Formed of twin volcanos rising out of Lake Nicaragua, the Island of Ometepe is 276 square kilometres of verdant grassland, virgin forest and rugged volcanic peaks. Yet despite its rather breathtaking appearance (inspiration to many great writers, including Mark Twain) Ometepe has a tempestuous past.
After the Spanish colonisation of the region in the 16th century, Ometepe was brutally plundered by pirates leading to the in the extinction of the island’s indigenous population (dating back to 2000BC). Remnants of their culture remain in petroglyphs and stone idols on the slopes of the Maderas Volcano, which are well worth a visit.
Time here is spent trekking to remote communities, horse riding through plantain and coffee plantations and scaling the slopes of Maderas volcano. A particular highlight is kayaking along Rio Istían that cuts 4 kilometers across the isthmus in the heart of Ometepe, Fauna and flora here are plentiful and the riverbanks hum with colour and exotic birdlife.