Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua – Days 220 to 224

Beach, water with waves, volcano. Isla de Ometepe and Lake Nicaragua

Left Granada after talking to another English couple 'of a certain age' at the hotel, don't meet anyone for months, then like busses....

Arrived, hot, at the ferry terminal for Moyogalpa. Got a seat and didn't move for the next hour, except to turn into a lump of molten person! Poured ourselves off the boat and walked to our very highly rated Casa Mauro. It's perfectly fine, but really not deserving of the 9.1 on A chilling in hammocks day on Sunday, well the impossible to understand bus timetable, is easy for Sunday, no busses!

Ojos de Aguas swimming hole. Memories of cenotes in Mexico
Monday we hired a scooter not planning on going too far or too fast. Aimed to stop at Chaco Verde a nature centre round a lagoon but somehow missed it, so carried on to the ojos de Agua, the local swimming hole. It was a joy, clear and cool. Lovely, cool for the first time in days.

Back on the bike and back to the nature centre, good little walk, but really it was too hot!

A visit to Ojos de Aguas wouldn't be complete without a coconut drink
Butterflies at the Charco Verde  NP
We'd decided on one night in Santa Cruz to make a change, in the middle so up bright and early to catch the chicken bus, only to be made a too good to miss offer by a taxi driver, so arrived at our new place, El Encanto much earlier than expected, still great view of the volcano from the restaurant while they finished our room, before more hammocking, a new verb......

You can even see this one's proboscis in the flower
After lunch we walked down to the beach to swim in the lake. Must be the sea, it has waves, but no salt! Walking in though, most odd, the water is warmer than any shower I've had in a week! It was also very shallow so like being in a warm bath.

Monkey in the tree watching us. He didn't wave back at me!
We had been handed a flyer at the bus stop for a pizza night at an Eco Hostal just up the road, so after a great sunset, and our host saying he would be going when he'd finished work we set off. The road in the dark was fine, the track to the hostal interesting! Just managed to get our pizza order in and grab the last two seats, well a swing chair. We were definitely the oldest and least hippie, but hey, it had a good vibe! Just finished eating when the small amount of light was turned off, and the fire act started, swinging around of little metal balls filled with lighted petrol by boys with no tops on! Well they didn't want to set fire to themselves! Good act, but time to go, so feeling like celebrities we said goodbye to the flyer man who was thrilled to see us there, and to our host from the hostal, we must be locals.

Spider monkey on thin branches
Up this morning to go kayaking, first time since Cambodia? Lovely little trip, across the lake and up the river. We did see one caiman which was the main purpose, got very close, but he showed no interest in us at all. Along with lots of birds. Paddled back across the lake, much easier in this direction. We were just being dropped of back at our hostal when I realised there was someone in the front seat, we were on a bench seat in the open back of a pick up truck. "Where are you going?" I asked, hoping he would say Moyogalpa, he did, "how much?" Nothing I'm going anyway! These are not common words in this part of the world! So we rushed off to grab the rucksack and settle up, for our free lift home, saving us $20 taxi, or an hour and a half on the bus! He stopped a couple more times to pick random people up, it was lovely. Arrived back in Moyogalpa to be waved at by one of the boys from the guest house, who had organised the kayak trip, and greeted like old friends by the lady in Union Jackson, a couple who fell off a scooter 18 months ago and never left, now running a sandwich bar by the ferry.

Beach, water with waves. It's odd to get in and not taste salt
Back up the hill past the Mexican restaurant where we ate the other night, to be warmly greeted out of the window by the lovely owner, he'd read my review on Tripadvisor and has replied with our own 'in joke' . Must be locals! So what started out as an inauspicious little island has turned into a great set of experiences. Eating back at the Mexican tonight before an early ferry 06.45 tomorrow, for our last border crossing, back into Costa Rica. Looks like we might have to do this one on our own, as no lazy shuttles seem to be on offer! Sure it will be fine!
Volcan Concepcion on the main island is active, erupting lava in 1957 and steam and gas in 2012. This is a bit of a reminder. Jackie forgot to mention in her blog that the main road round the island passes across the runway of the island airport. Its a bit like a railway level crossing, they close gates across the road and then open the ones across the runway when a plane arrives (not that we saw one), except the guards here carry guns!
Our room at El Encanto in Santa Cruz, Ometepe
And the evening view of Volcan Concepcion from the restaurant at El Encanto
And lots of these quite big pretty birds flying around. If I remember the name correctly, it's a White Breasted Magpie Jay
Evening entertainment at El Zopilote hostal and pizza restaurant
The place was packed, but we did get some pretty good seats
On our way to our kayak trip this morning in the back of an open truck. Here we've just passed two horse riders, one of which is towing a third person on a bike
Getting ready for our kayak trip
After paddling across a stretch of open lake water we entered the narrow river (that apparently is huge in the rainy season and about 2m higher than now)
A reminder that its not jungle round here, farmland is nearby and the cattle like the river!
There were simply millions of tadpoles swimming about that will grow into big ugly toads
There's a caiman in this photo, pointed out by our eagle eyed guide...
As we got in closer he came into view
Here's where my memory lets me down, Kingfisher type bird?
Another big bird!
A sleeping owl. Not sure what type and our Spanish wasn't good enough to understand what our guide said (he only spoke Spanish)
Here we are!
Apparently the water level covers those roots in the wet season (May to October apparently) and thats not just this river, but the whole of Lake Nicaragua! A massive area and a massive amount of rainfall!
A large heron who had to fly off as we approached
The company we used for our kayak trip (US$20 each plus US$20 to be collected from and delivered to El Encanto - and then a free 28km drive back to Moyogalpa!)
A selfie in the back of the truck
Which was actually quite comfortable. The seat wasn't attached to anything and there were no seatbelts - only in Nicaragua!
That's a real cowboy hearding his cattle
The nice church in Moyogalpa, Isla de Ometepe
Its quite nice inside too
The hammocks and outdoor area at Casa Mauro in Moyogalpa

1 comment:

  1. I like your wildlife commentary- perhaps a little more detail on species etc😁
    Loved the selfie! Looks fab- enjoy and see you soonish! X