Based on our previous experience with crossing the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, we booked a private car to the border, and planned on just finding a taxi on the other side to avoid waiting. But when we got to the border the lines were incredibly long, and the only way to get through faster was to be part of a bigger group. Too bad, so we waited in line for two hours. We teamed up with a Dutch couple and shared a taxi with them to San Jorge dock. We planned on arriving there in time for the 2.30 pm ferry to Moyogalpa, Ometepe, but just made the second to last ferry at 5 pm. This was going to San Jose instead of Moyogalpa, but San Jorge was dirty and full of annoying flies, do we just wanted to get out of there. The sun set just as we left the dock, so the ferry ride was very dark. We didn’t know how long the journey was, and didn’t really see any lights from Ometepe until we were basically at the dock. We took a taxi to Moyogalpa in the dark, and were looking forward to some light the next morning.
In the evening we walked the quite short main street in Moyogalpa (the second biggest city on Ometepe with around 3000 inhabitants), booked a trip for the next day, had a couple of beers, waited a long time for a small, reheated lasagne, watched another Christmas parade and had a short chat with two Norwegian travellers sitting on the table next us.
Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes (Concepción and Madras) rising from Lake Nicaragua. We have climbed enough volcanoes this year (but will probably be ready for a few more next year), so we visited four easily accessible sites instead. In the Ecological Reserve of Charco Verde we had a nice 1 hour walk in a tropical forest surrounding a lagoon. There were lots of lizards everywhere, and butterflies in all kinds of colours. We heard a lot of birds in the trees and between the reeds in the lagoon, but mainly saw stilts and several orakas (blue jay family). Our next stop was at Al ojo de aqua, a natural spring where we went for a refreshing swim and enjoyed a beer while watching the kids (and some adults) jumping from a rope swing. After a lunch break we had another swim at Playa Santo Domingo, a beautiful 4 km long sand beach, popular among tourists, locals and domestic animals (a herd of cows were drinking from the lake when we arrived!). It was a special feeling to have sand bottom and waves and in a fresh water lake. Really nice! On our way back to Moyogalpa we stopped at Punta Jesús María, a narrow spit of land formed by water currents and sediments. We walked along the sand bank a few hundred meters, and got great views towards the two volcanos of Ometepe Island.
In the evening we booked a shuttle for the next day and walked around the city a bit more. We found a lovely pizza place a block away from the main street hassle, so we had dinner and a couple of drinks there. On our last day we enjoyed a slow morning, had a large breakfast, did some shopping (running out of sunscreen again!) and had plenty of time before the 12.30 pm ferry. We were picked up by our driver Francisco at the San Jorge dock, and had a nice (but warm, no AC) 2 hour drive to Managua. We even had a quite long conversation with him in our tourist Spanish, discussing our travels so far, where to go next and things we saw along the road.
Since we have a very early flight out of Nicaragua, we booked the hotel solely based on the distance to the airport. We didn’t expect anything very fancy based on the price, but when we arrived it turned out to be a 5 star hotel with tennis courts, a spa and a swimming pool, and our room was very large with two double beds. The biggest luxury was the shower though, hot water AND good pressure! Haven’t had both at the same time in a month! We got a free welcome drink and after some blogging (best internet in a month as well) we had a great dinner and went early to bed.