As you may already know, Nicaragua is full of surprises. Its Ometepe Island is not an exception. It’s the destination that every traveler should see when traveling in Nicaragua. This island has everything from the natural reserve to adventure activities, volcanoes, relaxation, and coffee experiences. I spent 4 days on Ometepe Island, and it was one of the most unique travel experiences I’ve had.
So, I’ve compiled a list of the 11 best things you can do in Ometepe. It also includes the best way to get around, prices, best restaurants, and more.
Interesting Facts About Ometepe Island
Ometepe is a unique place. So, I’d like to start with some interesting facts about this island:
- Ometepe is the largest freshwater island in the world
- It’s located in Lake Nicaragua, also known as Lake Cocibolca
- Ometepe has a volcanic origin
- The island consists of 2 volcanoes: Concepcion and Maderas volcano
- It’s famous for its rock art areas (that you can explore in El Ceibo Museum)
- The name Ometepe comes from the Nahuatl words ome (two) + tepetl (mountain)
List Of 11 Best Things To Do On Ometepe Island & Map
Let’s dive into the 11 best things you can do on Ometepe Island. Here is a quick overview of all the activities on Ometepe Island:
1. Drive around the island on a scooter
2. Hike up a volcano
3. Visit Ojo de Agua
4. Explore Charco Verde Natual Reserve
5. Go Zip-Lining
6. Enjoy coffee at Centro PUMA
7. Practice Yoga at El Zopilote
8. Go kayaking
9. Stare at the sunset at Punta Jesus Maria
10. Walk up the Waterfall San Ramon
11. Visit the El Ceibo museum
1. Drive Around The Island On Scooter
The best way to explore Ometepe Island is to rent a scooter or an ATV. This way, you’ll be flexible and can see the island at your own pace.
Local buses also run in between bigger towns on the island. However, they’re often super crowded and take much time to get from one place to another.
The first activity I recommend doing on Ometepe Island is to drive around on a scooter. Do a circle from Santo Domingo via Merida around the island towards Balgue and return to your accommodation.
Moyogalpa is the first place you’ll arrive by ferry. So rent a scooter there, and drive to your accommodation after.
2. Hike Up A Volcano
One of the most popular things on the island is hiking up a volcano. Ometepe island composes of two volcanos: Concepcion and Maderas volcano.
The Concepcion volcano is more popular to hike. It’s also a better option as it’s drier and the views are much more stunning than from Maderas. It’s slightly longer to hike up than to Maderas volcano, but it’s generally easier and more beautiful.
Hiking up the Maderas volcano is more challenging because the way is quite muddy. As the volcano has a little lake inside, it’s very humid, and there is a lot of mud on the way.
Hiking The Concepcion Volcano
The entire excursion takes the whole day. The organizer usually picks you up at 5:30 a.m. from your hotel/hostel. The hike up takes around 4 hours, and down between 3 to 4 hours. You’ll come back to your hostel/hotel at around 6:00 p.m.
The price for the excursion is $20, including pick up, transfer, and a guide. In addition, you have to pay a $3 entrance fee. Your hotel can organize the excursion for you, just ask at the reception.
NOTE: Walking any of the volcanos by yourself is impossible. The government prohibited it due to many accidents in the past.
👉 READ ALSO: Nicaragua Backpacking Itinerary 7 Days
3. Visit Ojo De Agua
You can visit the crystal-clear water pool created from a natural spring on Ometepe Island. It’s called Ojo de Agua, which means ‘water eye’ in English.
This natural phenomenon is filled with water from the Maderas volcano thanks to its underground river. So now you can say that you swam in the volcano water. Pretty amazing, right?
You can swim, enjoy yourself on the shore, read a book, listen to an audiobook, and sip some delicious local drinks or fresh coconut water.
The entrance fee is $10 per person. You’ll get 2 vouchers: $5 voucher for the pool entrance and another $5 voucher that you can use for drinks or food. You can spend as much time as you want.
4. Explore Charco Verde Natural Reserve
Charco Verde is a natural reserve in the southern part of Ometepe.
You can visit it by paying an entrance fee of 175 cordobas. Firstly, there is a butterfly sanctuary, where you can explore various kinds of butterflies. It’s quite a chilled place with relaxing music in the background.
Afterward, you can walk through the forest around the Lagoon of Charco Verde. The best part is that you can see monkeys in the trees on the way.
Towards the end of the walk around the lagoon, you’ll get amazing views of the Conception volcano.
5. Go Zip-Lining
Before entering the Charco Verde Natural Reserve, hop on a zip-line adventure.
They give you full gear, and you’ll be zip-lining above the jungle, seeing the Charco Verde, and even getting stunning views of Lake Nicaragua.
