Ometepe Island is actually the result when two volcanoes comes together. The beautiful Island was formed when the volcanoes Concepción and Maderas rises from Lake Nicaragua. The name is derived from the Nahuatl where ome refers to two and tepetl as mountains. This Island is the largest one in Nicaragua. The Island is 31 kilometer long and is populated by 42,000 people. The main occupation of the people here are agriculture, livestock, and tourism. Sharks are known to visit the lake. The tropical dry forests in and around the area is a treasure trove of biodiversity. This is an ideal destination for adventure lovers and for aquatic sports. You can try out angling, marine activities, and trekking the ecological trails. Also the site is an archeological find as well. Many petroglyphs and statues have been found here. The main attraction in the Island is off course its two volcanoes. The Concepcion Volcano Natural Reserve has dry forest on the Eastern side while the Maderas Volcano Natural Reserve has a beautiful cloud forest and a crater lake at the top of the mountain.
The Concepcion Volcano on the Ometepe Island is on the Northern part of the Island and is considered an active volcano. The cone that is formed here is perfecta according to geologists. It erupted extensively in 1880 and then a series of eruptions followed till 1957. Most of these eruptions were extremely violent in nature. The other Volcano Maderas supports a rainforest environment and rises at an elevation of 1394.It was in the 13th century that the last of the eruptions happened here. Coffee and tobacco plantation thrives here. Most of the Island is a natural reserve. The soil around both of these mountains is quite fertile due to volcanic eruptions.
The first settlement in the region goes back to Dinarte era about 2000-500 BC. The Nahua Indians resided here after whom came the Niquirano. Monuments and ceramics of them have been found in the region. The oldest of these dates to 300 BC. The Lake Nicaragua area was explored again when the Spaniards came here in the 16th century. The villages of Altagracia and Moyogalpa are the two most important villages in the Island. The main religion, culture and social activities of yore are concentrated around these two villages. There are atleast 73 archeological sites within a span of fifteen kilometers in this area.
Wildlife in Ometepe Island
Capuchin monkey are quite common here as well as the Mantled howler monkey. Scientific research is going on in the Maderas reserve about the preservation of these species of rare monkeys. The Nicaragua shark is the Lake is quite endemic to the region which until recently scientists believed was a specimen of the freshwater shark.The spider monkeys. A very small variety of monkeys, thrive in the jungles of the mountains. They are fed by fishermen on a regular basis.
Moyogolpa in Ometepe Island
This is the main port of the Island. It means in local dialect the land of the Mosquitoes. You get a beautiful view of the Concepción volcano from the port. The port town has lodging and eating facilities as well. You can also rent bicycles, cars and motorcycles here. A paved road fom here takes you to Altagracia located on the other side of the Volcano. You can follow the trail of Punta Jesús María, a narrow tip located on the Western side of the Island. You can also trek atop the volcano and pass the natural wonders as you climp uphill. The monkeys in the jungle are a sure delight.
Charco Verde and Altagracia
If you are going to Altagracia , Charco Verde Reserve will fall on the way. There is a beautiful laggon in the reserve and a scenic hill in the backdrop. Mangroves can be seen in the swampy part of the lagoon. Lodging is also offered here. There are three species of Howler Monkeys here. Altagracia is another settlement in the Ometepe Island where lodging, restaurants, pharmacies, and bicycle renting are possible. The Pre Pre Columbian Museum here is a must see.