After the shenanigans of last night we decided to give ourselves a well deserved lie in, well until 9a.m anyway. We walked just down the street to a little wooden hut for a traditional Nicaraguan breakfast of rice and beans, plantains, fresh mango juice and coffee. Today we were hiking our third volcano of the trip – Maderas. Ometepe has quite a few different hiking options, a few of which are pretty arduous and take up to 8 hours. We weren’t really feeling an all day hike and so opted for the moderate San Ramon Caderas trail, up the side of Maderas to a gorgeous waterfall.
The trail started out at a local house/hotel and so we left the car there and got kitted up in our hiking gear. The first section was pretty easy going and was through local farmlands of crops which were really pretty. Nicaragua is a stunningly beautiful country and the rural feel of Ometepe really adds to the islands charm. The first part of the hike although not particularly steep was hard going due to the heat and humidity and so it was a welcome surprise when we turned up onto the trail and found it to also be the start of the cloud forest – shade! Almost as soon as we entered the forest we heard the loud grunting of the overhead howler monkeys. This was one of the animals I was most looking forward to spotting on the trip and the excitement grew as we searched for them in the treetop canopy. We finally pinpointed a male who was hidden behind some leaves, and then a few other males started to come out and join him. Anry explained this was really unusual as the monkeys normally live and travel around in family groups. However, after a little patience the females arrived and we watched them hanging out eating and grooming for a while before starting off again on the trail.
Not long after we had entered the cloudforest the trail started to narrow off and the wide, mainly flat path quickly became a rocky wilderness. The elevation was much steeper here and so with my terrible balance I had a hard time not falling over while trying to jump from rock to rock. The green forest setting made up for the difficulty and in just under 2 hours we made it to the huge waterfall and cold pool for swimming. The cool water was such a relief after the hot and humid hike so Carolyn and I stripped off and jumped straight in. Swimming under a waterfall – done!
The hike down was way easier and only took us about an hour. We kept getting asked by people hiking up how long they had to go and took pleasure in the joke of telling them they still had hours of hiking ahead! When we made it down we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant where we had left the car and sampled the local lemonade – Fresca. Anry ordered the local soup which was really tasty and Carolyn and I had chicken fillets which were really tasty. The portions are always so large over here and so as usual we were struggling to finish them. We also tried out the local specialty snack – plantain crisps with local cheese. They are delicious and one of the reasons why we ate very little of our main meal.
It had been a great few days having Anry with us – we had really started to rely on him for driving directions and speaking Spanish for us. But, alas, he has a job in Leon and after the hike we drove him to the ferry point so that he could make it back to Leon for a tour the next day. The drive back to our hotel was much less fun without his jokes and hilarity. After a long day hiking we decided to check out another place close to the hotel for dinner and opted for another beachside wooden hut restaurant. We had really good fish tacos and managed to play with the super cute puppy they had before bed. Another early start awaited…