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Ometepe Island, Nicaragua


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Information and map of Ometepe Island

Ometepe Island is known to be the biggest island in fresh waters on this planet. It has a surface of 294 km² and is surrounded by Lake Nicaragua, the second biggest body of water in latin america with a surface of 8157 km². It is built up of Vulcano Concepción (1610m) and Vulcano Maderas (1394m) and an isthmus between the ´two mountains´, the meaning of the word Ometepe in Nahuatl, the natives language which was predominant in the area. Ometepe is a very remote place and due to its fertile grounds it is well known to produce best quality plaintains, exporting them throughout all of central america. Watermelons, sesame, rice, beans, sweet corn and other grains are also products of the local agriculture.

The Island has, as all of central america in general, a manifold flora and fauna. There are much more mammals (monkeys, little bears, deers), reptiles and amphibians (snakes, caimans) and insects (ants, firebugs,...) to spot than mentioned here. Ometepe has a distinctive variety of birds like the Three Wattled Bell Bird, Yellow Naped Parrot, Pacific Pakreet, White Throated Magpie Jay or Colibris. In 2008 an endemic species of salamander (Bolitoglossa insularis) was found on the island.
Map of Ometepe Island

In Lake Nicaragua exist a lot of varieties of fresh water fish. The most popular comestible fish are Lagunero / Guapote and Mojarras. The population of fresh water sharks has suffered a lot in the last 50 years and the remaining ones are more seen around San Carlos / Río San Juan. The Island of Peace, as locals call their island, also has a great variety of flowers, bushes, medical plants and trees. Cedro, Pochote, Ceiba, Cashews, Almonds, Mangos etc, are among the most seen. Ardisia ometepensis is an endemic tree to Ometepe. Called little grape (Uvilla) by the locals it grows above 500 m.

In recent years turism got bigger on the island and more and more visitors from all over the world stay here during their trip through Nicaragua. Please click on the picture above to enlarge our Ometepe map if you want to take a closer look. More information about things to do here, ferry schedules and how to get around you will find on our tour page.

Hiking on Vulcan Concepcion

Below you will find some useful information for your visit to the island:

To get to Ometepe Island you have to take a boat or a ferry from San Jorge which brings you either to Moyogalpa or San Jose del Sur. If you bring a vehicle it is recommended to make a reservation for it as the ferries only offer limited space. Please let us know if you need any assistance with the reservation. In the near future the Ometepe Airport construction will be finished and you will be able to reach the island also by plane.

Ometepe has a public transport system which usually works fine, except of Sundays. The roads on the Concepción side and the isthmus are in good conditions, but still rough on the Maderas side and transports will take their time.

In Moyogalpa you will find banks and various ATM´s to get cash with any common credit card. At Hotel Central in Altagracia you will find the only ATM on Ometepe outside of Moyogalpa, unfortunately it only accepts VISA. The regular currency is the Córdoba Oro, but also US$ are accepted in a wide range of the businesses, especially in the tourism sector. Traveller Checks are not very popular and, if you get them changed, usually apply to a lower exchange rate than the official rate.

Don't forget to bring:

  • Mosquito repellent, sun blocker and a hat to protect you against the sun
  • A flashlight, we sometimes do have electricity outages on the island
  • Good hiking boots if you want to do any tours and eventually a walking stick if you want to climb up Maderas or Concepción
  • Time, Ometepe Island is bigger than you might think and there are a lot of things to explore

How to get to Ometepe:

From Managua, Masaya, Granada, San Juan del Sur or Peñas Blancas (Costa Rican border) busses to Rivas leave frequently . From there it's best to take a taxi to the port of San Jorge. The collective taxi will cost C$15 per person, individual taxis about C$80. Direct buses to San Jorge only run from the Roberto Huembes terminal in Managua.
There are different international bus lines which provide direct transportation from San Jose (Costa Rica), Alajuela or Liberia to Managua which pass through the Rivas roundabout. There you can catch a cab to San Jorge dock.
Once you arrived in San Jorge, take a ferry or boat to Moyogalpa, Ometepes main hub. The trip takes about 1 hour. Arriving at the port of Moyogalpa please follow the information on the map on our contact page.

If you do not want to take the bus, we can also offer you a taxi service to San Jorge. Please ask for rates availability by email. If you are traveling by car and you need assistance to reserve space fr it on the ferry, we would be happy to help you with that.

Boat schedules San Jorge - Moyogalpa:

07.00amChe Guevara*
09.00amKaren Maria
11.00amEstrella del Sur
12.30pmSanta Martha
01.30pmKaren Maria
03.30pmEstrella del Sur
04.00pmChe Guevara*
05.00pmSanta Martha
*Car Ferry

Boatschedule Moyogalpa - San Jorge:

05.30amKaren Maria
06.30amSanta Martha
07.00amEstrella del Sur
11.00amChe Guevara*
11.30amKaren Maria
01.00pmEstrella del Sur
03.00pmSanta Martha
05.30pmChe Guevara*
*Car Ferry

Informations about Ometepe