So, this might be an option to see Charco Verde from above. There is one bridge on the zip line and three stops altogether.
Entrance: $17 per person
6. Enjoy Coffee At Centro PUMA
Centro PUMA is located in Altagracia town. It’s a cute coffee place where locals use the income and donations from guests to support local schools and children. In addition, they provide extra curriculum programs for local children in the center, mainly English classes.
I was amazed by this coffee center and its program. The staff is very welcoming, explains their work, and lets you sit down or enjoy their hammocks even if you don’t order anything.
Their coffee is delicious; they also have sweets, salads, and a few vegan options.
One thing you must try is their ‘Magical Fruit Experience’. It’s a lot of fun, and the fruit is magical as it prevents you from feeling any acid in your mouth. So try it out for 200 cordobas.
7. Practice Yoga At El Zopilote
El Zopilote is a true paradise in the middle of Ometepe’s jungle. It’s a hostel located near Balgue town. This place attracts many backpackers and digital nomads, mainly thanks to its rich program. Every day, you have different things organized for you, such as:
- acro yoga
- yoga classes
- family dinner
- fire arts
- cacao ceremony
- pizza night
- permaculture farm tours
The best is their yoga classes, cacao ceremony, and pizza nights (every Tuesday and Saturday). Yes, you can prepare the pizza yourself in the jungle, which is pretty amazing.
All the activities mentioned above are included in the price of your stay. You can still come for a yoga class even if you don’t stay. Just come into the reception and ask if you could join.
You can also visit the place and have lunch in their restaurant in the jungle.
8. Go Kayaking
You can go kayaking on an organized tour. Just imagine – what a unique experience kayaking on a lake with sharks inside.
Your kayaking experience starts near Peru Beach or Mango Beach. You’ll kayak through the River Istian and see the jungle and Nicaraguan flora from the water. Watch out for unique birds and other species. Maybe you can spot a few monkeys, too.
Ask your hotel/hostel if they organize a kayak tour for you. Or go to one of the scooter rental places in Moyogalpa, and they can sign you up.
The price for the kayak tour is $20 per person, including transportation, guide, and kayak rental.
9. Stare At The Sun Set On Punta Jesus Maria
Punta Jesus Maria offers the best sunset experience on Ometepe Island. It’s a narrow spit of land stretching into Lake Nicaragua. If the lake has a lot of water than usual, the spit is not visible so much. Yet, it’s still nice to see.
Not only does this place have the best sunset experience. It also offers one of the most spectacular views of the Concepcion volcano.
You can lie down on the beach and relax. There is a restaurant with drinks and food. And you can also get fresh coconut water.
10. Walk Up The Waterfall San Ramon
San Ramon is the only waterfall on the island. It takes about 1 hour & 30 minutes to hike to see it.
Drive towards the old port of San Ramon (Antiguo Puerto San Ramon). Then turn left (if arriving from Merida) and drive until the road ends. Leave your scooter there and start walking.
NOTE: During the summer/dry season (December – April) has, the waterfall less or no water since it’s a dry climate. So before going there, check with locals or ask your hotel whether there is water at the time.
11. Visit El Ceibo Museum
Ometepe Island is well known for its pre-Columbian history. Archeologists found many clay artifacts under the ground, which you can nowadays see in the Ceibo Museum. You’ll get a guided tour and learn about the island’s history and artifacts. After, you’ll also get to try some delicious homemade liquors.
Altogether, you can see pottery, funeral urns, weapons, and various tools.
What I particularly love about the museum is the second part, where they display different currencies Nicaragua has had from pre-Columbian times until now. I love to keep currency bills from each country when traveling. Here, you can see the evolution and history of Nicaraguan currency, too.
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Practical Tips For Visiting Ometepe Island
I want to make your stay as great as possible. So you can prepare and know what to expect. This way, you won’t waste any of your time once you travel. Below are further tips for your stay on Ometepe Island.
How Many Days Do You Need On Ometepe Island?
I recommend staying 3 days and 3 nights on Ometepe Island. It’s enough time to explore the top things and enjoy its activities.
Plan to arrive in the afternoon, check in to your hotel, and relax after your journey. Then, spend 3 full days on Ometepe Island doing the best things I suggested in this article.
Is Ometepe Worth Visiting?
Yes, Ometepe is 100% worth visiting. It’s one of the most unique places I’ve ever traveled to. The combination of amazing natural beauty, volcano, endless activities, and relaxation makes it a very special place. I’m sure you’ll love it. Make sure you visit El Zopilote and enjoy some yoga classes, too.
