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!
The 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.
Upon 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.
By 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.
After a soggy sea-sickening hour, we pulled into Moyogalpa, one of Ometepe’s main ports.
We 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.
By 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.
After 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.
The 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).
With full bellies, we waddled back to our cabana just in time to catch a beautiful sunset.
The next morning we were still feeling the travel exhaustion, so we ended up just reading on our porch all day while enjoying the view.
For 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.
After 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.
The 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.
After 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.
After 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!
Once 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.