Lake Nicaragua

28th April 2011

What were we thinking, crossing from Costa Rica to Nicaragua at Easter? The line of trucks was 20 kilometres and 4 days long. We joined the hoards of people at the border and eventually made it to San Jorge [1], near Rivas on Lake Nicaragua. Holiday celebrations were in full swing on the beach.


The next day we joined more hoards of happy local holiday makers on the one hour ferry across the lake to Ometepe Island, rising out of the lake with its two perfectly formed volcanic peaks over 1600 meters high joined by an isthmus of lava. Once on the island the crowds soon dispersed and Moyogalpa, the capital, went back to being a pueblo tranquilo – a sleepy little village. Ancient civilizations, believed to have come from Mexico and Central America, held the island sacred and left behind stone statues and petroglyphs depicting birds, animals, humans as well as geometric shapes. Shards of pottery from pots thrown into the lake by indigenous people as the Spanish approached can still be found washed up on the black sand beaches.


The delightful colonial city of Granada [2] sits on the western edge of the lake. Nicaragua´s oldest city was founded in 1524, almost completely destroyed in 1856 by fire but later restored to the gem it is today. The heat kept us indoors during the day but in the evenings it was pleasant strolling and sampling freshly made tortillas, roast corn and grilled meat sold by vendors along the cobbled streets.


Rock from an eruption of the nearby Mombacho Volcano thousands of years ago, formed some 350 islets near the city. We spent a pleasant morning on a boat ride between the islets inhabited by traditional fishing families and Nicaragua’s´ rich and famous. One islet is home to some spider monkeys that jumped onto our boat.


Rivas Cathedral

Locals celebrate Easter on Lake Nicaragua

Twin volcanoes of Isla Ometepe

Moyogalpa Church on the island

Easter procession

Volcán Concepción towers over Moyogalpa

Volcán Maderas

Last ferry of the day

Shady road to a beach

Bright blue Urraca



Pre-Colombian stone statue

Pre-Colombian stone statue

Petroglyph over 2000 years old depicting a calendar

Evening in Granada

Iglesia Guadalupe

Iglesia La Merced

Meat grilling on the side walk makes a tasty $2 meal

Painting of pre-Hispanic pole dance

Early pot

Mombacho Volcano near Granada

One of the 350 islets formed by the explosion of Mombacho

A spider monkey joins us on the boat

Tiger heron

Pretty water birds around the islets

White heron

Cashew nuts on the tree