Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Hippie Wonderland on Isla Ometepe

Isla Ometepe is Central America frozen in time. What you thought you were going to find instead of bustling cities, chicken buses and tourist traps. This is the real thing. An island formed by two volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, in lago Nicaragua. Made possible to get to by boats from both Granada and Rivas.
I was given a piece of paper that I held onto by a fellow traveler that showed a map of the island and gave directions to Finca Zopilote. After several buses that endlessly circle the island I got dropped off on the side of the road with two Austrian girls. We hiked through the bushes on an unmarked path. The Italian hippies that created this place apparently wanted their guests to earn their stay by finding the place. You eventually make it up hill past the compost toilets, Japanese shower, and hammock hut to the communal kitchen. More uphill takes you to reception with bananas and plantains for the taking at the door. The idea for Zopilote was, “to make a hostel on a productive and beautiful farm, working with respect for the environment and nature (not against it)”. Here you can stay in a private cabin, dorm, your own tent or sleep in a hammock. You can spend your days volunteering for a discount on your accommodation, making granola, nutela and other items they sell in reception. You can also work in the gardens or help with construction. Off the finca the adventurous can hike the volcano, rent some bikes or check out the nearby beaches and water holes. What most people end up doing however is making macramé jewelry and smoking grass. A very relaxing place with a mellow vibe.

It might just be a bit too much dread locks and granola for some though. Not too worry, up the road a bit is a whole other universe Little Morgan’s. The boys club. It’s like an Irish pub was transplanted on this volcanic island. It has a pool table, Bocce ball, darts, internet access and a bar where the pints are always flowing.

Whether you are pounding the pints back at Morgan’s or enjoying the homemade organic eco-friendly liqueurs at Zopilote both other an ideal place for exploring this enchanted island.

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