Ometepe – Day 5 : patron saints

Today, we didn’t give up.

We took our time in the morning, because we felt a bit sore after all, and a bit down too, we made a few calls and hanged around. Also, the view from the common area didn’t help us to move, it’s so perfect, the volcano even has a cloudy angel halo.

View from the small table where we enjoy having breakfast. You don’t say.

Since we’re on that subject, let’s tell you about the outside areas. Here is always hot, so even when it’s raining heavily, we live outside. The rooms are well aired (with movable angle blade windows and fans) and everywhere, everywhere, there are porches, roof overhangs and even roofs that are not even attached to a building, a bit like covered markets. And since rain here is so strong, the slopes are really steep, and for nice wooden buildings, the roof is often made out of dry leaves. The end results are somewhat impressive.

On the foreground, the table where we like to have breakfast.

After a while, we hit the road (with the scooter) and went to the beach. THE Ometepe beach is Santo Domingo. It’s a nice black sand beach, and its width depends on the state of the lake, therefore on the season. Well, beginning of dry season is not the best moment, because, just like for Punta Jesus Maria, the sand strip was really narrow, like you can sit but then BOOM the lake is at your feet. We also avoided the water as not to ruin our brand new (and small) bandages.

On the road, we realized that we were not that much of a road hazard, compared with whatever you can find on this road : an incredible number of beasts (and children) are on the side of the road and in front of the houses. Crossed the road before our transfixed vehicle, for a route shorter than 20 km : a veal, two horses, 500 roosters and chickens (at least), pigs of every shape and size (but not that many, they got scared and turned around mid-crossing) and a few playful kids. At least, we didn’t fall on the main road.

Then, we went to eat in Altagracia, second town on the island. These days are holidays in the honor of San Diego de Alcala, so there is a big market and food stands. Sometimes, at the end of the day, we would cross trucks on the road with the backs filled with people and thought that they were going home from work. Nope, they were on their way to a hangover… Well we ate there in the middle of clothing, shoes and toys displays, hosted by crazy dudes with mikes shouting about their discounts like football commentators. It was funny.

The kid next table, though, had a less funny honking toy…

At some point, we went back to rest and return the scooter. Of course, every paint particle was inspected, and it was good that we had taken pictures at the beginning in front of the renter. He conned us out of “reparations cost”, reparations that will probably never be done (like the gauge, the odometer and speedometer, the left headlight and footrest… that were never repaired before us and desperately needed it) and some “painting cost”, paint which will also probably never be applied. Well, that’s the risk we took, and all in all it’s not too bad (and we had him lower his price anyway).

After a last meal here, still with a lot of other travelers, we went to bed, because tomorrow morning, we are leaving for Granada !

See you soon, X

Ometepe – Day 4 : monkeys and scooter

Today was full of adventures, good and bad !

Nicaragua lake

Since we arrived at our beautiful little hostel in the mountain on the south side of the island, we noticed a small problem : there are very few buses running here. That’s why numerous locals rent out scooter and sports bikes. Even though we don’t really have much experience driving this kind of vehicle, we decided to rent a scooter just to drive a few kilometers on the good paved road with very few people on it. But here, everything’s done without any paperwork, the scooter are just rented in cash to the tourists.

Our super ride !

After taking a few pictures of our new ride (so as to be able to prove a lot of damage was already there!), we went to the Charco Verde natural reserve, located around a small interior lake and mostly surrounded by the Nicaragua lake. So we hiked in the forest, again!

The interior lake

We had heard of the howling monkeys, but really hearing them is something else! After a few minutes in the park we started hearing a big concert of noise somewhat strange. As we got closer, we saw dozens of monkeys in the surrounding trees. We edited a short video for you guys, but being there in person is much more impressive and somewhat frightening!

But the monkeys themselves are very nice, calmly walking around just a few meters from us. We even saw baby monkeys playing while just hanging by there tails, and they were very cute 🙂 .

Hakuna Matata!
With the Smartphone camera they seem far, but they really weren’t!

Further up in the hike we had some nice views of the Nicaragua lake and the interior lake. We also saw many lizards stealthily running near the track, an agouti, a snake and a huge number of birds.

At the end of the trail we went by the beach, but as it’s the end of rainy season, water is high so the beach is tiny. But there were super cool trees to climb on and chill out over the water!

We know how to climb up trees too!

Once out of the park, we thought it was time to grab a bite, so we took our scooter down the 200m dirt road leading to the main road. And bam, we fell! So, yes Moms, we’re perfectly all right, we just look dumb with our scratches at the elbows and knees like kids after a biking accident (or tourist who screwed up in a dirt road because they didn’t really drive scooter before, but we’re probably not the first ones 😉 ).

So we didn’t grab a bite immediately, but we went back to the hostel to fix ourselves up, and then we ate there. In the afternoon we laid back to recover from the shock, and we had a look a the scooter, which unfortunately has a small  plastic cache banged up.

In the end of the afternoon we went out to buy alcohol (as a disinfectant, not to get wasted!), and we tried the road to Merida a bit because we were thinking of going to a waterfall there tomorrow. But very fast the good paved road turns into a shitty muddy and rocky road, too hard to handle for our (clearly) poor driving skills. So we went back to the hostel to make other plans for tomorrow.

So it was a good and bad day, but mainly we’re gonna be a bit stressed until we know for sure how much we’ll have to pay the “repairs” to the renter. More news in the next post (which should be posted shortly, as this one is a bit late  😉 ).

Ometepe – Day 3 : let’s rest

Today, we did nothing. Well, we rested and organized, which are very important things to do, but basically, to travelers, is the equivalent of doing nothing.