How To Get To Ometepe Island
The best way to get to Ometepe Island is to take a bus from a major Nicaraguan city. Then take a taxi to San Jorge to the port. The only way to get to Ometepe Island is by local ferry. So from San Jorge, you’ll have to take a ferry to Moyogalpa, the main town in Ometepe. The ferry ride from San Jorge to Moyogalpa (Ometepe) takes 1 hour.
👉 READ ALSO: How To Get To Ometepe Island – get further tips and detailed description
Where To Stay In Ometepe
Ometepe offers unique and beautiful accommodations. I took my time to do research and selected the best hotels and hostels on the island. I spoke to the staff, saw the rooms and hotel area, and got all the information.
These are the top hotels I recommend on Ometepe Island:
👉 READ ALSO: Where To Stay On Ometepe Island
How To Get Around Ometepe Island
There are 2 ways to get around Ometepe Island: on a scooter/ATV or by local buses.
The best way to get around Ometepe Island is to rent a scooter or ATV.
Once you arrive on a ferry in the main town of Moyogalpa, you can rent a scooter, motorbike, or ATV for the entire stay. From there, you can drive to your accommodation.
I have 2 places in Moyogalpa where I recommend you rent a scooter:
- Elmer Tours Ometepe
- Ometepe Verde Tours
Elmer Tours Ometepe
Elmer Tour Ometepe is on the main pedestrian street in Moyogalpa, just a few meters from the ferry port. You’ll see it on your left-hand side when you walk from the ferry port.
Elmer is a nice guy renting scooters, motorbikes, and bicycles. He also organizes tours to the Concepcion volcano, kayaking, horseriding, tour around the island, or waterfall hike.
- Scooter Rental: $15 per day (from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm) / $20 for 24 hours
- Motorbike Rental: $25 for 24 hours
- Bicycle Rental: between $5 to $7 per bike (depending on the quality of the bike)
Ometepe Verde Tours
Ometepe Verde Tours is just a few meters further from Elmer’s place. They rent scooters, motorbikes, and ATVs. In addition, you can also book various tours with them:
- Scooter Rental: $15 per day (from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm) / $20 for 24 hours
- Motorbike Rental: $25 for 24 hours
- ATVs Rental: $50 for 24 hours
Best Restaurants In Ometepe
As for the best restaurants in Ometepe, there are a few I highly recommend.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN MOYOGALPA
- Soda Los Antojitos
- Cocina de Mami
- The Cornerhouse
- La Toscana
BEST RESTAURANTS IN BALGUE
- Comedor Isabel
- El Zopilote
Best Beaches In Ometepe
I am not the biggest fan of beaches in Ometepe if I’m completely honest with you. So don’t expect something brilliant from the local beaches. Yet, if you’re a beach lover, you can still find a few to relax.
Note that the beaches get smaller if the lake has a lot of water. So they don’t always look great and are ready to host visitors.
Overall, Ometepe Island is a destination where you come to explore, do activities, and have fun in nature. If you want to relax on beautiful beaches, go to Popoyo or the Corn Islands.
I recommend the following two best beaches on Ometepe Island:
- Playa Santo Domingo
- Playa Punta Jesus Maria
FAQs: 11 Best Things To Do On Ometepe Island Nicaragua
I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Ometepe. Check the answers below.
Why Is Ometepe Island Famous?
Ometepe Island is the largest freshwater island in the world. Besides, it’s famous for the Concepcion volcano and its position in Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. Another fact about this lake is that it’s the only lake with sharks.
Ometepe is famous as an adventure island destination that offers unique sights and places.
Where Is The Best Sunset Spot In Ometepe?
The best sunset spot is Punta Jesus Maria or Moyogalpa, beside the ferry port. These places have the best sunsets. Overall, the sunsets on Ometepe Island are one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
What Can You Climb In Ometepe Island?
You can climb the Concepcion volcano in Ometepe. It’s only possible with a local guide; you can’t climb it alone due to past accidents. It takes up to 7 hours (up and down) to climb the volcano, and you’ll be picked up by the tour company around 6:00 a.m. to start the excursion.
Can You Swim In Ometepe?
Yes, you can swim in Ometepe. It’s best accessible from the beaches at Punta Jesus Maria and Playa Santo Domingo. I recommend staying close to the shore as locals say sharks are further into the lake.
WRAP-UP: 11 Best Things To Do In Ompete
These are the best activities on Ometepe Island, with further suggestions and tips you need to have before visiting. I’m sure you’ll have a great time as it’s one of the most unique destinations in Central America. Make sure to rent an ATV or a scooter to enjoy it fully and be flexible.
If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at email@example.com. I’ll gladly help you.
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About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.