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MizBrown

A photographer's guide to Nicaragua

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Posted (edited)

I thought it would be better to take this out of the other discussion and make it a topic of its own since one person expressed interest in Nicaragua as a destination for wildlife photography and others may be interested.  I'm skipping most of the usual tourist cities as I get the impression they're quite well covered by earlier Alamy photographers. 

 

Nicaragua has some developed reserves, both private and public.  For the local monkeys, the easiest place to get close is on Ometepe Island.  Selva Negra in the north central mountains is an ecologically managed coffee farm and resort with howler monkeys and some of the other small mammals.  El Jaguar, around 50 miles from Selva Negra, has one of the best bird guides in Nicaragua.  Birds that show up there include the Highland Guan.  I've been to these places and recommend them.  These aren't the only places for birds and other wildlife, but the owners or managers of these places will know what else there is to see in other regions.

 

Ometepe is around 30 miles long and five to ten mile wide, and the two volcanos that form the island are on either side of the divide between the dry tropical forests that dominate the northern Pacific coast and the wetter forests to the south.  Ometepe has petroglyphs, shore birds, monkeys who are accessible (not sure about Geoffrey's spider monkeys, but there's an island where they've been introduced either near Granada or Ometepe).  The other monkeys in Nicaragua are Red Mantled Howlers and Capuchins.  Where they've been hunted or captured for the pet industry, they're hard to see.  Ometepe is where they're easy to see.  Getting to Ometepe from Sandino Airport near Managua requires either renting a car (best is to rent a car with a driver whose meals and lodging you'll provide).  If you want to take public transportation with camera gear, be cautious.  You'll take a cab from the airport or your Managua hotel to Mercado Huembres bus station and take a bus either to Rivas or to San Jorge.  Rivas buses run more regularly but require taking a collective taxi (multi-passenger) to San Jorge to catch the ferry or launch (smaller boat).  If you're going by private car, the ferries are the only option and a reservation is helpful.  The ferries and launches land in Moyogalpa, which has lots of options for tour guides and hotels.  If you're bringing over a car and driver, there's a motel with parking just uphill from the dock.  If not, there a few places to stay further up toward the cathedral.  Guides there have a number of options for traveling.  There's also a bus schedule between Moyogalpa and Altagracia, which also has hostels and hotels.

 

 If you're focusing on the south, Laguna Apoyo has Biological Research Station "Estación Biológica" in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve run by Dr. Jeffry McCrary, who specializes in fish and birds.  It's close to Granada, and has howler and capuchin monkeys, fish, and a range of birds and butterflies including the Blue Morphio.  Good information on wildlife all over Nicaragua.   Ometepe and this area would be good for a week long trip to Nicaragua, with some additional travel to the tourist destinations. 

 

The north central  mountains would  be another week's trip or part of a longer trip. 

 

Selva Negra is surrounded by national preserves (land privately owned but managed by environmental law) and rents horses.  It's the opposite direction of Ometepe, and isn't particularly inexpensive to stay at, but people often stay in Matagalpa (urban parrots) and go to Selva Negra for the day.  Quetzals nest here in April and May.  Selva Negra has howler monkeys but not the other species, and has some other small mammals.  Attractive place, multi-lingual hosts, but the better place for birding is El Jaguar, around 50 miles away.  If you're going up to the north with birding gear in a private four wheel drive car or truck, going to both Selva Negra and El Jaguar is fairly easy.

 

El Jaguar has very good birding and I also saw agoutis there.    The estate has cabins with gas-heated hot water and cooking facilities and a dorm.  The prices include all meals.  You can either drive up (four wheel drive recommended) or make arrangements to be picked up at the Jinotega bus station at the south end of town (Cotran Sur).  Great for birders with birding walks included in the price.  The owner can take you further out at a price.  Not cheap, but very spacious cabins and good food.  Georges Duriaux and his wife Liliana Chavarria-Duriaux are good hosts.  Liliana Chavarria-Duriaux is one of the co-authors of a new book on Nicaraguan birds.  Not cheap, but very good for birders unless the finca is hosting a elementary school class during the day (which happens).


Some species show up on the pine savanna that don't show up on the Pacific coast: the giant anteaters and the Red Brocket deer.  Harpy eagles are rare but have been photographed on the Caribbean coast in recent years.  I have no experience with that part of Nicaragua, but Dr. McCrary would be a good source of information.  I gave him my Panasonic GF1 with a range of lenses up to a 100-300mm zoom, and he's currently a better photographer than he was, and would be aware of the problems and issues of doing wildlife photography.  

