Adiós Nicaragua - Ometepe Island to Mexico


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February 16th 2015
Published: February 16th 2015
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This morning we said goodbye to Nicaragua and flew to Mexico via San Salvador. We are overnighting in Cancun, on our way to Cuba and the next step in our amble through the Americas. We're both feeling the approaching end to our trip, in just six weeks time...

Since I last wrote we spent three nights on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, where it was mid dry season; windy, desolate and stunningly beautiful.

Ometepe is two volcanoes which thrust out of Lake Nicaragua and are joined by a land bridge forming a single island. Volcán Concepción is just over 1600 metres while its little brother Maderas is just under 1300 metres, and the land bridge is not much above lake level. It all makes for a very scenic ferry crossing and an interesting place to explore.

We quickly put out of our minds, the 10 hour and 8 hour treks to scale the volcanoes (you must be joking) and settled for renting a motor bike and looking about.

Mid dry season probably doesn't show the island at its picturesque best. It is a parched land and the animals look to be suffering, especially the horses, dogs and cattle, with a few notable exceptions. The fields were fallow with the stubble of last season's corn and there were red beans drying on grass matts along the roadsides. About the only thing that was happening was banana picking - green and by the truck load. Everything else looked like it was hunkering down and waiting for the rain, which normally comes in May.

But for the visitor, there are lots of things to see and do on Ometepe and the people are very friendly. We stayed in a hostel high up on the side of Concepción and from there rode across the land bridge and right around Maderas. The road was rougher than rough in patches, and all along the way we saw people at work in the fields and on the roads, and kids coming and going from school.

We visited a spring fed pool which was cool and refreshing and stopped for lunch of fish, salad and the ever present rice and beans. We saw Santo Domingo beach, where a kite school is getting underway, and it looks ideal. There is a waterfall, mysterious petroglyphs from pre Colombian times, three very interesting towns and at almost every turn you see windswept Lake Nicaragua. At 8200 square kilometres it is hard not to think of it as the ocean...

And so we have moved on from Central America, and I am sorry to have left that fantastic stretch of land with all its diversity, colour, beautiful people and natural wonders. Since the 11th December we have wandered through Panama, circled around Costa Rica and ambled through Nicaragua. With a bit more time we would have included Honduras and El Salvador, but there is never enough time to do everything. I am just feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to do what we have done.

Central America is amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone. My advice would be to do some Spanish lessons; they will be invaluable. And bring your sense of adventure, cause there's heaps there to be had...

And so we're going to Cuba, another destination on the long term wish-list. I can't wait to see La Habana and the land where time stood still......


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