Friday, February 18, 2011

Isla Ometepe

Nicaragua is home to the largest lake in Central America, Lago Nicaragua.  The lake is still talked about as a means to create an alternative transoceanic canal to the Panama canal.  Lago Nicaraguas position being so near the Pacific Ocean means that Bull Sharks can swim up river and now live in the lake.  Also within the lake lies Isla Ometepe, a volcanic island that features two cone shaped volcanos which rise high above the shores of the lake.
After taking an hour ferry ride I arrived in Moyagalpa, the largest town on Ometepe.  Moyogalpa makes a good base for exploring the entire island, but to get a feel for other villages on the island I went to Balgue which sits at the base of the Maderas volcano.  Maderas is nearly 1400m above sea level and meaning a 6-8 hour hike to the top and back.
The islands economy now survives through tourism, farming, and fishing. Towns are linked by infrequent buses and many unpaved roads, which is much of the charm of Ometepe.

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