 

The US State Department hasn't changed the danger rating for Nicaragua (Level 3, Reconsider Travel), but the EU, Canada, and Great Britain have.  Be cautious.  Don't discuss politics.  Stay away from people chanting slogans, check in Maxi Palis and make plans to head to an airport if they have pallets of rice and beans stocked and customers busy buying those.  Petty theft is very common and almost never reported.  Be aware of your surroundings, don't leave gear in hotel lobbies or on restaurant tables while going to toilets or back to your room for something.  I met another photographer in Leon who had hired two Nicaraguan helpers, probably local photographers.  Most of the thefts here are on the beach, from professional's cars while they're shooting weddings, and from studios, with some street mugging.  There's a professional Nicaraguan group on FB called Flash Addicts II.  Many of them know at least some English.  


I think photographing the usual tourist attractions in Leon or Granada are a waste of time for most of us.  Alamy has thousands of photographs of those.  The Butterfly Sanctuary near Leon might be worth it since Alamy doesn't appear to have any coverage of that.

 

Ometepe is probably the best place to go for the most concentrated range of things to photograph.  The north central mountains near Ocotal has the widest range of orchids.  The person for that part of Nicaragua and for orchids is Dr. Pat Werner, who can be Googled to find his page, Nicaraguan Pathways.   If the time in Nicaragua is only a week, Ometepe and Laguna Apoyo, plus some of the small islands near Granada would be what I'd recommend.  If you're here for two weeks, seeing the north as well as the south would give a wider range of possiblities.  More than two weeks or a more adventurous spirit, find someone who knows the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, which is more of an expedition into a far wilder part of the country.   I don't know the Corn Islands, but a poster to a Nicaraguan interest group recommended Shaun Humphreys on Little Corn Island for diving and underwater reef photography. 

 

Price for hotels range from $12 a night to $100s, but decent rooms in hotels with secure parking are generally around $24 to $40 a night.  Selva Negra and El Jaguar are more than this in the cabins.   Four wheel drive rentals recommended for travel in the mountains and out on the Caribbean coast. 

RYY0H3.jpg
 
This leucistic White-Throated Magpie Jay was famous among bird people who've been to Ometepe.  He frequented restaurants on Playa Santo Domingo begging for food.  His more normally colored con-specifics are also common there. 
Edited by MizBrown
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Posted (edited)

That's an impressive guide, Rebecca. Get there now and avoid the rush! I've been to Nicaragua three times, once under my own steam (took the bus to Managua from San Jose, Costa Rica) back in 1998 and then two later visits as a guest of the Nicaraguan tourism board (yes, they do have one). It's a fascinating country to travel in for a number of reasons, not just for the wildlife. I've never had any safety issues there. However, as in all Central American countries it pays to be careful and not flaunt your possessions or behave like William Walker.

 

Regarding Ometepe Island, Charco Verde lagoon struck me as an easily accessible spot for possible wildlife photography. I didn't spend long at the reserve, but I enjoyed the beauty of the area. The only place I've been on the Caribbean side is the Corn Islands, where the people speak English. The islands have their charms, but the only wildlife I saw there was on the beaches and in the bars.

 

Laguna Charco Verde, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

 

charco-verde-mangrove-lagoon-in-the-the-

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell

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2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

That's an impressive guide, Rebecca. Get there now and avoid the rush! I've been to Nicaragua three times, once under my own steam (took the bus to Managua from San Jose, Costa Rica) back in 1998 and then two later visits as a guest of the Nicaraguan tourism board (yes, they do have one). It's a fascinating country to travel in for a number of reasons, not just for the wildlife. I've never had any safety issues there. However, as in all Central American countries it pays to be careful and not flaunt your possessions or behave like William Walker.

 

Regarding Ometepe Island, Charco Verde lagoon struck me as an easily accessible spot for possible wildlife photography. I didn't spend long at the reserve, but I enjoyed the beauty of the area. The only place I've been on the Caribbean side is the Corn Islands, where the people speak English. The islands have their charms, but the only wildlife I saw there was on the beaches and in the bars.

 

Laguna Charco Verde, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

 

charco-verde-mangrove-lagoon-in-the-the-

 

 

 

Saw that while I was there.  Three of us did a tour of a number of things for $20 a person.  Saw either an anhinga or a Tropical Cormorant, but didn't get a good enough photo with my 45-200mm lens on the GF1 to be able to ID the bird.  Playa Santo Domingo had Northern Caracaras, which I've also seen over Jinotega, plus the usual hustling magpie-jays.   Easy to get frame filling shots of  magpie-jays.  At one point, Ometepe was where Nicaraguans went and where Nicaraguans suggested that foreigners go.  International tourists started going a lot in the last four years, but the troubles rather crushed that.

