After around 7 hours of air travel, with a brief transfer in San Salvador, we landed in Managua feeling sleep deprived, hungry, and totally out of it. Not checking any bags immediately paid off though, as it allowed us to whiz right through customs and meet up with our prearranged Adelante Express driver. After a brief but choppy spanish/english confirmation, we were off San Jorge to catch a ferry across Lake Nicaragua!

Ometepe hand drawn mapThe drive was about 2 hours and offered us plenty of fun scenery to observe as we wound our way through banana tree groves and past all sorts of funky statues.

Managua Donkey Rider StatueManagua Religious StatueManagua Wooden Indian StatueManagua Colorful Roadside ShopUpon arriving in San Jorge, we found out that we had some time to kill before the ferry to Ometepe arrived. Rather than just sit around the terminal, we pulled up a couple of chairs at a nearby restaurant and ordered a few Toñas, our favorite of the available Nicaraguan beers.

Ometepe San Jorge PortBy the time our ferry arrived, the clouds had gotten significantly darker, the wind had picked up, and it was starting to rain intermittently. Oh, and instead of a ferry, our method of transportation turned out to be more of boat.  A small, damp, dirty, rotting, wooden, double-decker boat. Every time this thing hit even a small wave, it sounded as if it was about to dissolve into Lake Nicaragua. It didn’t help that they stuffed it well past standing room only, both above and below deck.

Ometepe Interior Lancha BoatOmetepe Lancha Crowded BoardingAfter a soggy sea-sickening hour, we pulled into Moyogalpa, one of Ometepe’s main ports.

Ometepe Moyogalpa Port ExitOmetepe Island Model FountainWe had already arranged for a taxi back in San Jorge and quickly met up with our driver. After brief introductions, we started off down a very bumpy road for another scenic 2 hour drive, this time to La Omaja Hotel, our base camp for the next few days.

Ometepe Rough Mountain RoadOmetepe Volcano Over CloudsOmetepe La Omaja EntranceBy the time we arrived, we had hit our 17th hour of travel and really didn’t want to do anything more than shower, eat and pass out. Lucky for us, our room ended up being super comfortable, complete with 2 beds, a nice size porch with hammock, AC, Direct TV (which we didn’t really use) and a decently sized bathroom. All in all, a total steal for $45 USD a night.

Ometepe La Omaja Cabana ExteriorOmetepe La Omaja Cabana PorchOmetepe Caterpillar on TileOmetepe La Omaja Cabana InteriorAfter a refreshing shower, we headed up to the restaurant where we met the owner Jamie, an expat from Omaha, Nebraska (hence the La Omaja name) who runs the place with his wife, a local Nicaraguan. Both were extremely friendly and had numerous suggestions for activities that they were more than happy to help arrange. We didn’t end up taking them up on any of these, but instead settled on numerous conversations with Jamie about the area and local customs.

Ometepe La Omaja ActivitiesThe view from the restaurant was amazing, and the perfect setting for numerous Toñas, rum drinks and delicious meals (the tostones with Nicaraguan cheese was especially satisfying).

Ometepe View La Omaja RestaurantOmetepe La Omaja Tostones PlateOmetepe La Omaja BreakfastWith full bellies, we waddled back to our cabana just in time to catch a beautiful sunset.

Ometepe Sunset From La OmajaThe next morning we were still feeling the travel exhaustion, so we ended up just reading on our porch all day while enjoying the view.

Ometepe View From CabanaFor our next and sadly final day, we figured that we actually had to check something out while on Ometepe and decided that a walk to the nearby waterfall would be perfect. Jamie offered to drive us most of the way, but we politely declined, figuring that the 4 km walk each way wouldn’t be all that bad.

The walk itself can be described in 3 parts: The walk to the entrance, the first 2 km, and the final km. The walk to the entrance was actually quite nice, as it was mostly flat, with plenty to see and a nice breeze to keep us cool.

Ometepe Beached Handmade CanoeOmetepe Tied-up DonkeyOmetepe Lake Nicaragua ViewOmetepe Handmade Thatch HomeOmetepe Lake Nicaragua ShorelineOmetepe Concrete Boat DockOmetepe Handmade Thatch ShopAfter paying the few dollar entrance fee and starting on the first 2 km, our nice walk began to get challenging. At first we passed though what was described as a biological station, where the road was paved and the incline was pretty mild. Things quickly ramped up though, as the pavement turned into rocky dirt and everything got a whole lot steeper.

Ometepe Waterfall Entrance TicketOmetepe Waterfall Paved PathOmetepe Waterfall Path SignOmetepe Waterfall Dirt PathThe final km was when things really got dicey. At this point, the trail became significantly steeper, rockier, and was barely wide enough for one person.

Ometepe Waterfall Overgrown PathOmetepe Waterfall Steep PathAfter finding our way out of some dense jungle, we eventually made it up to the waterfall and were lucky enough to be the only ones there. It really was beautiful and completely worth the trek.

Bottom of Ometepe WaterfallAfter spending a bit of time at the falls, we limped our way back to La Omaja with barely enough energy to shower and grab a quick dinner before passing out for the night.

We woke up early the next morning to catch our taxi back down to the Moyogalpa docks, where we were lucky enough to actually catch a real honest-to-goodness ferry this time. Compared to the boat we had initially taken, this thing was luxurious. It had AC, with dry comfortable seats and even a Van Damme movie playing!

Ometepe Return FerryInside Ometepe Return FerryOnce we landed back in San Jorge, we once again met up with an Adelante driver and then headed back to the Managua airport to begin our journey to Little Corn Island.

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