Thursday, January 21, 2010
Isle de Ometepe, Nicaruagua
When I decided to move on from San Juan, I was surprised at how easy it was.
I caught a bus immediatly to Rivas, and from Rivas it was just a short taxi ride to the ferry dock. Unfortunatly my lack of understanding of Spanish became obvious to me when the taxi ride was over and he demanded 5$ from me. (I had thought we agreed on 15 Cordovas, which would be about .75$ ....wooops.)
Not knowing how to argue and haggle in spanish, I paid it and bailed, immediatly jumping on a 1.5 hour ferry ride to the magical Isle De Ometepe!!!
What a beautiful place. The Island was once part of the sea, when the twin volcanoes took up their push through the earth. What resulted somehow was that the volcanoes made an island, and around the sides, they made a landmass that would join the continental divide and add to the mass of nicaruaga. This resulted in one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world (second only to the great lakes, I believe. ) The Lake was originally salt water, but fed by fresh water streams, it gradually became a fresh lake over thousands of years. This unique situation makes the Lago de Nicaruagua home to many unique animals like the fresh water bull shark.
Along the way I met some great peeps. Id like to make a shout out to Erik and Sasha and Ben, who I met on the ferry, and then again in El Zipolote. Also to Kelsey and Kimberly who I met in Mayaglapo and chilled with in the Maderas side of the island. These kids all knew much more spanish than i did, and were very helpful dealing with my ignorance.
In General Ometepe was a very gentle place. I really enjoyed hiking there with new friends, and vibing on the locals. Everyone there was so chill and laid back, and I really got to experience the grace and patience of the island life style. I acctually got stuck there for an extra two days because of windy weather. It stopped the ferrys from running, and I ended up hiking around seeing even more great stuff.
I spent nearly all of my time on the maderas side at two different locations. The first two nights i stayed at Hacienda Maderas, a nice place catering to tourists and gringos. While there I hiked the volcano with a guide named Simione. He showed us coffee, and tobacco plants on our way up the mountain, as well as a Mayan petroglyph! The Glyph he said was acctually a map of the island from long ago.
Very facinating, considering the importance the Island plays in Mayan history....
The Next few nights I spent at el Zipolote, (thanks for the reccomendation Rhonda!) which was perfect. A little Hippie paradise on the other side of the volcano, I would reccomend this place to everyone that makes it to Ometepe. When i got there, I immediatly felt at home, and I met people there, that were really very loving and in the process of finding themseleves, just like I was.
While I was there I mostly just chilled, studied maps, worked on my spanish, and learned about the farm. They do great stuff there including permaculture, organic farming, recycling, and natural building. One day I made it out the Oja de Agua, aka "the eye of the water" which was a lovely spring fed swimming hole said to have age reversing properties.....
But soon it was time to move on, otherwise I would have had to spend another 4 days, as I was on my way to Costa Rica, and the ferrys only ran twice a week. I honestly considered getting stuck there for longer, but I was destined to run into Julian and Meeshell, and although i didnt know their plans, I knew I needed to get a move on.