Immaculate Concepcion

Days: 184-186

Total distance travelled: 38,732.2 kilometres (24,057.27 miles)

It was nursing sore heads and fragile bodies (due to our Xmas shenanigans) that we found ourselves headed for a ferry to Isla de Ometepe on Boxing Day (I’m not sure what the rest of the world calls it, but in Australia this is December 26th).

Finding ourselves flushed with US dollars, but lacking in Cordoba’s, we were met with a ticket lady (yes, it was a lady) near the dock who wasn’t able to change them. Not what our weary heads were too happy to hear.

Thankfully, a fortunately located security guard advised us we could purchase on-board, so we made our way to the ferry, ready for departure.

Eventually we got underway, the rocking motion of the vessel cause for concern with the possibility our stomachs were fragile, but we were ultimately okay.

On the approach. Isla de Ometepe with Volcan de Concepcion a dominant figure

On the approach. Isla de Ometepe with Volcan de Concepcion a dominant figure

With no seats free, and me eager to avoid the sun, we found a shaded spot beneath a stairwell near the bow of the vessel.

This was a great spot, albeit windy, until the weather turned. It got so clouded in fact, that both volcanoes (for Isla de Ometepe is formed by not 1, but 2 volcanoes) disappeared from sight.

When the rains came, enough was enough so we spent the rest of the voyage huddled beneath a tiny awning on the side of the ferry.

After what felt an eternity, we neared land and the rain slackened. Then we heard a splash!

Man overboard?

Indeed it was, although in this case it was deliberate.

Turns out this is how they tie off the vessel, so it can pivot its way into the dock!

Unexpected. This poor soul had to dive overboard to tie the ferry off...

Unexpected. This poor soul had to dive overboard to tie the ferry off…

On dry land, we were now faced with the task of finding a bed, at least for tonight, and possibly for a few days.

Our first attempt and then our second, and even our third were met with no success (the first two were full, the third stupidly overpriced).

We spied a place down a side street, however as we wandered towards it, we were hailed by an older gent from his porch. Turns out his home also has rooms for $10.00 US a night.

Basic they were, but they had great wi-fi and a private bathroom. We were sold!

In fact we passed much of our three days on the island there… broken up by repeat visits to a very good pizza shop and occasional food excursions.

We did manage to find a way to live stream the Cricket from back home (that most English and Australian of sports), so it seemed the perfect time to open up those Barbecue Shapes we’d been delivered in Cuba (an Australian savoury snack).

Thousands of miles away, yet maintaining Xmas traditions. The Boxing Day Test (Cricket) and BBQ Shapes

Thousands of miles away, yet maintaining Xmas traditions. The Boxing Day Test (Cricket) and BBQ Shapes

So did we waste our entire time here with a bit of rest and relaxation (much needed after a hectic few days)?

Almost, but not quite…

You see, there was still that damned big mountain, well okay, volcano looming above us, and on our final full day on the island, I thought we should at least try and get a decent picture of it.

From afar, it looked pretty cool, veiled in a complete layer of cloud. But I wanted to get a little closer, so we began to walk.

A rather immaculate looking Concepcion

A rather immaculate looking Concepcion

Eventually the road became dirt, before even ceasing to be a road (it was more a sandy/rocky trail), but we persevered. Surely somewhere up ahead would be a clear, panoramic shot of the volcano!

Initially there’d been a sprinkling of locals about, but as the time we’d traveled lengthened, so too did the time between people sightings.

Strolling through the woods...

Strolling through the woods…

A small rise gave me a glimpse of an adjacent field which looked to have a fairly clear view of Concepcion, so we quickly clambered over a barbed wire fence to take a peek.

The view was nice, but I still hoped for better, and as such thought an attempt at a tree climb might provide it.

Better again, but still not quite it…

Has chasing the perfect view sent us Bananas?

Has chasing the perfect view sent us Bananas?

The closer we ventured, the more sandy the trail became, at times branching in other directions, but we maintained our bearing.

As we progressed, the surrounding vegetation actually got thicker and I began to doubt if we’d see anything more at all.

To debunk those thoughts, we did see some things pretty quickly, although it wasn’t the volcano.

Just a few locals hanging around…

We did see the odd local...

We did see the odd local…

Eventually, we decided we’d give ourselves an extra 10 minutes before turning around, although after taking a narrow, partially overgrown side trail we allowed ourselves a 5 minute extension.

Then we emerged into a volcanic field of red.

Obviously at time a place where lava had flowed, it was now dissected by a deep channel (we assumed where rain waters had flowed down from the volcano), this looked like an amazing place to explore.

All thoughts of turning around were forgotten, so we began a new journey along this worn, dry bed.

Following an old lava flow/water channel (still chasing a better view)

Following an old lava flow/water channel (still chasing a better view)

The rock was jagged and hot, fired with renewed heat from the sun, so we hugged the shade wherever and whenever possible.

It was an incredible trail to follow, with every metre we’d travel, a multitude of geckos would scurry off seeking apparent safety.

We must have startled thousands of the poor creatures!

Eventually got to a point where we could take some more photos and here we also decided enough was enough.

Finally we decided to call time on our adventure

Finally we decided to call time on our adventure

Our short ten minute walk had become a couple of hour trek, and we now needed to take ourselves all the way back!

That we did, feeling it was very well deserved when we poured ourselves a first beer over a belated lunch.

Now we had to do something about the state of our feet…

Another fair workout for our 'hiking' shoes

Another fair workout for our ‘hiking’ shoes

 

Notes:

* Our lodging in Moyagalpa cost us $10.00 US per night for a room at Casa Familiar (basic room with Fan, TV, private bathroom and amazing internet).

* Our self guided volcano discovery trek was unsurprisingly, FREE!

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8 Responses to Immaculate Concepcion

  1. Rachel says:

    Very cool! Is that volcano still active? It looks like it is in your first picture, but not the rest.

  2. What a fun hike – always wonderful to blaze your own trail. So glad I found your blog!

  3. Marta Grilo says:

    How I wish to be where you guys are!

  4. Nat Deduck says:

    As always, great adventure guys!!
    The pictures are amazing!
    Safe travels!!
    Nat

  5. Nice and unexpectedly long hike! Didn’t you guys then spend the evening thinking “what if we went a tiny bit further”? 🙂 I admire that you were able to walk for hours in those flip flops!
    I want to go there now, as I love geckos :))

    • Chris says:

      Had we not still been in Xmas recovery mode, it’s possible we may have… That said, being on a dry rocky lava bed wasn’t the most comfortable place to continue hiking 😉

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