Isla de Ometepe: Swimming

May 31st, 2007 by budgetmonkeyanna

So what have we been doing for the past few days you might ask, and you probably are asking otherwise why would you be checking the website. : ) I’m so cheeky.

Well what we’ve been doing is spending yet more time in paradise. The whole country is paradise as far as I’m concerned. After our travels at the two volcanos near Granada we moved camp to the Isla de Ometepe, an island further south in Lake Nicaragua. There we stayed at the Hotel Villa Paraiso in Playa Santo Domingo. The lake itself is incredibly shallow and boasts the only freshwater sharks in the world, although they don’t affect swimming since they are so rarely seen. The water is warm, soft, and wonderful.

Immediately upon arrival Dave and I waded (since the depth of the water makes diving or jumping impossible) out into the refreshing waters to to wash off the day’s journey. Fantastic! A beautiful sandy beach backed by a thick green jungly carpet stretched out lazily in front of a startling, dual Volcano backdrop.

Our first trip out was to a developed cold spring called Ojo de Agua, located a 15 minute walk down the dirt road from Villa Paraiso, then another 10 minutes up a trail through cattle ranch and banana field. A man emerged from a simple hut at the roadside entrance gate, charged us the official fee, duly stamped four official-looking tickets, and sent us on our merry way.

The Ojo de Agua complex consists of three large concrete-reenforced swimming pools fed by a natural cold spring and well endowed with tall shady foliage. The highest pool is the deepest, cleanest, and most fun since it has a rope swing. A small food stall sells drinks and food of suspect cleanliness. Spend a few hours and enjoy — come early to avoid the crowds.

The following day all four of us spent baking ourselves out in the tropical sun and lounging in the warm waters of the lake at Playa Santo Domingo. We spent pretty much the whole day this way, only breaking the relaxation with a short adventure on rented bikes to explore some of the surrounding villages. Unfortunately, Jeanne’s tire popped within the first few minutes, soon after followed by Andrea’s realization that the gears on her bike were broken and that she was not able to shift. So when we reached the one giant hill it was only Dave and Anna that proceeded along the rocky road around the volcano. We made it a few more kilometers and decided to turn back as the light began to fade. We finished the night off with a delicious meal at Villa Paraiso and an early bedtime in the cooling breeze of our air conditioning.

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