Ometepe: Our paradise

We planned two nights to visit Ometepe, an Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, with two impressive volcanoes.  As we are now on our 5th night here, we can attest that this island is paradise!  Besides being in Nicaragua, in a fresh-water lake, and the low prices, we can't stop comparing the island to Hawaii.  The temperature is finally do-able at around 80 degrees, with flora and fauna that that both look and smell delicious.  The volcanoes loom above in most photos and are seriously impressive.  There are hiking trails all over the Island, going up to waterfalls, to the summit of the volcanoes, and throughout little nature preserves along the lake. 

We met an awesome couple coming from our Hostal in Granada, Steve and Liz, and have latched on to them, eager to talk and travel with new people!  They came to Nicaragua and the island to hike the Maderas volcano so after spending the night in a lovely hotel, Hospedaje Soma, we went to the other side of the Island to be closer to the trail head.  We stayed on the beach in Santo Domingo.  On the way we hired a car to give us a tour and got to explore and learn more about the Island and all that they produce here.  It was a gorgeous tour. 

Early the next morning we met our guides for the 8 hour hike up the Maderas volcano.  The only store in the little town where we were staying had packaged foods so we loaded up on snickers bars, chips, and our new favorite, a bag of black beans.  We heard the trail was hard and muddy but decided this didn't apply to us as we are all able bodied adults and in fairly good shape.  We assured ourselves they were probably just trying to warn off overweight people and that we'd be fine.  Unfortunately they were right! 

The hike was a haul up a muddy, muddy trail.  We were slipping on every surface: mossy rocks, wet clay covered portions of trail, and of course there was the mud.  We had bets going on who would fall first and how much beer each fall was worth.  By the end we were all covered in mud and had lost track of how many beers we were each owed.  We were a mess!  There also sadly weren't any views as most of the struggle up the mountain was in a cloud forest.  Eric summed it up perfectly when we were done, he said knowing what we did now, that he wouldn't have done it again, but that he was glad we did it.  It's also worth noting we are all still sore 2 days later!

We have been enjoying the rest of our time here eating delicious food (one of the 3 restaurants in Santo Domingo is a vegetarian restaurant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), reading books, and splitting our time between relaxing on the beach and swimming in the clean, lake water.  It will be so hard to leave tomorrow but this will certainly be a place we return to later in life!