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Ometepe Island: An Epic Nicaraguan Adventure

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Ometepe is a 107 square mile island located in Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua. Shaped by two massive volcanoes. this is a true piece of paradise, and a backpackers dream. Here's all you need to know about Ometepe Island.

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Where is Ometepe Island?

Ometepe is a small island in the South East of Nicaragua. Actually, the island is comprised of two islands that are connected, located in the largest lake in the country, Lake Nicaragua.

where is ometepe island

Ometepe Island is located inside of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in the country.

How to Get to Ometepe Island

In order to get here you must take the ferry over from San Jorge. In order to get to San Jorge you can take the public bus to Rivas for $1, and then can take a tuk tuk or taxi over to San Jorge. Make sure that you don't spend much more than $1 on the taxi, as they will try to charge tourists more (it may be a bit higher now since we visited in 2019).

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Getting to Rivas

Rivas is the main hub for the Southern part of the country, and is therefore directly connected to most major cities. San Juan del Sur and Granada are the two most popular places to come from, and you can also get a 45 minute taxi from the border, if you would like Ometepe to be your first stop coming from Costa Rica.

Want to skip the hassle? There are also direct shuttles to the port from San Juan del Sur and Managua:

The Ferry to Ometepe Island

The San Jorge Ferry terminal provides direct service to Ometepe Island. There are two options- the lancha, and the ferry. The lancha is a small boat, slightly cheaper, and slightly slower. The ferry is a little smoother as it is larger, and can hold cars as well. The trip takes about one hour, and runs roughly every 30 minutes.

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Keep in mind there is also an airport, but it is very expensive to fly directly into the island. 

Note: The above photo has an airplane which has been enhanced in size for visual effect.

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Things to Do on Ometepe Island

Ometepe is a small island, but has a lot to offer. Here are some of our favorite things to do on the island.

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Ometepe Island Nicaragua Pin
Ometepe Island Nicaragua Pin

1. Hike Concepcion Volcano

There are two volcanoes on Ometepe Island, and Concepcion is the larger of the two. It can be seen from any part of the island and has a perfect cone shape. Hiking the volcano is very tough, and takes about 9 hours, but leaves you with some spectacular views. It's dangerous to go on your own, so getting a guide is very highly recommended.

Here are a couple of tours that you can take:

2. Swim in El Ojo de Agua

El Ojo de Agua is a water hole in the center of Ometepe Island with the bluest water you'll ever find. This natural volcanic spring is a great place to cool off after an intense hike. The entrance is $3, and is open from 8:00 am- 5:00 pm.

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, Central America
Ojo del Agua, Ometepe Island

The Ojo del Agua is the perfect place to cool off after an intense day of hiking.

3. Climb Maderas Volcano

The Maderas Volcano is the smaller of the islands two volcanoes. So if you want to hike, but aren't ready for the 9 hour incline of Concepcion Volcano, than this is a great option. The volcano is just under 1,400 meters in height and is a climb with some great views at the top. The hike takes about 6-9 hours round trip, depending on the weather.

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4. Cool off at San Ramon Waterfall

The 60 meter waterfall is located on the south end of the island, and is one of the biggest attractions of Ometepe. The entrance is $3 and takes about 45 minutes to get to the top.

We tried taking our scooter to the start of the hike, but it is only recommended for very confident drivers. We stopped half way and parked, adding an extra 45 minutes to the journey. Bring comfortable shoes, as the terrain is uneven and can get fairly muddy.

San Ramon Waterfall, Ometepe Island

San Ramon waterfall is juts a 45 minute hike.

You can also go on a tour that has a picnic next to the waterfall!

5. Enjoy Sunset at Charco Verde Lagoon

Charco Verde is made up of a lagoon, forest and beach, making is definitely a great area to stop by. With its still waters and beautiful backdrop of the volcanoes, it makes the perfect place to relax and watch the sunset.

6. Kayak Rio Istian

Istian River is an intricate stream of water that flows between the island's two volcanoes. Take a kayak tour and admire all of the beautiful nature that this area has to offer. Most tours are between $20- $30, and last approximately 4 hours.

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Local Eats on Ometepe Island

Some of the best food we had in Central America was in Nicaragua. Full of flavor, and extremely budget friendly, we preferred eating out as opposed to cooking in a hostel. Here were some of our favorites.

Nicaraguan Breakfast

Breakfast was definitely one of our favorite meals of the day. Eggs, rice & beans, plantains, fried cheese, and cream make the perfect meal to start your day with all of the adventure ahead!

Nicaraguan breakfast

The Nicaraguan breakfast leaves you satisfied and full without having to spend a ton.

Jalapeño Chicken

This grilled chicken is smothered in a jalapeño cream sauce, and seriously one of the best dishes we had in Nicaragua. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be just for those who love spice! You can always ask to keep it mild.


Okay maybe this isn't a dish per-say, but it is definitely something to have, as all of the catches are local. There is nothing like having freshly caught fish and grilled to perfection.

Seafood in Ometepe

Seafood is one of the best things to try on Ometepe Island.

El Pital- Chocolate Paradise

Located in the area of Balgue, is a chocolate lovers dream. This cute little cafe on the lake features a giant chocolate ball over a mountain of fruit, granola, and ice cream. Drooling yet?


This outdoor restaurant is located right in Moyogalpa, and serves some seriously good home cooking. The local family offers the tastiest local dishes, and the best jalapeño chicken!

How to Get Around Ometepe Island 

The island of Ometepe is fairly small, but definitely can't be seen just on foot. There are public buses, but don't run so regularly. The most efficient way to see the island is by bike or scooter. Bikes are just $5/day, and scooters can be found for $20-30/day. There are plenty of rentals available right in the town of Moyogalpa, where the ferry arrives.

Scooter on Ometepe Island

Getting a scooter is the best way to get around Ometepe Island.

Here are two companies that you can prebook your transportation with:

Where to Stay on Ometepe Island

The island only has a few towns scattered throughout it. Here are the top ones to consider staying in.


Moyogalpa is definitely the most convenient place to stay, as its the town where the ferry operates. There are plenty of cheap hostels in the area. They may not be luxurious, but with all of the great things to do on Ometepe island you shouldn't spend much time in your room anyway.

Look for a place to stay in Moyogalpa:


Balgue is another great place to stay, as it in centrally located between the two volcanoes, right in the middle of the island. The accommodation options here are a little better, and there are plenty of restaurants in walking distance. In addition it is also close to many of the main attractions on the island.

Find a place to stay in Balgue:

Is Ometepe Island Safe?

Ometepe is a very safe island. Whether you are a solo backpacker, couple, or family, you won't have anything to worry about while visiting Ometepe Island in Nicaragua.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Ometepe Island

Now you know almost everything there is to know about visiting Ometepe Island. Here are a few final things to keep in mind:

Weather on Ometepe Island

Ometepe has tropical weather, just like the rest of Central America. It has hot and sunny weather year round, with half the year being dry (November to May), and the other being humid and rainy (October to April).

The Best Time to Visit Ometepe Island

The best time to visit Ometepe Island is during the months of November-March, when temperatures are mild, and the sun is shining, without being too intense.

Packing for Ometepe Island

Here are some of the things you should bring on your trip to Ometepe Island:

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Ometepe Island has a lot of beautiful nature, and definitely deserves a couple of days. Enjoy all of the great adventures that it has to offer, and eat your heart out! Plan on traveling to San Juan del Sur next? Check out our San Juan del Sur Travel Guide!

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