Mysterious Bull sharks and a smoking volcano at Ometepe

Ometepe_concepcion

At ten in the morning I left San Juan del Sur with the local chicken bus to Rivas, which costs NC $25. After arriving at Rivas I bargained for a taxi ride to San Jorge, which I took for NC $150, but not knowing I was sharing the taxi. I only wanted to pay 50 Cordobas per person after the ride, since there were three of us and we shared the service, but the taxi driver was not reasonable at all and expected us to pay NR $150 each. I was pissed off, but hey, the journey continued. At San Jorge I had to take a ferry at 12 o’clock to get to the island of Ometepe. The price for the one hour and ten minutes ferry ride was NC $70, but on the ticket it actually said 69. I felt like today was not a fare day for my wallet, which was just a principals thing.

Swimming with Bull-sharks

I reached Ometepe in the afternoon and a girl I met on the ferry arranged a taxi for 5 bucks to the hostel “Little Morgans” where she worked at. I entered the hostel and saw a pig walking around as their hostel pet, but also two talkative green parrots, a bunch of dogs, cats and some chickens were hanging out. Nice! It’s like a farm!

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Chicken hanging out on the hammock

I met other travelers who were still hanging out at the hostel in the hammock and we decided to go to the beach of Santo Domingo together. With the four of us we bought two big bottles of beer, a bottle of Flor de Caña (local Nicaraguan Rum) and we walked to the beach. The sun was already quite low and we decided to drink the beers with the amazing view of the sunset next to the active volcano Conception. Right on the other side of the beach we could enjoy the view of the other dead volcano, named Madera. The funny thing was, since we were sitting in between those two volcanoes, we heard that the two volcanoes are two boobs and we were sitting on this island that actually represented a woman. Or so the stories goes… Right.

The lake is pretty close to the volcano and it offers a fantastic view of beautiful natural surroundings. At first I did not get it why everyone was so exited about Ometepe, but once I sat on the beach I totally understood why all the travelers told me to come here. Amazing. You’re sitting on the beach, with one volcano on your left and one volcano on your right. One active, with a true volcano shape and one dead, looking like a mountain full of jungles.

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I wanted to get into the water of the lake and so I walked in and started swimming as the water got a bit deeper. Once the others joined me I realized that something I do not like could actually be surrounding us.
Bullsharks! Damn! Or at least, that was what my new friends were telling me.

So hey Renate, did you know there could be Bull sharks around?

Uhm, excuse me? BULL SHARKS? I’m out of here!

the begin of the volcano hike

The begin of the volcano hike with a view at the no longer active Volcano Maderas

Indiana Jones

The next morning, very early at five a.m. I woke up to meet my guide on time for the volcano hike. My guide’s name was Juan Paulo and he was only 26 years old but really knew how to work his job.

We started the hike to the active volcano Concepcion from Los Ramos, where Juan Paulo and his friend-colleague Alexis have their own hand-made Indiana Jones trail. Imagine a hand-made trail for a second… Nothing of paths whatsoever, only some plants cut away so that you could actually pass. J.P. was carrying a big machete to cut some plants along the way and he had to use it quite a lot.

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Ometepe_concepcion

Where the lava runs after an eruption…

After hiking our way up through the jungle surroundings of the Volcano, which was pretty tough already for my current physical condition (since I’ve been sitting in buses a lot lately!) we needed to cross the slippery part of the Volcano as well. The part where rain and sand created a lot of mud and it was quite tricky to move our way up. After about 2,5 hours we finally reached the real rocky part of the volcano. The natural materials you’d expect to find in this area.

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After hiking up for way to many hours, I could finally see the crater of the Volcano, but I did not knew that I was about to experience an amazing view.

Reached the top of the Volcano at 1610 meters. Exhausted, but with victory!

Reached the top of the Volcano at 1610 meters. Exhausted, but with victory!

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My local guide and I taking a selfie on top of Concepcion.

My local guide and I taking a selfie on top of Concepcion.

Lucky me, very, very lucky me. The Volcano Concepcion was not having a cloudy day and the crater was clearly visible, which is pretty much unique.

Ready for the amazing view?

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It was absolutely amazing to be able to see the chemicals of the volcano burning on the inside of the crater and to feel the hot smoke coming out of it. The smell was not nice at all, since it really smells quite chemical, but that was the least important at the moment. I mean, look at what I had accomplished! I was so happy to have climbed this Volcano and I felt really happy because it was such an achievement for myself. I find the hikes up and down on any mountain or Volcano always quite difficult and this time I rocked it. Thanks to my guide J.P. for his patience and fun conversations along the way.

Rock “climbing”

However, I still had to hike my way down those 1610 Nicaraguan meters. How on earth can you walk down on a steep hill of a volcano with lots of loose laying rocks? I don’t know how my guide managed to do it, but I basically climbed down as a spider with my feet and hands using the big rocks.

After reaching the jungle area again it was time for some slippery fun. I fell like two times, but with all the adrenaline I did not even notice my leg bleeding. After a while we decided that I should walk in front and hold the hand of the guide in case I’d slip again. We walked for about half an hour kind of hand in hand, but due to that luckily I was able to not slip!

The last part of the trip back was all about running through the volcanic sand. Pretty awesome! I would have loved to take some photos of it, but it was just too much fun just experiencing it with out holding any cameras. The sand let’s you slide quickly and with your feet making the quick running movements it’s a lot faster and less hard to get back to the bottom of the volcano.

At about 4pm we got back at sea level and after all these hours at the volcano is was time to finally stretch my legs and relax.

I think we deserved some Toñas.

Celebration!

Celebration!

Getting back to those bull sharks for a second.

I asked my guide about these creatures appearing in the lake of Ometepe and he explained to me that they used to be there, but that nowadays they are all gone. People have been fishing them out apparently and no bad news about people disappearing because of sharks has ever been spread. So, happy swimming AND volcano climbing 🙂

Mission accomplished!

 

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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