Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua) is the 19th largest lake in the world taking up about 7% of the country’s land mass.
Easily visible from the lake’s western shore, the largest island on the lake, Isla de Ometepe, is home to two volcanic cones, Concepción and Maderas. It’s these two volcanoes that bring much of the tourism to the island.
There are several ways to get around this 31km long island: by bus, bicycle, scooter, dirt bike or quad bike. While the bus doesn’t go very often, the bicycles can be rough on the hills, the dirt bike requires a prior riding history and the quad bikes were expensive, my friend from the hostel and I chose the scooters.
After picking up the scooters we decided to ride to the end of every paved road on the island before going to any of the attractions. It’s exhilarating riding down hills at a top speed of 90km/h with the wind flowing madly past, then screaming to halt at the many speed humps across the island, some taking us by surprise as they were unpainted. With the threat of having to pay for any damages, including scratches, we were overly careful.
As we rounded the island we stopped to take in the view of Volcán Maderas still covered in clouds.
It took only 90 minutes to ride all of the paved roads. The first of the island’s attractions was windblown Santo Domingo Beach with a kite surfer and a cloud drowned Volcán Concepción in the background.
Next we stopped for a swim at Ojo de Agua – Eye of Water, a natural spring pool on the flat area between the two volcanoes. While the water wasn’t as warm as expected, it wasn’t too cold either. Great for a swim on a warm day!
As we rode, the clouds cleared completely from the volcanos for the first time in 2 months. Volcán Maderas which last erupted more than 3000 years ago…
And Volcán Concepción, erupting last in 1986…
On the way back to town we stopped at the Conservation Park ‘Charco Verde’, and climbed a hill to get a view of Laguna Charco Verde, the largest lake on the island on the lake.
Then as we walked around the laguna we came across a family of monkeys high in the trees…
Lastly, we found our way to Punta Jesus Maria for a relaxing beer at the end of a great day.
After an hour at the beachside, we drove back to town, dropped off the bikes and headed to the hostel for another beer.
There were more places on the island we could have visited, but most were inaccessible to our scooters. These included other beaches, a waterfall, and several other towns. But even though we missed them, we still had a full day and enjoyed the experience.
Next, we climb the cone of Volcán Concepción.
The World Wanderer