Nicaragua is Safe
Because of its troubled past, Nicaragua has a hard time shaking off its bad name. However, Nicaragua is very visitor friendly and has been featured on Conde Nast Traveler, Continental Airlines, Outside Magazine and more as an up and coming travel destination. While a normal amount of caution is recommended when traveling to any location, Isla de Ometepe is an exceptionally safe and peaceful place. Nicaraguans are some of the nicest people around and are always willing to help visitors to their beautiful country. ViaNica is the most informative travel site on Nicaragua and is the key to being well informed without purchasing a travel guide.
Travel with Families
Isla de Ometepe is an excellent place for families with children to vacation.
For several years, we have had runners bring their families with young children for an excellent experience! Several aid stations are accessible to family and friends to cheer and support their runners on during the race. One of the aid stations for the 50k and 100k events is the Ojo de Agua pool, an excellent location to wait for runners to come in. Families are also welcome to participate in the Isla Limpia (garbage pickup day) and Calzado Kids Run. These events provide an excellent way for children to learn about working and playing together in cross-cultural environments.
The Story of Ometepe
As the story goes, long ago there was no Lake Nicaragua or Isla de Ometepe, only a lush valley of the gods named Valle de Coapolca. Several tribes who were hostile to each other lived around the valley and would visit it often to gather fruit and hunt game. One day, a young warrior named Nagrando met and fell in love with Ometepetl, a beautiful maiden from an enemy tribe. They tried to keep their romance a secret, but eventually Ometepetl’s father learned of the affair and vowed to kill Nagrando. The young lovers fled and hid in the forest, where they decided that the only way they could be together was by committing suicide. The pair slit their wrists and died in each other’s arms. As Ometepetl fell backwards, the sky darkened and rains flooded the valley, forming Lake Nicaragua. Ometepetl’s breasts then grew into the twin peaks of Volcan Concepcion and Volcan Maderas, and Nagrando's body became the nearby Isla Zapatera.
About Isla de Ometepe
Isla de Ometepe is a volcanic island (approx. 276 km sq) located on Lake Nicaragua (also known as Lago Cocibolca) in the southwestern region of Nicaragua. Two volcanoes form most of the island. Volcan Concepcion (1610 meters) is considered an active volcano but has not had a major eruption since 1957. Concepcion is thought to be the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. Volcan Maderas (1394 meters) has a crater lagoon and is surrounded by cloud forest and thick jungle. Its slopes are dotted with petroglyphs and stone idols.The forests of Ometepe are full of monkeys, tropical birds, rare insects, plants and flowers. Both volcanoes are now protected as national forests. The island is full of legends surrounding the volcanoes and its former inhabitants, the Nahuatl. Ometepe literally means "two hills" in the native Nahuatl language. The fertile volcanic soil makes Ometepe an agricultural phenomenon. Coffee, cacao, beans, rice, tobacco, bananas and many other fruits are plentiful on the island.
There are two major towns on Ometepe, Moyogalpa (pop. 2900) and Altagracia (pop. 4080). The total population of the island is only about 30,000 with an economy mainly based on livestock, agriculture and tourism. See our activities section for more information on Isla de Ometepe activities.