Ometepe is a twin peaked volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The largest cone shaped volcano on the northern side of the island is called Concepción which had smoke billowing from the top of its cone as we approached the island by boat (as below). The southern volcano is extinct and is called Maderas.
Above is the first view we had of Ometepe and its two peaks as we were transferred to the island by public ferry.
We stayed in Ometepe for two nights and from a choice of activities decided a trek was in order for the full day we had on the island.
A small group of 8 of us were collected from the hotel at 7 am to begin a volcano trek which started at the base of the Maderas volcano. We trekked through the rain forest and made our way towards the spectacular viewing platform.
Our friendly guide was called Luis and he stopped several times to give us a wealth of information and point out a range of trees, birds, monkeys, insects and butterflies.
Luis spotted a large owl butterfly (as above) on a nearby tree and gently coaxed it into his hand. After explaining how the remarkable pattern resembles an owl’s face (to deter predators) he set it on its way back into the rainforest. We observed around 15 different colourful species on this trek.
The top of Maderas Volcano is usually hidden in its cloud forest so rather than exert too much effort to get to the top and not see anything we stopped half way up and admired the incredible view from the viewpoint.
Above is the view from the viewing platform which shows the middle part of the island between the two volcanos. While the Concepción volcano was mostly covered in cloud at this time we were fortunate that some of the cloud dispersed and we had better views (below) as we made our way back down Maderas volcano.
We agreed that we found the volcano trek to be of ‘moderate’ difficulty. It took about 4 hours to get to the viewing platform and back and was fairly steep as we began to climb the base of the volcano. Due to its volcanic soil the island is lush and green and covered in a range of tropical trees and plants.
After lunch in a lakeside restaurant we were taken to the Ojo de Agua springs. These springs form a natural pool which is filled with clear water from an underground river which originates from the Maderas volcano. While some of our group had a dip in the springs the temperature was around 21 degrees i.e. not a ‘hot’ spring and it didn’t appeal to us.
While at the spring pool a local group of young people put on a short display of cultural Ometepe dancing and music which added a splash of colour and interest to the end of our day.
As we first arrived at our Ometepe hotel we were treated to another spectacular sunset. Later the same evening we had another huge thunderstorm… one of those which lasted several hours, seemed to shake the lakeside hut we were staying in and hammered hard against the window!
Throughout our tour of Central America this has generally been the case… we are here in the rainy season but the days have had a similar format, i.e. sunny in the mornings, cloudy in the afternoons and a thunderstorm almost every evening.