Hiking Volcano Concepcion on Ometepe

Published: January 12th 2018
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Buenas chicos,

Only been a week since the last blog but done a few things and lots of new pictures to share so another blog!

Mentioned in my last blog the list of things I want to see and do while here on Ometepe, well this week managed to tick one off, the hardest one, hiking Volcan Concepción.

Levis, who also works at the farm, was our qualified guide for the hike, he has done this hike over a hundred times and only a handful has he seen it cloudless.

Unfortunately it had clouds the day we went, however the plus is that if hiking in full sun it must be a killer! Also dont realise how high you are and I am not great with heights!

The hike is approx 6.5km up and down with angles of descent 25 to 35 degrees.

Some facts about the volcano, stolen from ineternet!

Concepción is one of two volcanoes (along with Volcan Maderas) that form the island of Ometepe.

The stratovolcano through continual eruptions, now reaches an altitude of 1,610m making Ometepe the world's highest lake island.

It is considered a "pristine" volcano because there has been no influence of other volcanoes on its growth.

Adventure seekers from all over the world travel to Ometepe Island to climb Volcán Concepción. There are numerous trails in the tropical forest that surrounds the volcano's ash-covered peak.

Although it went through a long quiet period in 1880 Concepción came back to life. This eruption was extensive, and the volcano remained active for a year.

More eruptions followed in 1883, 1889, 1902, 1907, and 1924. In 2005, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale occurred as a result of increasing pressure within the volcano.

Cracks appeared on roads throughout the island and an advisory to leave the island was issued. This was the first minor eruption since 1999.

The most recent eruption was in 2010 and although it was extremely violent, few of the inhabitants heeded the order from the government in Managua to evacuate the island and little damage was done.

So we left the farm early to catch the 0530 bus from the bottom of Maderas volcano Balgue to the Volcano hike trail entrance, about 40 mins ride.

There were 5 of us from the farm, a "tourist" plus Levis our guide.

The hike gets gradually steeper the higher you get with the terrain starting as forest then changing to smaller bushes and finally just volcanic rock and ash.

The path winds early on but about halfway up it is literally straight up.

The final 20 minutes is just rocks and is quite steep, leading up to the crater.

As i said it was cloudy so did not manage to get a top of the volcano view and the crater was filled with cloud also.

I am told if it is clear you can see volcanoes in Costa Rica and you can see Granada from the top of the volcano.

Looked into the misty crater looked quite scary especially as you realise you are overhanging into the volcano.

It was a killer hiking up, burny leg muscles which required many rest stops!

When at the top we only stayed for 15 mins as a sulphur mist is present, smelly and eye stingy!

The hike down was really difficult at the top as it is so steep and loose rocks, then due to surface sand very slippy, I ended up on my arse 3 times on the way down!

Then we take a different route down using the volcanic sandy flows where you can walk/run with your feet sinking into the sand.

I took it easy at first due to my dodgy knee but everything seems ok.

Near the bottom we reached the hike entrance hut, where when I found out they had cold beer my body just collapsed to the floor!

Took about 4 and a half hours up and two and half to come down.

Several days later and I can hardly walk!

I also want to hike Volcan Maderas which is not as high and steep but as dormant is covered in forest and cloud forest, so wet and slippy higher up.

Also this one has a lagoon in the caldera that you can swim in.

Things continue at the Bona Fide farm with some new volunteers here for 2 weeks, Colin (French Canadian)& Coline (Belgium), Orsli (Hungary). Sherri and me the only long

termers here still currently.

2 new 3 month interns due next Monday plus couple more volunteers in the week.

Done a few different jobs from the norm this week at the farm. Helped shovel the contents of one of the compost toilets, having often deposited now I was making a withdrawal lol.

Surprisingly was just like wood shavings as all composted down except for the odd bit of toilet paper, takes six months to compost.

So we shoveled out the contents from a rear trap door and used as mulch around some nearbye coffee plants.

Luckily we had the students here so lots of hands to bucket the compost, only took an hour or so.

Each compost toilet building has 2 toilets and the idea is to empty switch then leave the full one to compost.

This particular one is my favourite as it has some cool artistry on the side and has a really nice view when in use!!

But really needing emptying/switching. No photo lol!

Another day I spent 2 hours chopping firewood then an hour tidying up the wood area, very tiring but good exercise and a challenge to split the wood as in hit in the right place with the axe.

We use the firewood to fire up a rocket stove for cooking, we have 2 gas burners also.

One of the composting toilets bamboo walls were rotten from termites, so we stripped back the walls.

Then we had to cut lengths of bamboo and then split it into quarters using a machete and a lump of wood to beat the machete to split the bamboo.

We then lacquer the inside of the bamboo to try and give some protection from termites. Each piece of bamboo is then nailed at the bottom and then tied in place at the top.

We have finished the front walls, now need to do the rest!

Been here 5 weeks now with 5 weeks left then travelling to Granada for couple days and on to Managua where I catch a flight back to San Jose Costa Rica.

My visa runs out so need to leave the country and originally was flying back to do another turtle conservation project, but not doing that now.

Been looking at other things to do, seen some workaway projects where you dont pay anything but do 4 to 5 hours work each weekday in return for a room/bed and some food.

Seen a small farm near San Juan del sur Nicaragua, someone building a hostel on Ometepe, other various hotels wanting volunteers.

Another option to work at a nature reserve on Mt Chirripo in Costa Rica. Decisions decisions!

Also thought about getting an Air BNB for a month... to just chill.

May even come back to Bona Fide for another month as it is a nice routine working in the mornings on the farm then chill or go do stuff afternoons and weekends.

Many things are half the price in Nicaragua compared to Costa Rica.

Been away from UK for just over 3 months now, approx 5 months left.

Until next time...


Marky Larf


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