November 1, 2015: Isla Ometepe

We all got up quite early at Casa Bahia in San Juan del Sur this morning.  We need to drive up to San Jorge and catch the ferry to get over to Isla Ometepe and if we do not get there early we will have a very short day over on the island.

We were not up as early as we should have been.  We really should have gotten up at five but no one wanted to do that.  We were up close to seven and made good time packing the car and getting underway.  We did not have time to get breakfast at the resort but did get to see our new friends eating theirs and said goodbye to them before taking off.

The drive up to San Jorge was quick and easy.  We stopped for gas in Rivas before heading down into San Jorge.

At San Jorge we just missed the nine thirty ferry and were going to have to wait for the ten thirty.  Because we are trying to take the car with us there are many fewer ferry choices.  Thankfully because we are at San Jorge there is a lot of ferry traffic and they run pretty often.  This is the main ferry terminal for the island coming to the mainland as both the big settlement on the island is more or less facing this direction and it is the closest point for departing for it.

We got to the terminal and, of course, being a tourist area were immediately grabbed by tourist wranglers who hustled us away from the ferry itself to a tour office where they talked everyone into leaving the car at the ferry terminal in a guarded and gated lot and getting a tour guide and a private van to drive us around the island.  It did seem nice to not have to deal with the car on the ferry or on the island and having a tour guide was a nice feature.  So we decided to do that and took the ten thirty ferry over.  We only have one day on the island so we really have to cram everything in.

The ferry was supposed to leave at ten thirty but it was nearly eleven when it finally did.  The ferry was small, full and very, very hot.  We were all sweating like terrible.  Even the girls were drenched from the sweat.  The boat was completely full of flies or some kind of mosquito too.  So many that they were going up your nose, getting in your mouth, covering your clothes.  It was pretty gross.

The ride over is about an hour.  It gets a bit better once the ferry is underway but it is still ridiculously hot and humid.  Not pleasant at all.  Ryan spent most of the ride up on top of the boat which required climbing a ladder to get there.  I went up there for a while but since Dominica and the girls could not follow me I came back down.  This felt like a lot more than an hour, too hot and muggy.

Once off of the boat our guide met us on the dock and we were immediately into a van and off for an afternoon tour of the island.  Our first stop was supposed to be to a BBQ fish place that the guy who sold us the tour had been raving about so that we could order, go on to our destination and have the food ready when we returned.  There was bad, or no, communications though and this was skipped entirely.

We ended up starting off with the famous petroglyphs, ancient carved rocks that are out on the island.  Super fascinating that people have been living on these islands since ancient times.  This was not a long stop, there are only a few exhibits, but really cool and we are very glad that we went.  We had to be quick as there were a lot of mosquitoes and mosquitoes can mean any number of really awful tropical diseases so it is very good to avoid them whenever possible.

From there we back tracked and found this little, out of the way restaurant down by the water.  The van thing barely made it down there.  Very out of the way.  We ordered and the food was awesome.  We all loved it.  While we were there we got to see a herd of cattle go into the lake to drink.  Pretty weird.

A group of Nicas from the ferry came and ate at the restaurant while we were there too.  We recognized them and said hello. They remembered us as well.

From lunch we went to a mineral springs that Ryan was interested in.  It was a very popular destination for families and the place was packed.  Everyone but Dominica swam for a while.  Our timing was such that either we could swim or we could go on to other things and since Ryan had wanted to come here and the girls had been promised swimming this worked out and we gave up on doing other things.  It was the right choice.  The water was cold enough to be actually chilly but it was nice swimming in the fresh, flowing water.  The girls had fun playing with rocks that I would pick up for them from the bottom of the spring.

We had just a little extra time so our driver took us around to see as much of the island as we could see and even went out to a point to get the sunset a little bit.  It was gorgeous.  The island is really nice.  We got so many great views of the two volcanoes there, too.

We took some beach pics and then had to rush for the dock to make it to the ferry.  The trip back, which was on the Ferry Che Guaverra, was so much nicer than the one this morning.  It was dark, there was more breeze, the temperature had dropped, there was lots of room to move around and the bugs were not so crazy.  They even turned on the televisions for people to watch terrible, two decade of American films while taking the trip.  There was even a gecko that lived on the TV and would come out to eat the bugs that would collect on it.

On the boat we had a great view of the blinking lights from the fields of windmills lining the lake shore.  That was really cool to see.  There was a nice storm over the lake, too.

Once back we stopped at the little restaurant located in the same building where we bought our tour tickets this morning.  Dinner was nice, the food was quite good.

After dinner, back in the car and a drive north in the darkness back to Granada.  Ryan and I went out, as this was his last night in town, to the giant bar down on the main drag.  It’s a neat, multi-floor place more like you would expect in an American city – that is until you realize that they only have the making of two drinks so pretty much our only cocktail option was macuas which is the national cocktail of Nicaragua.  Good thing that I like drinking them!

After that it was back and off to bed.  Ryan and I have to be up early tomorrow so that I can drive him to the airport in Managua.