Wednesday, 27th August
Today we got up lazy as usual and had some eggs, toast and coffee. Not sure if the coffee is local or not but it tastes good, just black (cafe negro). There are coffee farms on the sides of the volcano here so I expect the beans are local. We might visit the local coffee farm, or ‘finca’, tomorrow but as for today, we decided to walk to a local natural spring swimming hole – ‘Ojo de Agua’. We also decided to stay here another two nights, just enough time to unwind before hitting the road again towards Costa Rica.
We are staying in Santa Cruz and about an hour’s walk along the only road in town takes us to Santa Domingo. This is a slightly larger settlement than Santa Cruz although to be honest you could still barely call it a hamlet. There are more hotel-type accommodations here and a couple of cafe/restaurants. The walk is nice, walking along the road checking out the local wildlife and views. We had the lake on one side of us and in front of us the active volcano of the two – Volcan Concepcion. The water hole is further on from Santa Domingo and it took us about one and a half hours from our hostel to get there. We took the dirt-road off the main road and paid our US$3 entry fee each. The water hole is a natural spring and the water is cool, very nice for a refreshing dip after a hot long walk. We stayed there for about an hour or so, swimming around and reading whilst sipping on a coconut and beer. This water hole is built up much like the cenotes in Mexico with restaurants and stalls on hand to supply your needs. We didn’t eat here thinking we might grab a bite to eat on the walk back to our hostel. We did stop off on the way back but only for a slice of chocolate cake. We would build up quite an appetite for dinner.
We relaxed back at the hostel, Kirsty in a hammock and myself in a rocking chair sipping on a beer (a big Tona) before heading out for dinner. It was now dark and we took a torch with us to illuminate our way as we would venture out of the hostel. We found a place down in the road towards Santa Domingo that offered simple food but tasty. The choice was chicken, pork or fish. I had pork and Kirsty chicken and they were both delicious, char-grilled and served with rice and fried plantains done as chips. We had the family pets hounding us for scraps which they were unsuccessful in getting. It was a family place, with husband and wife doing the cooking, pets vying for scraps and daughters playing on the swings. It felt nice to eat somewhere other than our hostel for a change.
Thursday, 28th August
We awoke to rain falling hard onto the tin roof of our room. Today is our last day on Isla de Ometepe and we decided to take it easy, perhaps up to walking up to the ‘Cafe Campestre’ for lunch that we found the other day. In the morning I sorted out some onward travel arrangements, mainly how to get to Costa Rica and where to stay in Liberia, our first town there and also booking a flight from Panama City to Cartagena in Colombia. In booking this we have three weeks now left in Central America. In that time we shall see Costa Rica and have a few days in Panama.
For lunch we walked to the ‘Cafe Campestre’ in Balgue and got caught in a shower on the way, having to shelter under some trees by the roadside near a small pig. Lunch was delicious and very filling and it didn’t help the walk back up and down the small hills to our hostel in Santa Cruz. Balgue is about 40 minutes or so from Santa Cruz and always feels like a longer journey on the way back. Once back at the hostel we just lazed around and relaxed. Today is less hot and overcast than the other days so there’s no great temptation to do too much. Tomorrow we would leave the Isla de Ometepe.