We took a two day car reconnaissance trip to Ometepe via Rivas. We left here early morning from Diriá to Rivas, a 1 hour trip.
When we arrived at the port, we went to the port authority where they told us the reservation we made a week earlier was not there. We went to the Ferry Master inside the port to talk to them to see how we could be on the ferry for the 9:30am departure.
We went back to the ferry port authority and purchased a pass which cost C$1070 for 1 car and bicycle we had on top of the car. Still don’t understand why this bicycle charge.
We waited at the holding area until Ferry Master cleared us to get on the 9:30am ferry, not all the cars that had reserved a spot showed up. Here we paid another C$470 for the car ferry rid.e It was a tight maneuvering to get a SUV in a tiny spot. We left punctual at 9:30am.
The journey was nice with a cool breeze, as you can see from the pictures below we had a full deck of cars, trucks and motorcycles. They do sell snacks, limited food menu, drinks and beers.
We arrived a 1 ½ hrs later and started the disembarking process. As soon as we disembarked we made a reservation for our return to Rivas, and made sure our name was on the list this time.
Our Hotel Tiburon was 100 meters off the dock to the left, which had been reserved with breakfast for US$30 for 2 people via Airbnb. This is a large 10 room hotel (very clean) that was recently build 2014/15. We asked to check in early and took the bikes for an early ride.
After some bike riding we decided to head East of the Island to look for food. We ended up in a beach area off the road called El Tesoro Beach Hotel. This place was deserted, nevertheless we stayed and ordered our lunch and beers. The food and service was great and we were ready to take a car ride towards Maderas.
Along the way we picked up three hitchhikers, one from Holland, Canada and Sweden. They were backpacking with no destination or reservations. We dropped them off a ½ hour later and we picked up another person, a lady from New York with her approx. 2 year old child, that currently lives on the island.
The country side has many things to offer! We certainly where surprised by all the bike riders (available for rent at $10 per day) on these dirt roads with lots of rocks on several areas. We certainly would have had a hard time doing this, even on a scooter/motorcycle which people were renting for US$25-$50 per day.
We added a few maps to this post since most places we stopped had no maps or knew about the different activities to do on the Island or where to eat.
Maps around Ometepe Island
The Ojo de Agua and waterfalls open at 6 am and close at 2pm. So we missed the opportunity to see these two places, the scenic route was superb so worth the driving we had done!
Sunset of Concepción
We got to the Hotel around 8pm, it’s pitch dark not many street lights so you need to be careful while driving since the bicycles have no lights on them, and a lot of locals walking on the side of the street.
Early morning we decided to go to the Charco Verde which is a butterfly/bird sanctuary park. It opens at 7 am and cost us US$5.00 per person. We took over an hour walk and bike ride through the park it’s worth the trip, as it has a laguna in the middle of the park with some hiking trails, and access to the park private beach.
Headed back to the hotel for our breakfast which was good with lots of coffee. We checked out and started our drive around the Concepción side. It took us over an hour to drive around and it’s 45km (30 miles) drive. Along the way we stopped and took a hike up Concepción. We came across two billboards that showed as an entrance to Concepción (I’m sure there are others that only the locals know about).
Pictures of the Hike up Concepción – due to time constraints we made it up to 1075 feet – 1 hour hike, and took us 35 minutes to hike down.
The park or access to Concepción is open from 6 am. You will also find a map that provides a guide on terrain difficulty and hiking time. A must do - Bring lots of water, and good hiking shoes. There are tour guides available to take you on the hike.
Before heading back to Rivas we stopped at Restaurant Hostel Sinai which is 1/3 a block on the main street when you get off the ferry going to your right.
Photo Hostal Sinai
We took the 3pm ferry ride back and this time we had a reservation and it was easier to get on the boat since we were 4th in line. Since this ride was not so busy I was able to see a few interesting things on this Ferry. The ferry actually was shipped from the Netherlands after it had reached it’s useful life.