The Other Side of Ometepe

Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, is shaped like a figure eight around two volcanos. We are on the west side of the northwest volcano and have seen a bit of this part of the island. I have heard about interesting places in the isthmus and around the southeast volcano so I wanted to see these areas too.

There are buses that go to Altagracia (northeast of the volcano near us) every hour but only a few of them go on to other destinations. We caught the morning bus that goes to Balgue which is on the north side of the other volcano, and we took the bikes along so we could do some exploring when we got there. A nice strong guy just picked them up, went up the ladder at the back of the bus and tossed them on the roof!

1 3/4 hours and 80 cordobas later (about $3.20, 20 per person and 20 per bike) we arrived at Balgue.

We rode to the next town and by now it was getting to be lunch time, so we looked for a place to eat. We had seen many tarps with what looked like rice drying so we stopped to ask a lady. She told us that it is indeed rice, and there also is a place to eat just a couple doors away. It was one of those places in the trees and shrubs that looks like someone’s patio, that you wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t know about it. And I am sure it was a much more interesting lunch than any tourist hangout.

Lunch finished, we got on our bikes and were on our way, headed down along the isthmus between the volcanos.

Many people had mentioned Ojo de Agua (eye of water), a spring fed pool in the jungle that is very beautiful, so this was our next destination. It definitely was everything it is said to be! Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to believe the beautiful and exotic places I find myself in.

Now cooler, relaxed, and refreshed we set out again. After a good amount of uphill climbing we found ourselves in what I believe was El Quino, which is on the main bus route from Altagracia to Moyogalpa, our home base. We had some pretty spectacular views along the way!

Lucky for us, about the time we decided it would be s good time for a bus to come along, here came a bus!

Then, all we needed to do was to pick up a few things for dinner, make our way home, walk the dog, shower, and flop on the couch after a great day!

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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15 Responses to The Other Side of Ometepe

  1. joeltc1 says:

    Reblogged this on FindingMySelfinPanama and commented:
    Volcanos wearing hats, tiny deer at the restaurant, that’s Omotepe!


  2. Anonymous says:

    That food looked so good. The water made me want to swim. Glad to see others were.


  3. kelly says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and wanted to let you know I am really enjoying your pictures. We spent 4 days on Ometepe back in June and found it to be one of the most peaceful places we have ever been. We stayed on the “other side” at Xalli Beach hotel and loved it there. The food there is awesome – if you stop there please let them know that Kelly and family (my husband had a kidney stone while there, I think they may remember us) say Hi! Also I am cracking up at the blue wooden ferry that I see in the background of some of your pictures. We took that to Ometepe – crazy scary experience! I recommend avoiding it! Will you be stopping at San Juan del Sur or visiting Granada by any chance when you leave there?


    • We must have gone right past your hotel when we were over there. It’s a beautiful area! I want to visit Merida so we might be back that way. We took the regular ferry and it was fine, but I have been warned that there are little boats that might be a bit more adventuresome. We probably won’t stop anywhere else because we can only be out of Panama 30 days (for background check, applying for residency). But I definitely was to come back and see more of this country. We really like it here.
      Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment 🙂


      • kelly says:

        The big car ferry I thought was totally ok. The little wooden one was tilting way too far to one side and we were riding it right after the South Korean ferry accident and we had our kids with us – so that always heightens my fears! It was one of those things though that were terrifying at the time but we always laugh about it!

        I wish we had bikes when we were on the island – I am very jealous of that! Although it was crazy – we all were so relaxed there we thought we were drugged (my husband actually was because of the kidney stones – that is a whole other story!)

        I will definitely follow your blog. We are thinking about early retirement in C America, thus the trip to Nica. I really liked San Juan del Sur – now after reading your blog I think a trip to Panama may have to be made! I have been looking at pictures of Boquete all morning.


        • These are bikes rented in Moyogalpa for $21/week each, well worth it IMO. I bike a lot in Panama for fun and exercise so wanted to continue here. It’s an easy way to get around and see places.
          Of course everyone has different preferences but for us, Panama is working out wonderfully. It is also a very beautiful country with great people. Well you can probably tell from my blog that I’m having a great time these last couple years 🙂


  4. Kris, I am so enjoying your stories! Be sure to visit Charco Verde and watch the monkeys. I love reading your perspective of our isla de paz. It kind of grows on you, doesn’t it? Wow! How time flies. See you next Thursday. Hugs to Cappy and the cats.


    • We are having a great time! The time is passing quickly though. I had to tell the veggie guy that I may not be here next week. *sigh* We are going to Chaco Verde probably this weekend, and we want to visit Altagracia too.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Ahhh…. Have my ticket to Panama. Independence Day (from Spain Of course). Thanksgiving aqui. Abrazo fuerte, David. In the mean time taking advanced conversational espanol. 10-2 to 11-20. What an exciting turn of events over this past year. I owe a lot to you and Joel. Muchas gracias.


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