things to do ometepe island nicaragua

11 Unique Things To Do On Ometepe Island: Nicaragua

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11 Unique Things To Do On Ometepe Island: Nicaragua

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Table of Contents

Interesting Facts About Ometepe Island
List Of 11 Unique Things To Do In Ometepe Island: Nicaragua
1. Drive Around The Island On Scooter
2. Hike Up A Volcano
3. Visit Ojo De Agua
4. Explore Charco Verde Natural Reserve
5. Go Zip-Lining
6. Enjoy Coffee At Centro PUMA
7. Practice Yoga At El Zopilote
8. Go Kayaking
9. Stare At The Sun Set On Punta Jesus Maria
10. Walk Up The Waterfall San Ramon
11. Visit El Ceibo Museum
Unique Things To Do On Ometepe Island: FAQs
Best Restaurants In Ometepe
Best Beaches In Ometepe
More Tips For Traveling In Central America

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.

If you’re about to stay in Ometepe, this article will give you the top 11 things to do on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. 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)
best things to do on ometepe island Nicaragua Punta Jesus Maria
Best things to do on Ometepe Island Nicaragua: Me visiting Punta Jesus Maria

List Of 11 Unique Things To Do In Ometepe Island: Nicaragua

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

Now that you know what you can do on Ometepe Island, I’d like to break each activity down. Let me give you more details about each of them. Choose whichever you want the most, and most importantly, have fun.

If you’re wondering how to get to the island, check out my article about how to get to Ometepe Island. It’ll give you directions from Managua, Granada, and San Juan del Sur. You’ll also get information about the costs, ferry schedule, and further tips.

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.

Or you can combine this activity with visiting Ojo de Agua (scroll down to see more information about it).

At the end of this article, I give you tips on where to rent a scooter in Moyogalpa. It’s either at Elmer’s Tours or Ometepe Verde Tours. Scroll down to get more information about each rental and prices.

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 to do 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.

I’d recommend walking up the Concepcion volcano.

The entire excursion takes the whole day. The organizer usually picks you up at 5:30 am 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 pm.

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.

Concepcion volcano hiking Nicaragua
Volcano hiking: Nicaragua

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.

Ojo de Agua is a great place to relax and have fun with fellow travelers. It wasn’t even that crowded when I visited it.

best things to do on ometepe island Nicaragua Ojo de Agua
Best things to do on Ometepe Island Nicaragua: Ojo de Agua

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.

But my honest opinion of this place is that it’s not worth the entrance. There was nothing spectacular except the monkeys I saw. And they should take better care of the place.

So it’s up to you whether you visit it or not. I want to give you my honest opinion and experience in each place.

Charco Verde Natural Reserve Nicaragua
Charco Verde Natural Reserve – Nicaragua

5. Go Zip-Lining

Before entering the Charco Verde Natural Reserve, you can 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.

Centro Puma coffee Nicaragua
Centro Puma: Coffee Culture In Nicaragua

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:

  • dancing
  • 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 this place has 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.

best things to do on ometepe Island Nicaragua sunset watching
Best things to do on Ometepe Island Nicaragua: Sunset watching

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.

El Ceibo Museum is a must-to-see for all history lovers.

These are the 11 unique things to do on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. So choose the ones that interest you the most and have fun.

You can do most of the things on your own, except volcano hiking and kayaking. If you want to hike up a volcano, ask at your hotel/hostel, and they can organize it for you. Same with kayaking.

As for the other things to do on Ometepe, you can explore/do them by yourself, drive around on your rented scooter, and enjoy whatever you feel like.

Ometepe Island how to get to ometepe things to do
Ometepe Island how to get to ometepe things to do

Unique Things To Do On Ometepe Island: FAQs

Now that you know the best things to do on Ometepe Island, let me give you more information. 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.

So here are my answers to the frequently asked questions about Ometepe.

How Many Days Should You Spend 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.

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.

To get detailed directions, prices, bus schedules, and taxi information check out my article about how to get to Ometepe Island. It’ll explain to you everything you need to know so that you can prepare for this journey.

How To Get To Ometepe Island

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.

After my research, I’ve selected the top 5 hotels on the island. Some are in the jungle, where you can practice yoga and disconnect. Others offer a bit more luxury and comfort.

I recommend you stay one night in Moyogalpa, so I’ve also selected one hotel for you in Moyogalpa.

Check out my article about where to stay in Ometepe for more details and book your favorite accommodation.

Where To Stay In Ometepe

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)

Go and speak to Elmer to rent what you like.

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

You can negotiate discounts with them if you book for 3 or more days.

Additionally, they also organize volcano hiking tours and horseback riding. You can also book an island tour with them, which costs $30 per person and includes a ride around the island, kayaking, and sunset watching.

Best Restaurants In Ometepe

As for the best restaurants in Ometepe, there are a few I highly recommend.

Best Restaurants In Moyogalpa, Ometepe

The following best restaurants in Ometepe are situated in Moyogalpa:

  • Soda Los Antojitos
  • Cocina de Mami
  • The Cornerhouse
  • La Toscana

Soda Los Antojitos is my top pick. It offers local food such as gallo pinto, tajadas, various types of meat, and also a few vegetarian options. They also have the best fresh juices (watermelon is the best). You also have to try tamarindo juice (which is a local fruit and it’s delicious). This restaurant also very budget-friendly.

Cocina de Mami is another great restaurant with local food. You have to try their burrito; it’s amazing. It’s another budget-friendly restaurant in Moyogalpa.

The Cornerstonehouse has more International/American style cuisine. If you’re tired of eating gallo pinto all the time, this would be a great place to go. I recommend stopping by for their delicious breakfast and smoothies with coffee. They have eggs benedict and other famous breakfast dishes.

La Toscana has pizzas, pasta, international food, and local food. It’s great to come for a night or with friends when everyone can choose what they like.

Best Restaurants In Balgue

If you’re staying near Balgue, these are my top picks for restaurants in the area:

  • Kaikaia
  • Comedor Isabel
  • El Zopilote

Kaikaia is a great vegan & vegetarian-friendly restaurant. They offer delicious salads, smoothies, and vegetarian food options. It’s a beautiful place with great vibes.

Comedor Isabel has delicious typical Nica food.

El Zopilote is a hostel in the middle of the jungle. Even if you don’t stay there, I highly recommend experiencing the place. You can eat in their restaurant and feel the great vibe of this place.

Best Beaches In Ometepe

I am not the biggest fan of beaches in Ometepe, if I am 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.

I recommend the following two best beaches on Ometepe Island:

  • Playa Santo Domingo
  • Playa Punta Jesus Maria

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.

More Tips For Traveling In Central America

These are the best things to do on Ometepe Island, with further suggestions and tips you need to have before visiting.

Also, check out my article about how to get to Ometepe Island. Book the best hotels and see where to stay in Ometepe.

It’s a beautiful island, and I really enjoyed staying there. I am sure you’ll love it too. It’s unique, so rent a scooter and explore it yourself.

In case you want to see other places in Nicaragua, I highly recommend Granada. It’s a beautiful colonial town with great cafes and restaurants and amazing day trips. Check out my article about where to stay in Granada to have the most out of your stay.

If you want to enjoy the Pacific Coast and spend some time near the ocean, go to Popoyo. It’s also one of the best surfing spots in the world. See my article for where to stay in Popoyo and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

If you’re planning to go to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, read my article about how to get from Costa Rica to Nicaragua by bus.

Happy travels!