Isla de Ometepe is an island formed from the lava of two volcanos in Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. In the shape of an hourglass, it is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua and has exquisite views of the two volcanoes that birthed it- Concepción and Maderas. With newly paved roads between the local towns, Ometepe has become an explorers dream for cyclists, both local and transient.
LifeCycle Biking got an opportunity to explore the island while traveling through Central America.
In order to get to Ometepe, we took an hour long ferry from San Jorge to the dock at Moyogalpa. From there, we were shuttled to our lodging quarters at the earth-based, intentional, communal living retreat, Inanitah- situated atop a steep incline, about 45 minutes (driving) from Moyogalpa. At Inanitah- we camped on on their grounds, ate 3-4 vegetarian meals daily, explored meditation, yoga, & wellness workshops; and participated in ongoing learning opportunities for growth and expansion.
Inanitah residents guided us along the island biking terrain. With the two volcanoes, dry and wet forests, and stop overs at warm lake shores and petroglyph sites, it is a mountain biking paradise. Limited paved roads make road cycling difficult as the roads tend to be the main connections between cities and have high traffic volumes. However, the trucks make room for riders and we experienced welcoming horns and thumbs up's along the way.
Bikes were available for daily rental at various locations across the island and some hotel and hostels have bikes that visitors can use.
Our stops along biking routes included small villages and “comedores” where typical Nicaraguan meals of rice, beans, tortillas, fried cheese & eggs with either chicken, beef, or pork were served. Fresh fruit juices and coconut water were easily accessible and enjoyed roadside.
With the recent re-pavement of the road between Moyogalpa and Altagracia, it is the route used by most cyclists. The cities are around 15 miles (24 kilometers) apart and it takes about an hour and a half to travel the route. The road to the Maderas Volcano is still unpaved and requires more time and effort to get to that side of the island. Biking around the Concepción Volcano is also possible, but cyclists will hit some dirt roads after Altagracia.
With the frequent altitude changes and the Nicaraguan temperatures, cycling on Ometepe can be tough- but also amazingly rewarding.
The sunset views were some of the most amazing we had ever seen.
On Ometepe, the local community is embracing the tourism influx and we felt genuine generosity and hospitality from the residents, both transplant and native.
The scenery was unlike any other and a ferry ride back to San Jorge left us missing the simplistic pleasures and rough routes of Ometepe.
Want to learn more of our journey through Nicaragua? Contact us!
Photos courtesy of Sara Elise