Nicaragua 5: Ometepe Island

Simon and Ang left the pit stop early and made their way three blocks south to the bus terminal, which once again was in the centre of a crowded market.  Acting on three pieces of separate timetable information, the team arrived with plenty of time.  Unusually for Central America, they then had to wait for 45 minutes before their bus departed for the town of Rivas.

Chickens in the Granada markets

The ride to Rivas was a standard chicken bus ride and soon they were in town.  There they jumped into a taxi and were deposited at the ferry terminal in San Jorge.  After an hour’s wait, they boarded an old weathered ferry with chicken bus seats for the ride to the Island of Ometepe.

Chicken boat

The island of Ometepe is a unique volcanic formation located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua.  It was formed by two large active volcanoes (Concepción and Maderas). Simon commented that “they would be just like two fried eggs when viewed from space”.  The island is connected by private and government run ferries.

The team rode on the old private chicken boat ferry across the rough lake.  The crew was engaged fully in the transit, regularly pumping the bilge by hand and acting on bell messages from the captain.  The slow hour long crossing was competed without sinking and the team arrived at Moyogalpa.  They then jumped on an ancient chicken bus to Altagracia on the eastern side of the island.  Just before Altagracia they jumped off the bus at El Quito and commenced walking towards Santo Domingo.   They soon gained a ride in a tourist van to their destination.

Concepción making clouds

In Santo Domingo, the team found accommodation and later met up with Team Ireland.  Whilst they waited for the next phase of the race, they spent the afternoon and evening socialising.  They also tried to avoid being bitten by sand flies and attempted to find out where the party was at in the super quiet town.  They received their next clue early the next morning and set off on foot to the town of Santa Cruz a few kilometres away to the south, walking along a road that in parts was only sandy.

Helpful evacuation signage Bird on a hut as the storm approaches

After a 45 minute march with their gear, the team checked into their next hostel in the small community of Santa Cruz.  Their new accommodation had slightly fewer sand flies and a fantastic view of Concepción volcano to the north.

Ometepe goats heading towards Santo Domingo

After checking in, the team attempted to locate Team Ireland.  They checked several accommodations, but were unsuccessful.  They did however manage to negotiate a free ride in a tourist van to the Ojo de Agua.  The afternoon was spent swimming and rope swinging into the cool water.  Completing this task the team set off with Simone from Team Switzerland for an early meal of Tostones con Queso.  Completing this challenge the team travelled by bus back to Santa Cruz and made a final attempt to locate Team Ireland at a nearby Irish run bar and hostel.  Unfortunately they were unsuccessful, so they returned along the dark sandy road to their accommodation where they checked into the pit stop for this leg of the race.

Panorama of the Ojo de Agua

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