We have had a wild last couple of weeks, first with almost no internet (and a couple of amazing new friends, so the computer was the last thought) in Las Peñitas, and then 30 hours of travel up to Mexico… so our posts are a bit behind schedule!
We have plenty more coming your way, but here’s one that I’ve been wanting to post for awhile, about travel to Ometepe Island!
At the beginning of October we headed to Ometepe Island, a place we highly recommend to all.
Situated in Lago Cocibolca (the indigenous name), otherwise known as the great Lake Nicaragua, lives the isolated island made up of 2 volcanoes. The active Concepcíon and the extinct Maderas are joined by a thin stretch of land.
You may only be a 1 hour ferry ride away from the mainland, but Ometepe Island feels disconnected from the world, in the most beautiful way.
We only spent 6 days on the island, but could have spent much more time here. October is the rainy season, and we experienced it at its fullest, having to miss out on a lot of the wonderful sites we had heard of — a perfect excuse to go back!
There are plenty of helpful travel sites that can give you an idea of where to go, where to stay, and what to do on the island, but a lot of the advice is different from blog to blog and can be a bit overwhelming.
Having read the blogs, done some research, and been to the island, the best advice we can give is to not overwhelm yourself with reading. Just get to the island, stay for 2 nights in Moyogalpa, and plan the rest of your island adventure from there.
You can fly or you can take a ferry.
Flights are $50USDpp one way
Ferry is $1.85USDpp (50C) one way
The ferry goes from San Jorge port in Rivas (and if the lake is high enough, they operate a ferry out of Granada. They closed it in 2018, so maybe 2019 rainy season).
The ferry operates pretty much every hour, but they sometimes skip a departure time in order to fill up the boat more, so make sure you have a lot of time for travel in your day.
You can find the Ometepe Island Ferry Timetable here. Keep in mind there are 2 ports on the island – Moyogalpa and San Jose del Sur. We recommend going to Moyogalpa.
If you do decide to fly, here’s the Ometepe Flight Schedule. They only fly Thursday – Sunday.
We arrived in Rivas at the mercado bus station. I imagine there are busses out to San Jorge, but we decided to take a taxi, which cost $10USD.
There are many little restaurants on the outside of the port gates, with owners ready to help you with their bags, taking you to sit down for lunch! If you have time, the views are nice, and the lunch was cheap ($3USD for a plate of rice, beans, salad, plantains and choice of chicken or pork). BUT – they don’t serve beer. So if you want beer, you need to head through the port gates pictured above.
It’ll cost you $1USD to get through the port (for use of it, of course), and then you pay for your ferry ticket once you’re on board the ferry and half way across the lake.
Travel Tip: The verb “to buy” is “comprar” in Spanish. The verb “to change” is “cambiar.” They are similar sounding in English, but very different en Español. Learning a new language is hard.
Walk down the path to your ferry, pick a seat, and you’re on your way! They even sell snacks on board, in case your $3 lunch doesn’t fill you up!
We were lucky, but we’ve heard that the journey can be a bit rough, so make sure you’ve got your anti-nausea medication ready just in case!
Welcomed by the bright colours and cloudy skies, Moyogalpa’s ferry terminal/dock is in the exact same location as the chicken bus station.
There are tuk tuks available to drive you to your hotel, but town itself is pretty small, so if you have little luggage, you can wander your way to your accommodation.
We booked our place on booking.com, and unfortunately the man tried to tell us our room was double the price, that the website got it wrong. But we were in luck with it being quiet season, we walked down the road and got a wonderful room at Hospedaje Central for $11USD for a private room with a bathroom. There is no shortage of accommodation in Moyogalpa, which seems crazy because the town is so small. But you have many options, they are not luxury, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re best to stay on the mainland.
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of blogs with different opinions, and an infinite amount of things to do! If you have time, dedicate it to the island, you won’t regret it. Ask your accommodation hosts for ideas, but don’t be afraid to get out and venture on your own!
Definitely take the chicken bus – it is so cheap and pretty easy travel. It’s basically just a school bus, and it stops multiple times, but on the island, what does time matter anyways? Just sit back, relax, enjoy the views, and buy the cheap tasty treats from the vendors!!
We only stayed in Altagracia, and climbed Volcan Concepcion, before we were rained off the island – but we did do some biking, and have heard wonderful things about other places, so some of our mini-recommendations are below:
Even with horns beeping, we absolutely recommend checking out this island,
and we truly cannot wait to get back out there!!!
We are not sponsored by anyone we linked to,
we just wanted to share the best advice we could find,
to help you have the best experience out there!