Reserva Charco Verde
Get ready for a fast-paced adventure through the best of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. From oceans teeming with marine life to cloud forests alive with jungle melodies, this pocket of Central America is something of a natural paradise.
Not just the ferry terminal for hourly boats from the mainland, Moyogalpa is the nerve center for Ometepe's nascent tourist industry, with several hotels and restaurants, and the fastest Internet on the island.
With more natural protection from Concepción's occasional lava flow than Moyogalpa, this is the original indigenous capital of Ometepe, and still the island's most important town.
One of Ometepe's classic hikes is to San Ramón waterfall. This excellent four-hour trek follows a steep, clearly marked trail to the mossy, 40m (131ft) waterfall that you see on all the postcards.
This stunning 40m waterfall is one of the jewels of the island. The trail begins at the Estación Biológica de Ometepe. It’s a steep four-hour round-trip on an easy-to-follow trail that’s lost some of its charm since lots of trees were cut down. But it’s still mossy and beautiful at the top.
On the isthmus take a pleasant stroll through banana plantations to the well-signed shady swimming hole about 1.5km north of Playa Santo Domingo. The mineral-infused water here bubbles up from 35 small underground springs and, with an average temperature of 22°C to 28°C (71°F to 82°F), makes for a refreshing dip.
The past meets the future…well, the present, anyway, at this combination internet cafe and family-operated museum. Your fee includes a Spanish-language guided tour of metates (flat stones on which corn is ground) and lots of beautiful ceramics, including what may be the best collection of ceramic funeral jars in Nicaragua, emblazoned with bats, snakes and other emblems.
The village's main attraction is this museum packed with information (in Spanish) about the island. You’ll find a much more comprehensive collection at the Museos El Ceibo. Non-Spanish speakers will still appreciate the amazing scale model of the volcanoes, as well as a few stone sculptures, petroglyphs and lots of pottery thoughtfully displayed as part of a timeline.
This is a 1.5km interpretative trail meandering through the forest on the outskirts of Playa Santo Domingo. The trail starts just north of the village and ends opposite Villa Paraíso. At least 63 species of birds inhabit these parts, so walk quietly and look up every now and then. And make sure you wear good shoes – the loose volcanic-rock path can get very spiky!
Grab a table out front to watch the action on the main drag at the island's best pizza-pie place. There's a wide menu featuring seafood dishes like snapper in shellfish sauce or shrimp cocktails, but the standard assortment of pasta dishes. Eggplant with pesto is a great veggie option.
Close to Altagracia, this island, basically a plantain finca (farm) gone feral, is rarely visited despite being a fantastic place for bird-watching. If you’re interested, you could certainly arrange a custom trip – ask at Hotel Castillo or at the artisan cooperative in the parque central.