Island Life

We got up early on Thursday so that we could spend a little time exploring Granada before catching a ferry to the island. Granada is a very pretty colonial town with many interesting churches and a nice central park. We walked around so that Mike could take pictures and we even went inside a couple of the churches. Although they’re quite elaborate and pretty on the outside, they are awfully barren on the inside. They do contain some interesting statues though. Most of the statues are several hundred years old and are made of wood. They’re painted, and some of them are clothed and bewigged as well. It’s a kind of creepy effect: curly doll hair on an old wooden Jesus dressed in purple crushed velvet. You can judge for yourself from the picture below.

The yellow building in the distance is one of the Granada churches.

This is another of the churches.

A (creepy) wooden Jesus statue dressed in purple crushed velvet and a curly doll wig. The shepherd Jesus holding a stuffed lamb was fun too, but Mike didn’t get a picture of that one.

Cigar rolling at a shop in Granada.

In the afternoon we boarded a ferry for the 3.5 hour boat ride to Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The island is made of two volcanoes — one active and one containing a lagoon in its crater. Our first night on the island we stayed on the north side by the active volcano in a town called Altagracia.

In the distance you can see Concepcion, the active volcano on Ometepe Island. The view is from our ferry as we docked just outside of Altagracia.

The sunset from the dock on Ometepe Island.

The next day we biked around to the opposite side of the island. The roads are dirt and are therefore rather bumpy, but they make things interesting. We saw lots of wild-ish pigs, cows, and horses (I say “wild-ish” because although I am sure they belong to someone, they don’t look particularly well cared for and they roam about anywhere they please), and we spotted several really pretty butterflies and blue birds with long tails. Halfway to our destination we stopped at a tourist trap called Ojo de Agua. It’s basically a pool filled with natural water (read: “not chlorinated and a little dirty”) equipped with a rope swing. It was a nice stop on a hot day, but nothing too exciting. We hopped back on our bikes after an hour or so and biked the rest of the way to a town called Merida.

Pigs chillin’ by the side of the road.

A pretty butterfly — it’s kind of hard to tell in the picture, but the top half of its wing is translucent.

The pool and rope swing at Ojo de Agua.

Plantains are big business on the island (and I think that’s what these are).

Hacienda Merida is a nice hostel complete with loads of hammocks, wi-fi, a dock on the lake, buffet-style meals, kayaks, etc. It also serves as a great base camp for the island’s outdoor activities. Today we rented the kayaks for a bit and paddled out to the two “Monkey Islands” nearby. One island contains two spider monkeys and the other contains a hoard of capuchin monkeys. All of the monkeys were rescued from abusive pet owners and placed on the islands to live in freedom. They’re supposedly really aggressive, so we were advised against going too close; apparently, they have pretty sharp teeth. They’re cute from a safe distance, though. Tomorrow we are thinking about hiking to the top of the volcano with a lagoon in its crater, so hopefully I can fill you in on that trip soon. In the meantime, here are some more pictures:

A lot of the motels in Nicaragua rent their rooms by the hour. Although they may be difficult to read in the picture, the hourly rates are painted on the side of this motel.

A team participating in the Tour de Nicaragua. You may recall that we ran into this event a few days ago while on the road ourselves.

One Response to “Island Life”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Great pictures! The sunset one is beautiful.Mike, Rose and family

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