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Things To Do In Ometepe

The volcanic island of Ometepe rises from Lake Nicaragua in the Central American country.
  An island of reverence and awe since ancient times, Ometepe rises from the depths of Lake Nicaragua, which dominates the southwestern region of the Central American nation of Nicaragua, brushing against the coastline of the Pacific Ocean.  
  The crown jewel of two magnificent volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, Ometepe encompasses 276 square kilometres (107 square miles), the world’s largest island situated in a freshwater lake. Its shape resembles an hourglass, two distinct islets joined by a small isthmus. The two grand volcanoes tower above the landscape and lakeside vistas. In the northwest, Concepcion reaches 1,609 metres (5,280 feet) elevation, while in the southeast Maderas soars to 1,394 metres (4,574 feet). 
  A vision of paradise for its pre-Columbian native peoples, Ometepe indeed remains a place of natural beauty seldom seen anywhere else. Dense jungle conceals its wealth of waterfalls, beautiful springs and abundant wildlife, but those who venture to Ometepe are rewarded with the experience of a lifetime. Hikers, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts of every description find fulfilment in a variety of activities, and the entire island is designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Challenging hikes through the rainforest trails and up the slopes of Concepcion or Maderas require from seven to ten hours. However, the rewards are stunning. The ancient Maderas crater is today a lagoon, while the summit of Concepcion offers panoramic, unrestricted views of the island and its surroundings.
  Ecotourism thrives on Ometepe, and watercraft travel back and forth to the mainland several times a day, docking at the port town of Moyogalpa, where amenities are readily available. This includes hotel accommodations or more inexpensive hostel-style lodgings, as well as restaurants, refreshments and stores where necessities may be procured. Car, motorcycle and bicycle rental companies operate there as well. The most expedient route to Ometepe is the boat from the town of San Jorge, and the one-way trip requires about an hour. The fare is inexpensive at about £1.50 ($2). A larger ferry from the town of Granada is not quite as dependable as the San Jorge schedule, running twice a week to the northern town of Altagracia. Overland distance between Moyogalpa and Altagracia is 24 kilometres (15 miles).
  The nature reserve of Charco Verde is located near Altagracia, and visitors become acquainted with the native species, including howler monkeys, boa constrictors and a variety of birds. The reserve lagoon is a quiet place of mangrove trees casting light and shadow across the waters, and always under the watchful gaze of the dominant volcanoes. Hotel accommodations, shops and restaurants thrive in Altagracia, where the pre-Columbian heritage of Ometepe is celebrated in a museum that houses examples of ceramics, statues and ancient carvings well worth a visit.
  Stopping off at Santo Domingo Beach en route to Altagracia is a pleasant diversion for an afternoon, and other beautiful beaches are accessible along the road connecting the two sides of Ometepe. On the southwestern slope of Maderas lie the enchanting villages of San Ramón and Mérida. Both are adjacent to Lake Nicaragua, and San Ramón is famous for its breathtaking waterfall.