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Published: October 31st 2015
It has been incredibly hot for the last few days, and by the time we arrived at the ferry port all I could think about was having a lie down near a fan...
The ferry from San Jorge to Moygalpa, Isla De Ometepe takes just an hour, but I'd seriously underestimated how big the island is, and our bus to Merida from there took another two hours!
We arrived at Hacienda Merida in the dark, but were welcomed into the loveliest room (with a double bed - my turn as Sam had the double in Tikal). I think they advertise the rooms here as dorm beds to get backpackers in, but they're not - just very nice private rooms! Or maybe the dorms are being refurbished... Not that I've seen anything that looks like it might house dorms.
Before dinner we arranged with a local guide to climb to the top of Maderas volcano the next day. Ometepe is a figure of eight shaped island, formed by two volcanoes - Concepcion and Maderas. Maderas is the shorter of the two, by about 200m, but is still 1394m high and apparently the better one to climb, as the forest
goes the whole way up and there's a lake in the crater!
Waking up at 6am, for breakfast at 6.30 and to start trekking at 7.30, was tricky as my bed was so comfortable, and I was nervous about the hours of climbing ahead! From the hostel through farmland to the base of park, we were shown two pteroglyph boulders and then welcomed into the first layer of forest. We saw the national bird of Nicaragua (it's blue and white... And I can't remember what it's called...), spider monkeys and howler monkeys, lots of butterflies... before reaching the first viewpoint - a view onto the island's other volcano, and the cloud forest.
The climb was LONG. Over four and a half hours long. And it rained while we were in the clouds. But we finally made it to the top and saw.... Clouds. Nothing but cloud! We'd been warned that it was rainy season, but we couldn't even see the lake at the top. Ah well!
The climb down took nearly as long, and by the time we reached the hostel I was starving! As we arrived, we saw that Grace had arrived to join us which
was brill, so we had a great evening - chatting and eating a very well earned dinner.
After all that effort, my legs were so achy the next day! Luckily it was a beautiful day, so we decided to chill by the lake - swimming and sunbathing. We also were shown round the school onsite, built out of plastic bottles filled with rubbish! The hostel owner explained that they buy them for 15 cordobas a bottle - it's a great way to keep the island rubbish free. I was a bit confused about paying for them for a while, but them it made sense - awesome idea 😊
Leaving the hostel early the next morning, we began our journey to San Jose... 2 hour bus to the ferry, one hour ferry, then a short taxi to the bus station to get the tica bus direct to San Jose. Apart from the bus was full, so we had to make a new plan....
Back into the taxi, to the border - and there was literally a bus going to San Jose waiting, after the Nicaragua exit, but before we'd entered Costa Rica. Panic totally over 😊
a bit of hostel drama, and moving to a new one at midnight (bedbugs - no. Just no.) we all were a bit hysterical, and couldn't really sleep - despite our 5am wake up the next day, for another bus to our first real place in Costa Rica - Santa Elena (Monteverde)
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