Nothing to Do but Gaze at Two Volcanoes

“. . . as they looked out on the great expanse of green, the banks of Lake Nicaragua, and Concepción and Maderas, twin volcanoes, with their peaks shrouded in clouds. . . “       –Gioconda Belli

Upon arriving on the ferry’s roof deck, happy to have sunscreen handy, I realized that I had over an hour to gaze at two volcanoes and ponder upon the mammoth island of Ometepe, and all the things that are possible to do there. I only did a small fraction of these things as I spent half of my time at the beginning of the island, often taking advantage of the solid Internet connection there, that is, when the power wasn’t out, which happened for anywhere between 10 minutes and multiple hours each night. If I visit the island again, here are some things that I’d like to do.

● Observe the ubiquitous urracas (white-throated magpie jays) again. These gorgeous blue jays seem to be everywhere. I’m sure that I saw about a hundred of them during my week and a half on Ometepe. When walking under trees, they seem to  be flying above or resting on branches. I tried to take pictures of them on numerous occasions, but they would always notice me and fly away too quickly. Fortunately, I managed to get this one.

● Ride a mountain bike along the entire rocky and hilly, dirt road, around the farthest side of the island, where Volcán Maderas rises into the sky.

● Hike one or both volcanoes.

● Hike in the wilderness and take in some petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are carvings, engravings, or line drawings in rocks, created by prehistoric people.

● Organize better ways to get around the island, as opposed to getting stuck walking for 10 or 15km stretches, which happened to me last Sunday. I hadn’t realized that on Sundays the island becomes still, and transportation lacks considerably.  As I love to walk, I still can’t regret the great walking experiences that I had.

● Drop more cash on good and/or healthy food, which I need to focus on for the rest of this trip.  The plate that you see features dark greens, the only dark greens I’ve found in Nicaragua.  They were purchased from a seemingly genuine, enterprising Brit who’s a fantastic cook.

● Visit and swim in the natural fresh water pools of Ojos de Agua (Eyes of the Water).

● Swim under the 35m high San Ramón waterfall.

● Speak more Spanish, but when the locals aren’t imbibing.

● Give more business to the locals as opposed to the better run ex-pat owned establishments.

● Keep a better eye/hand out for ticks and burn them off immediately, so as to have a better chance of removing everything and not being temporarily stuck with foreign object matter.

● Get more religious about using sunscreen, which also needs to be the case for the rest of this trip as I move south, and as the hottest time of the year continues to approach.

● Kayak around at least a stretch of the island.

I highly recommend visiting Ometepe soon, before all the roads are paved, and the island becomes kitschy from being overrun by expat entrepreneurs.


4 responses to this post.

  1. JUAN: Muchisimas Gracias! I need to set up an account on Twitter and Facebook soon, amongst many other things. I’m hoping that I’ll find a place I’ll want to stay for a longer time soon, thus be able to spend more hours of my day on the computer.
    Yes, there are so many places in Nicaragua alone, never mind Central America, and all of Latin America. I’ve noticed that most Latin Americans pay much more attention to the U.S. than to other Latin Countries. This is similar to my relationship to the U.S. e.g., I had some Australian girls tell me how amazing it was to hike the Grand Canyon. I’ve never been.
    In Nicaragua the tourists are mostly from North America and Europe. I did meet two Argentinian girls on Ometepe who are travelling through Central America though.


  2. Posted by Juan Lison on February 26, 2011 at 07:36

    Man, How can I share your blog with others on Twitter? It’s amazing how many great places we have in Latin America that us Latinos don’t even have a clue about! Keep posting!


  3. AL: I’m actually tired of schlepping back and forth across the island, whether I hitchhike, use public buses or private tourist taxis. I did the latter once. Regardless, Ometepe is a unique place. It’s a natural wonderland and it’s a real easy vacation spot. All you need to do is fly into Managua. Ometepe is only two and a half hours south, there’s tons of transportation available, making it super easy.
    It doesn’t matter what anyone does or doesn’t do anywhere. It’s all relative.
    One big thing I couldn’t help thinking about on the island is the ridiculous gap between the haves(tourists) and the have-nots(locals).


  4. It’s virtually impossible to always do everything one would want do in a particularly nice place, but I think you did quite a lot! Thanks for showing us Ometepe.


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