Ometepe and Lake Nicaragua

We arrive at San Jorge on the edge of the lake at a little before 11. We have read somewhere that there are ferries running every hour or so, but it isn’t quite what we need as it turns out. There are boats every hour or so, but that includes lanchas that don’t take vehicles and the next ferry as it turns out won’t be leaving until 2:30. Well, time for a bit of lunch and a rest in the shade then.
Bike Trip Arenal 102
While we fritter away 3 hours and change I work on buying all the tickets and things we need to get on the boat…one for each bike and one for each person, as well as a port ticket for each bike. And at the last minute we have to each pay a tourist tax to enter the port. So four fees each, perfect.
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I can see Volcan Concepcion in the distance, its the larger of the two on the figure-8 shaped island. The other smaller and dormant volcano is Maderas and that’s where we are headed tonight, to stay at the Hacienda Merida that Juergen from Bike-Nicaragua suggested.
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At 2pm we can finally ride into the port and take our place with all the smaller bikes, the two vehicles, the cyclists, and backpackers and a truck or two, one of which is huge.
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After some frustrating discussion with the boat crew about how and where to park the bikes, how close they needed to be to the railing and them trying to man-handle a bike – we are finally in position and watch nervously as a truck backs in next to them. Then we are off for the hour and a half crossing to Moyogalpa.
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When we arrive we head straight around the edge of the island toward the other half of the eight and to Merida. It’s already 4 and it gets dark early and quickly here. We ride across the airport runway on part of the road.
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The roads aren’t paved, but are made of packed together blocks.
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It’s slow going with the people and animals walking on the roads. And we push on to try and beat the sun. Shannon rides in front of me. I feel protective of her and Brian leads us, so I decide to have her in the middle where I feel like I can watch over her. But as we get onto the 3-4 mile dirt section just before Merida, Shannon slows down on a rocky descent. Her bike stalls and she drops it as I am riding up behind her. Worrying I will run into the back of her I grab a little too much brake and my bike tips over onto her right side. And as fast as I tried to get her righted before Brian snapped a pic…I didn’t get it done.
Another turista rider stopped just behind me and he and a local guy helped me pick up my bike. I love how enormous I look next to the little local man. And off we go to get to the lodge, only another few hundred meters. I love the place, the lagoon, the small village….it’s a paradise.
Bike Trip Arenal 145
Bike Trip Arenal 153
The Hacienda Merida won a national award for helping to create a lot of benefit on the island – there is a great recycling program in place and a local school was built from recycled bottles and other materials, they have a Spanish English school for the local kids and feed them meals to make sure they are well nourished…among other things.
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On the way out after a couple of relaxing nights, we have to fight the island traffic. Loved this place!
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Bike Trip Arenal 186

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