Backackers Guide to Isla De Ometepe – Nicaragua

Isla De Ometepe is an island on Lake Nicaragua, in Nicaragua, Central America. The Island of Ometepe is made up  two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, which are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass. The volcanos are popular for hiking and bird watching. Isla De Ometepe is still reasonably undeveloped so dont expect to many luxuries, instead prepare for a true Nicaraguan experience. 

Things to do Isla De Ometepe

San Ramon waterfall: Is located on the southern side of Maderis Volcano. From Hacienda Merida we hired bikes and rode to the trailhead. From the trailhead it is a 3km hike that takes about 1.5 hours (one way). It is difficult towards the end but even without hiking experience, anyone could make it up.

Things to do Isla De Ometepe

Monkey Island: Hire kayaks from Hacienda Merida and kayak 30 minutes out to the islands.

Things to do Isla De Ometepe

Santa Domingo Beach: Is a popular beach on the island. Lay on the sand, drink fresh coconuts and cool down in Nicaragua Lake.

Ojo de agua: These mineral water swimming holes are a great place to relax after hiking.

Hike Volcano Maderas or Volcano Concepcion: Both extremely strenuous hikes and may not be worth it in poor weather. I hiked Maderas in the rain and didn’t see anything, but was glad I made it to the top. Make sure you are in good shape as these hikes are tough.

Other activities include horseback riding, biking and kayaking. You can arrange tours for any of these activities, however you can also do them yourself easily and save $$.

Recommended length of stay

I recommend staying on Isla De Ometepe for 3-4 nights.


Nicaraguan Cordoba and US Dollars

Getting to and around

If you are coming to Isla De Ometepe from overseas, you would fly into Managua Airport.

From Managua, you would take a bus to Rivas, then a bus to San Jorge where you will catch the ferry to Isla De Ometepe.

If you are coming from Costa Rica, you will do the same thing, taking the bus to Rivas, then a bus to San Jorge and a ferry to Isla De Ometepe.

Once on Ometepe you can catch buses for $1-2 but they don’t come often so you might have to wait. Alternatively you can take a taxi but this isn’t as cheap.

Where to stay

I highly recommend Hacienda Merida: Located on Maderas Volcano and along the waterfront. This hostel offers cheap accommodation in a picture perfect location with great tour services and helpful staff. Hacienda Merida is the perfect place to base your self for San Ramon Waterfall, Monkey Island and the Maderas volcano hike. Check out the view…

Little Morgan’s: Located in Santa Cruz on Madras Volcano. Little Morgan’s is a backpacker’s favorite. I personally never stayed there but had it recommended to me several times by other backpackers. I personally preferred the Merida side of the Volcano, but if you are staying in Santa Cruz, check out Little Morgan’s.

Santa Domingo Beach: Is another popular place to stay on Isla de Ometepe but the price of accommodation is higher than other locations on the island.

Search for cheap accommodation options here.

See more from Nicaragua and Central America here. 

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