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Isla De Ometepe

Nicuragua, Lago De Nicuragua

overcast 28 °C

In Granada we stayed in a Hostel called La Libertada which had free internet and breakfast. Since we only had a small distance to go, we slept late and ate our free breakfast lazily in some handmade furniture that had animals carved into all the armrests. I had Nacatamal, which is a Tamale specific to Nicuragua, apparently hard to find as another traveller informed us. I was thoroughly impressed with them and I will try to find more tamales in future countries. After breakfast we headed to Rivas, the largest town closest to the lake. We took a taxi ride to San Jorge, the town in which the Ferry to Moyogalpa on Isla De Ometepe leaves from and found that the ferry was leaving within 20 minutes. We hoped aboard and bought ourselves a snack which consisted of an over fried piece of chicken and a bag of plantain chips..yes we live a life of kings people. The ferry took us approximately an hour for which I was out on deck, while the other two.. as per usual on any piece of transportation, slept. I believe I was made fun of for my hat, but it didn't bother me too much, since I mostly cannot understand spanish when I don't have any previous idea of what the conversation should be about. (ie, if I start a conversation about bus scheduals, i know the person wont be telling me about the weather... or at least I should very well hope not, since making a bus and not, as we've discovered recently in Monteverde, can be a disapointing experience.) I did get that they were saying they knew of Canada, I was less than impressed, we are the second largest country in the world. I was unfase though, as I watched the majestic island grow nearer. The larger of the two volcanoes, rising 1610 metres above sea level, was spuing sulfur into the air around the mouth of the crater and just begged for us to climb it. We found the cheapest hostel in town and then made it cheaper by sleeping in the hammoks! It cost about 1.30 US per person! Cheapest lodging yet! Staying in one of the private rooms was a couple, one form holland, one from Britian, who told us about a great guide that spoke excellent english and did tours daily for the standard price of 10 dollars. Hanging around the hostel was this Canadian who ownednd operated a sports bar and resturant just down the street. He gave us so tips about guides and said he would find the one that the couple spoke of for us. A first time experience was had at the bar that night after dinner, we sat ourselves down infront of a high definition projector and wached Layer Cake, a movie that we had wanted to watch back home! We even had ourselves some popcorn to top it all off! We awoke the next morning before the comming of dawn, at around four. Grogily, we strapped on our hiking boots and left the hostel grounds before there was any light at all. The guide met us at the street corner in a van which would drive 45 minutes tot he base of the volcano. By the time we were on the trail it was just begining to get grey out, a sure sign the sun was stillcomming up and had not forgotten to rise. (Which by this time, we were wondering, since we'd been up an hour before sunrise.. and thats simply a strange feeling!) The first few kilometers were done in silence, since none of us was awake enough to think, let alone comment on our surroundings. We stopped under this massive tree (well what I thought was massive, but apparently half of it was covered under sand and volcanic rock from the last volcanic erruption) and had our first words, along with plenty of water. Once we began to acend, the "cloud forest" as it were began to close in around us and we got our first glimpses of Howler monkies. The guide pointed out local flowers and plant which the indigenous used for a variety of things from a sleeping aid, to getting children to talk at the right age. The day presented itself and boy were the volcano gods angry that we were trespassing. The day was completely overcast, and thus, we would not be able to climb to the crater. The climb became more than a 45 degree incline and the going got tough, but the three amigos kept on trucking! The 1000 meter mark (approximatley) is where we made it too, and boy was it hella cool! The wind was so strong you had to pout your full weigh into it just to stand upright, and the clouds were whippoing by us...yes you've got it.. we were in the clouds that were moving at a rediculous pace. There was absolute nothingness where once, people told us there was a view. The decent, just as awe inspiring as the acent, was also just as exerting, since there was no walking.. the entire decent consisted of running.. yup, we ran down this twisting and turning, sandy and root crossed path, for a good hour. The entire time our guide was giggling like a school girl, and the laugh was infectous because within the first few minutes all of us were laughing, for no good reason, save for the pure fun of it. So lets make sure you have a good image of this in your head; here are four, grown men (I know, parents, not one of you likes to admit it, but we are no longer children, and no we will never fit back from whence we came) absolutly, full out, running down these jungle crowded pathways, creating dust trails that left you coughing and sputtering if you got too close to the person in fron of you and the entire time... laughing. The monkies were undoubtedly scared for their lives, three gringos and a local yelling some kind of war chant and running like madmen. The rest of the day was spent in the hammocks catching up on some missed sleep and chilling after such a strenuous activity so early in the morning. That night we went to Yogi's (The Canadian Bar) to use the internet and have some "flavourful food." Bed came early, and we slept like logs, only to be awoken by the intermittent drop of water from the holes in the cabaña. Our plan was to go to the other side of the island to visit the other town, but the rain brought us all down, so we slept in and finally, we decided that we would do a small hike into a park, about half hour away. We took a bus around 12:00 and headed to a point of protected land. At first, the rain became heavier and we were all wondering what the hell made us get out of our hammocks at all. Eventually the sun poked out from behind the dense cloud cover and we actually began to get hot! Good thing the hike was all along the shore, so we just picked the best beach and jumped in! It was actually strange to be swimming in fresh water again, since the majority of the water we are swimming in is SALTY! We continued our hike and headed back toward the main road for lunch. We came across this little restaurant with prices that suited our budget perfectly and sat ourselves down to enjoy the quaint ambiance of the place. I ordered a potato salad, Leigh had pesto, and Craig had fish soup. Our meals were absolutely the best lunches we have had so far. First off, there was an entire fish in Craig's soup, Leigh's pesto was was apparently flavorful, and my potato salad was gy-normous with eggs and many vegetables. Coupled with he price, this made the meal, without question, the best lunch! We headed back to the road and we were struck with the idea that we should hitch hike back, since we had to wait at least an hour and a half for the next bus. We picked up a truck within a half an hour and got in with a couple other travelers and two locals. We made it back to two before the bus would have even been picking us up! It was great to stand in the back of a truck and have the wind whipping past, trying desperately to understand the Spanish that was being thrown our way. Plus, it was free! Our last night on Isla De Ometepe was a short a sleep as the first since we had to get up for the first ferry of the day to make it into Costa Rica! All in all great time in a beautiful place.

Happy trails everyone,

Ryan

Posted by Nomad18 18:42 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged backpacking

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What is it with you guys and the volcanoes, one is not enough! Glad to hear no one fell off this one and there were no accidents which would 'leave a mark'. You guys really know how to cover ground these days, I can hardly keep up. Good to hear that your meals are keeping you filled up . . 'cause we now know in great detail the drinks you consume. Much love, Mom xoxoxox

by coribel

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