Last night, rain fell. Poured. Heavily. Pounded the roof all night, with thunder and everything. And for once, we have real curtains, so we’re not lit by the sun as soon as it gets out. So naturally, today, we slept in ! Then we just enjoyed life, with a big breakfast, reading in hammocks, observing bugs and birds in the garden and so on.

Finally, we also looked at our options for when we come back. And we ran a simulation of train prices to see family in December, for one and the other, friends for new year’s eve… It’s a mess, and it also costs a bit more than buses in Nicaragua, so we will see what we can do. When we will know, we’ll post all the dates of our grand tour, promised. Note : it took several hours to run different combinations, itineraries, dates etc.

Then it was evening, the sun went down and set fire to the skies and we ate and talked with two very nice dutch ladies. We also went to bed early, as to not ruin our perfect resting day !

Tomorrow should be more adventurous. This post will be sent when we get some wifi (it’s a bit fluctuating right now).


Bonus : a picture of Ben in front of a lake !


Ometepe – Day 2 : bus and volcanoes

Today, we changed volcanoes!

We started wit a quick breakfast and bag packing (we’re real pros now!) in time to catch one of the rare buses heading to the southern part of the island. While we were busy packing, a small lizard came to keep us company 🙂 .

The bus was one one the traditional “chicken bus” you find in Nicaragua : old American school buses, often with logos painted over the original yellow, with a luggage rack on the roof. The one we had today had had new seats installed, which left us more leg room than the one from yesterday and its original kid-sized seats!

After about an hour and a half (for like 28km, but the bus does make a few detours and stops), we were dropped of not too far from our hostel. As it’s located on one of the trail going up to the Maderas volcano, it did take us a good 15min uphill hike to reach it out of breath 😉 .

Mmmh, this grilled fish is good!

Luckily they serve meals up there, so we filled up en the middle of the lush garden its great view over the Conception volcano (where we were this morning, for those who don’t follow!). Meanwhile a lot of butterflies and hummingbirds were flying just a couple meters from us, and even if we’ve seen a lot of them during this trip, we’re still not tired of them.

The Conception volcano

In the afternoon we wanted to hike down to the village of Santa Cruz. We passed a few isolated houses and after a while arrived at the village of Balguë, much further than where we wanted to go. Turns out Santa Cruz was the bunch of isolated houses! Well, doesn’t matter, we got plenty of nice views of the two volcanoes.

The Maderas volcano

Tonight we ate at the hostel again, and even if it was dark, we had some beautiful views of the Conception volcano thanks to a far away storm who showed is its silhouette over yellow-orangy skies. Sorry we don’t have photos, but it’s impossible to take photos of lighting with a smartphone (we did try a video, but it was also too slow 😉 ).

So, that’s all for today, more news tomorrow (and maybe a photo of Ben, who knows ? :p ).

P.S : a small photo of the local blue bird. We’ll try to shoot better ones in the next days.


Ometepe – Day 1 : fresh water dips

Today, we discovered lake Nicaragua!

We started slow, because why not : we got up late and ate breakfast in our really nice common area. We did some accounting and online search, before deciding how and when to move. While I was watching Youtube videos of french news told by a funny guy, Ben actually went to the hairdresser ! It will probably help us getting into the US and now, he has this footballer haircut that every young person here has.


We ate in a local place and took (at the last moment) a bus to the Punta Jesus Maria. As the name doesn’t indicate in english, it’s a spit of sand in the lake, from which you can go swimming, and since it’s the most western point of the island, it’s the perfect spot for sunset-watching.


We left in the middle of the afternoon in a crowded bus. Here, they are former American school buses, sometimes still yellow but sometimes repainted with colorful patterns. It’s always hot as hell in there, though. He dropped us off on the main road, which is paved and goes almost all around the volcano. From there, we walked on a pretty and shaded road until a desk asked us for a dollar to go further (which we paid).


Once a the tip, we let our stuff down and looked at the place. The shame is, we are at the very beginning of dry season, which means the lake is at its highest level after all the rains from rainy season, and so the spit is at its shortest. When the lake is shallower, the spit forms a sand walkway that you can walk (almost with dry feet) for a kilometer. Today was more like 10m with a few steps in the lake where a tree was growing in the way, but it was nice anyway ! We bathed for a time, watching a volcano on the other side of the lake (I think it’s Masaya but it needs to be checked… The one on which we are, the main island, is Concepcion, and tomorrow we will go to Maderas.)

Since we were on a spit in the lake, we also had more recoil to see the volcano on which we are (Concepcion, if you’re following), so we took a picture, and by some miracle, it doesn’t even have a cloud on its tip !

The water was (again) at a very nice temperature, but not very clear, and after being in different seas, it was weird for us to be in fresh water again. It’s much more convenient to get dressed again afterwards, but it doesn’t float that good… When the sun went down, we bought some beers and talked on the beach with our dutch hostel neighbors (that we randomly met here) and a nice Australian couple.

Finally, we went at the extreme tip of the spit for the main event, and we were not the only ones, but it was still nice !

We knew we were not getting into the last bus, because it was going before sundown, so we decided to hitch a ride on the main road. On the way, on our shaded road that was now really dark, we passed between fields lighted by fireflies whirling in the grasses, it was wonderful, they were thousands (but totally impossible to photograph). We arrived safely in Moyogalpa, main city where we will sleep again tonight, and our nice driver offered us a discount if we rented him scooters tomorrow (which is not that good with luggage but…)

We thought we would do the blog when we got back a the hostel, but our dutch friends invited us for drinks, and we all ate together afterwards, so it was great !

See you tomorrow, X