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Ometepe is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua. It is also ranked as the 10th largest lake island in the world. It was formed by the twin volcanoes Concepcion and Maderas, with a low lying isthmus separating the two. 

 

Ometepe’s name is derived from the indigenous Nahuatl words for “two mountains.”

 

The volcano Concepcion’s last eruption was March 9, 2010, and there are active fumaroles on the north side of its summit crater. Still considered an active volcano, it is part of the ring of fire that loops around the islands far into the western Pacific Ocean.

 

This volcano and the surrounding area attract adventure seekers from all over the world. Numerous trails within the tropical forest provide a picturesque experience for visitors. 

 

The other volcano making up this island, Maderas, is inactive and features a lagoon in its crater. This is also a beautiful place to hike and to see white-faced capuchin monkeys. Be careful — they will steal your stuff! I have wondered where these monkeys stash all the cameras and other stolen items. It must be a treasure trove.

 

Hiking the Maderas volcano is really an amazing experience. Along the way, you will pass some ancient petroglyphs and a lookout point for viewing the Concepcion volcano. The climb takes about three and a half hours. It’s possible to descend into the crater’s lagoon if you are an advanced hiker. It is a tough climb, and the lagoon is cold most of the time, covered in a mist. 

 

The descent down the volcano takes about the same time, as it is slippery. So the trek up and down makes for a full-day excursion. Be sure to bring enough water and food for energy. Good hiking shoes and clothing are necessary. You will get muddy!

 

San Ramón waterfall is a must-see, it is located on the southern slope of the volcano Maderas, only four kilometers from the San Ramón beach. There is a small fee of $3 to hike to the waterfall. It is on a large finca (farm) that houses the Ometepe Biological Field Station. 

 

Learn more by reading about the author’s recent excursion to Ometepe island from Guanacaste.  

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