Hiking in Ometepe (or remind us never to hike a volcano again…)

So, one of the big things to do here on Ometepe is hiking.  Most people hike one of the two volcanoes.  We considered that for all of about five seconds.  Our hotel told us the hike up Maderas volcano takes somewhere between six and nine hours and that the hike up Concepcion volcano takes somewhere between seven and ten hours.  And everything we read about these hikes is that they are hard, hard, hard.  So, it didn’t take much to convince us that hiking these volcanoes was not in the cards this trip.

Never fear, we found easier hikes (or so we thought)…

We started with the Penas Ocultas trail, which starts and finishes within walking distance of our hotel and is a 3.5 km long trail through the jungle.

Starting the Penas Ocultas trail

Starting the Penas Ocultas trail

Our hotel suggested that we set aside two hours for the hike, but we managed it in less than one hour.  Along the way, we were serenaded by the sounds of numerous birds (although we didn’t spot many of them) and howler monkeys.

Howler monkey

Howler monkey

Neither one of us can believe quite how much noise howler monkeys can make.  The noise is really kind of creepy.  We tried to record it but it didn’t really work.  So, if you really want to know what howler monkeys sound like, National Geographic has a video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REPoVfN-Ij4.

There were also several white faced capuchin monkeys along the way.

White faced capuchin monkey

White faced capuchin monkey

We also saw numerous creepy crawlies.  These guys were all over the trail.  Yuck!

Unidentified creepy crawley

Unidentified creepy crawley

Given how quickly we banged through the Penas Ocultas trail, when we finished it we also decided to hike along the beach for another couple of hours.  Where we saw pigs.  Yep, pigs.  Just hanging out on the beach.  There are pigs all over this island.  I have no idea how they know who owns which pigs…

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

After blazing through the Penas Ocultas trail in half of the recommended time, we thought we were up for anything.  We were wrong.  So, so wrong.

Today, we decided to hike to the San Ramon waterfall, which is on the side of the Maderas volcano.  It was only a 3 km hike each way.  Easy peasy, right?   WRONG!  The 3 km hike up took us over two hours, and the hike back down was just under two hours.  The first two kilometers was on fairly even terrain, but it was up and up and up and up.  (Hint:  volcanoes are steep….).  And, the last kilometer was partially on trails like this:

Yep, this is the

Yep, this is the “trail”

I kid you not.  We were climbing over rocks.  In fact, a group of three guys had turned around because they thought there was no way the trail continued over the rocks.  Thankfully, we ran into a tour guide and followed his group through the rocks.

We saw a few white faced capuchin monkeys and a ton of beautiful butterflies.

P1090220 P1090244 P1090214 P1090217

Plus there were some amazing views.

View part way to the waterfall

View part way to the waterfall

And the waterfall was quite pretty.

Lisa at the waterfall

Lisa at the waterfall

Robert at the waterfall

Robert at the waterfall

But, we both concluded we had never sweat so much.  Ever.  We were both dripping wet when we got to the top.  Downright disgusting.  Remind us about this next time we decide to hike anywhere near a volcano…

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