked the 2 miles back along the beach and relaxed at our hostel for a while before dinner.
Sharing the beach in Santo Domingo
And now, more about our hostel Little Martin’s. It is the coolest hostel Cameron and I have ever stayed in. Its run by an Irish ex-pat and his Nica wife. Its centered around a bar and restaurant, in the Nicaraguan sense, filled with tables, chairs, hammocks, and a pool table that looks like it has had a hard journey to the island. All the buildings and furniture are made out of found wood. The staircases curve with the curved trees that make them up. There are hammocks everywhere and a great mix of travelers, some traveling for months or years, and locals. It is on the lake and has views of both Concepcion and Maderas.
Our dorm at Little Martin’s
We decided to trek up to el Zopilote for dinner. It is a farming commune run by an Italian that serves pizza 3 times a week. It has a strong hippie vibe, if the introduction didn’t elicit that. The pizzas were delicious and the home-made honey beer was interesting, though I don’t know if it would order it again. We got back to the hostel, packed, hung out for a bit, and turned in for a long day of travel the next day.
Kitchen at el Zopilote
Leaving the next morning was bittersweet. I was obviously excited to get to Costa Rica and start using technology in a broad sense again. But the pace of life was slow and laid back. The buses, which are old US school buses always filled to twice of full capacity, have a loose schedule that is not written anywhere. Many of bus times are sporadic. Sometimes they’re there. Other times they’re not.
However, the most striking aspect of Nicaragua and Ometepe in particular was the poverty. I had never been to a 3rd or even 2nd world country. Almost every business on the island was run out of a dirt floored room in a house. Some people could afford the bus, but most got around on old bikes, horses, or walking. All the clothes had been worn for 10 years before making it to the island. Many children were working with their parents during the week. Animals that were always desperate for food roamed through the house and yard. Most of their diet is rice, beans, and plantains, with a small portion of meat. They can’t afford fresh vegetables, fruit, or coffee, even though it is most of their country’s exports.
Repairing a typical roof in Ometepe
Ometepe is an almost magical place. A remote island made of two volcanoes that rises out of Lake Nicaragua. It is hard to get to and hard to leave. Because you don’t want to and because you it’s literally hard to get off the island.
Ferry with Ometepe shrouded in clouds
Cameron and I woke up at 6 to travel to Costa Rica. We took a taxi to San Jose de Sur to take the ferry. A ferry to San Jorge. A taxi to Rivas. A bus to Samoa. We then had to pass through Samoa gate and Nicaraguan customs. Then it was a kilometer walk through sweltering heat to the Cosa Rican immigration. The experience was about what you would expect from trying to get through a border in central America. We got on a bus to Liberia. And then a bus to Nicoya. And then an hour and a half waiting outside the restaurant we were supposed to meet Brit, Kelsi, and Aunt Kim at. We got picked up and drove the 90 minute windy, bumpy, dirt road to Nosara. We got in at 7.
Costa Rican and Nicaraguan Customs
12 hours with 2 taxis, 1 ferry, 3 buses, 1 Latin American border, and 1 car. A long day of travel, but it’s great to be with the girls and have a home for a few days.