Rural Tourism on Ometepe Island
The island of Ometepe, located in Lake Cocibolca, consists of two cone-shaped volcanoes – Maderas and Concepción – joined by a narrow strip of land. The island is thought to have been inhabited by humans as far back as 500 BC and stone idols and petroglyphs remain as reminders of its ancient history. Maderas is considered to be dormant and features a crater lake, with lush rain forests and coffee plantations covering its fertile volcanic ash enriched slopes. Most of the Volcán Maderas is a nature reserve and popular as a hiking destination. Volcán Concepción, the larger of the two volcanoes, is active and erupted as recently as 2010. Both volcanoes are integral to the legends and folklore of the island.
Rural communities on the island of Ometepe have formed a network promoting rural tourism and protecting their environment, while striving to improve the quality of life of communities and education opportunities for their children. Visitors can find accommodation through these groups and enjoy excursions focusing on the natural beauty and biodiversity of the islands and the culture and history of the people who live there.
In the community of Merida, in the town of Altagracia, the Women’s Group Greenwood offers accommodation with local families, traditional foods and beverages, learning Spanish and hiking to the summit of the Maderas volcano. Located close to the community is the San Ramon waterfall with its source in the rain forest of the volcano, and visits to the wetlands with their abundance of flora and fauna can also be arranged. The vision of the Women’s Group Greenwood includes working on behalf of their families, and the community of Merida, by attracting more tourists to the area through excellent service and hospitality.
Under the name of Malwatego, a group of people provide rural and community tourism services, including fishing, kayaking, trekking, horseback riding and cycling, as well as offering accommodation in the homes of members of the groups. They aim to meet the needs of customers, thereby improving their incomes and opportunities.
Located around two miles from the port town of Moyogalpa, the community of La Paloma is home to the Sunset Association consisting of a group of ten families who welcome guests into their homes and arrange tours of the island, along with a host of activities, including cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and trekking. As the name suggests, the community’s location on the shores of Lake Cocibolca offers spectacular views of the sunset. They also have a Cybercafe with internet access and offer a variety of organic products.
So, if you are planning to visit this picturesque part of Nicaragua, be sure to support local communities and have a good time while doing good.