The name, Ometepe, comes from the Nahuatl word "ometepetl" which means "Two Hills", as two majestic volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, rise out of the island. It is the largest lake island in Central America. The lake itself is the only freshwater habitat for sharks in the world.
Ometepe is an ecotourist's jewel, with its two volcanoes, Concepcion (1,610 meters or 5,282 feet) and Maderas (1,340 meters or 4,396 feet above sea level) and their tropical dry forest. They are united by a small isthmus, Istian, giving the island the shape of an inverted eight. The Maderas Volcano has a beautiful lake at its summit.
The island is an ideal site for aquatic sports, fishing and ecological hikes which provide contact with its rich flora and fauna. You will find petroglyphs and statues on Ometepe that are an important part of Nicaragua's pre-Columbian treasure.
From November 12 to 17, the island celebrates the cultural tradition of the Feast of San Diego de Alcala and a fabulous cavalcade.
The island is reached by taking the ferry departing from the port of San Jorge in the city of Rivas, or one of the boats that leave from the pier in Granada. Once there, tourists have the option of making excursions on mountain bike or horseback on the slopes of the two volcanoes, climbing to the lakes within the extinct craters.
The economy of the island is based primarily on agricultural production. Its main crops are plantains and cattle, along with rice, beans and fruits.
Punta Jesus Maria Beach, Charco Verde, Santo Domingo Beach, Merida and the Concepcion and Maderas Volcanoes.
Ecological and Scenic:
Concepcion Volcano Natural Reserve (2,200 hectares or 5,436 acres) with its dwarf forest on the eastern slope; the Maderas Volcano Natural Reserve (4,100 hectares or 10,131 acres) including cloud forest and a crater lake at the summit.
This is the active volcano on the Island of Ometepe, which rises up out of the waters of Lake Nicaragua. The cone, the most perfect of all the volcanic cones in the country, reaches a height of 1,610 meters (5,282 feet) above sea level. It occasionally expels gases and ashes. Its last lava eruption was in 1957. The peak of the volcano is almost always covered with a cap of clouds.
The Maderas Volcano rises 1,365 meters (4,478 feet) above the lake waters on the extreme eastern side of the Island of Ometepe. It is an old and extinct volcano. Its slopes are covered with coffee plants and it is crowned with a cloud forest.
Source: Content and images with the permission of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism - www.intur.gob.ni