Ometepe is a difficult one for a traveller like me. I often find it hard to choose between roughing it and flashpacking, whilst all the time wanting to get the most authentic experience of a place that is physically possible. After spending 5 luxurious days by the Australian owned pool at Casa Del Olas in San Huan (Casa, as we fondly nicknamed it), the lake-locked volcanos of this small island were, without question, a difficult transition. From party-paradise to Eco-lodge we trecked with our 15kg backpacks up the hillside to our new home at Zopolotte, Eco-farm and hostel. Now this post isn’t titled Omesweaty for no reason!
Upon arrival, drenched in our own heat, we checked in to the only ‘rooms’ left whilst the mosquitoes swarmed and the Eco-toilets stench filled our lungs… Not ideal. The team were deflated. It was cool to be spending the next few days being self-sufficient, but it wasn’t cool that we were actually spending the next few days, in complete self-sufficiency. I’m talking compost toilets. And compost toilets just aren’t my thing. Time passed and homemade nachos and Diet Coke (thank god for convenience stores) improved the mood, as food and drink usually does. The hostel’s outdoor brick oven created an evening centred around a pizza party, and the lack of electricity was improved by a cohort of impressive (yet slightly too close for comfort) fire-dancers. Hippy travellers (OmeHippy was nearly the blog title) shared stories around the most delicious wood-fired pizzas I’ve ever eaten and an early night was had.
What was in store on the side of the Volcano the next day was much more exciting. We threw ourselves into the humid jungle that is Ometepe, rented bikes and took to the tracks to find the Oja de Agua (eye of water). Some 5 miles later and some small injuries due to lack of bike gears on the volcanic land terrain, we arrived at what appeared to be a mirage. The springs of the island all joined to create a crystal clear pool where we bathed, refreshed and have never been so thankful for cool water! At one with nature, we cycled back, making a number of vegan food stops (OmeHippy loves vegan restaurants) and fuelling up on ice-cream and more Diet Coke!
Sadly, the flashpack girls gave up on Eco-life at night 2, and headed along to a slightly less farm-like hostel where we spent my final night travelling, playing extreme UNO and my new favourite card game, Sh*thead! Following a relaxing evening, the final morning on Ometepe had to be a highlight. Refreshed, we took a taxi to the volcano side, did some more OmeSweaty hill trekking, and spent 3 hours zip-lining and Tarzan swinging back down the side of the Volcano. Result. Ometepe, you proved that you are sctually so much fun! Despite the slightly dodgy sky-high tree platforms and wobbly suspensions, we made it down alive, after hurtling down the zip-wires with completely no control of our speed (we were supposed to break with our gloves but that’s no fun…!) Adrenalin had fuelled my last morning of travel and I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s just a shame this team-building activity hadn’t come sooner. A boat, bus, taxi journey loomed and the beginnings of some emotional goodbyes were looming on arrival in Granada, where I would spend my last few hours of Rose Goes South!