 

Most of the theft is pickpocketing (a misdemeanor here), grab and run, and breaking into out buildings.  I had an old woman try to set me up for a snatch and hand off.   She'd seen me in the line for the ATM, went off and came back and tried to push by me when I was leaving the cubical.  I'd put my money away before exiting the cubical just like the bank's sign suggested.  If I'd had money or my wallet in hand, it would have been gone.  I stepped on her toes, but not hard because she was an old lady.  If she'd gotten the wallet, she'd have handed off to an accomplice and then wailed about crazy gringas when we'd stopped her.   I generally take my dog with me to ATMs.

 

A friend in Granada said driving there was like driving in a video game.   If you do have an accident that results in serious injury, the driver goes to jail until the insurance companies sort things out.  So hiring a driver may make sense, especially if the driver knows his country well.

 

Nicaragua has INTUR which handles tourism and retiree processing for residency (we're considered tourists who just stay, I think).  Most of the promotion is for San Juan del Sur and Granada.  US-AID has done some promotional brochures, mostly in Spanish, for the north central mountains, and has a bilingual poster of various forms of tourism here.  The camping photograph is only labeled in English as Nicaraguans so far aren't interested in sleeping in tents in the mountains unless there's a cause to be fought for.

 

Camera gear here is becoming more common than it was, but repairs under warranty or by certified repair centers are in El Salvador for Canon, don't know where for Nikon (seems like people ship that gear to either the US or Canada for repairs) or Sony.  Spare entry level bodies for Nikon and Canon are available at most Radio Shacks, with some Radio Shacks carrying the Sony a6000 series cameras.   So if you need an emergency body, that's do-able.  There's a pro studio that rents space and lighting gear for $15 US an hour.  Don Gaitan is one of the major photographers here, who had lived in the US and who was the stills photographer for "Miami Vice."   He's on Facebook and is fluent in English.   I think at least one guy does repairs, but have no idea how good he is.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

An area that I wanted to visit but never got to is the Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragua. They might be a worthwhile destination for wildlife photographers. However, these isolated islands are more challenging to get to than places like Ometepe and the central highlands.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thank you for a very detailed write up.  Should I decide to do a trip there will definitely refer back to this post.  Very helpful/useful. 

Helen

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

An area that I wanted to visit but never got to is the Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragua. They might be a worthwhile destination for wildlife photographers. However, these isolated islands are more challenging to get to than places like Ometepe and the central highlands.

 

Not that difficult to get to.  Fly from Managua to San Carlos on La Costeña.  Boats to the Solentiname Islands leave from San Carlos where the Rio San Juan leaves Lago Colcibolca (Lake Nicaragua).   This could be combined with a trip to Indio-Maiz, which is one of the major preserves on the Atlantic Coast (fire there triggered protests that the government wasn't acting fast enough).  Dr. McCrary would probably have some tips traveling on the Rio San Juan, also where one might find Central American Red Brocket Deer (Least Concern), and if jaguar (Near Threatened) had been sighted recently anywhere.   The other rarer mammals are Baird's Tapir (endangered) and the Giant Anteater (not seen in Costa Rica for over 50 years according to one source, near threatened in Panama and Nicaragua).  Harpy Eagle shows up occasionally, but there are other eagle species that show up more commonly. 

 

Probably no ATMs on Solentiname, but BanPro and perhaps other banks have ATMs in San Carlos.  The flights to San Carlos are in 12 seat Cessnas, which would be interesting in their own right as you'd see a lot of countryside from a relatively low altitude.  Luggage issues might make taking the land route to San Carlos better for photographers.   The planes stop at Ometepe before heading to San Carlos. 

 

 

Edited by MizBrown
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

Not that difficult to get to.  Fly from Managua to San Carlos on La Costeña.  Boats to the Solentiname Islands leave from San Carlos where the Rio San Juan leaves Lago Colcibolca (Lake Nicaragua).   This could be combined with a trip to Indio-Maiz, which is one of the major preserves on the Atlantic Coast (fire there triggered protests that the government wasn't acting fast enough).  Dr. McCrary would probably have some tips traveling on the Rio San Juan, also where one might find Central American Red Brocket Deer (Least Concern), and if jaguar (Near Threatened) had been sighted recently anywhere.   The other rarer mammals are Baird's Tapir (endangered) and the Giant Anteater (not seen in Costa Rica for over 50 years according to one source, near threatened in Panama and Nicaragua).  Harpy Eagle shows up occasionally, but there are other eagle species that show up more commonly. 

 

Probably no ATMs on Solentiname, but BanPro and perhaps other banks have ATMs in San Carlos.  The flights to San Carlos are in 12 seat Cessnas, which would be interesting in their own right as you'd see a lot of countryside from a relatively low altitude.  Luggage issues might make taking the land route to San Carlos better for photographers.   The planes stop at Ometepe before heading to San Carlos. 

 

 

 

Thanks for the info. I've probably missed the boat to Solentiname. But if I ever get back to Nicaragua, it's the trip I'd most like to do.

 

P.S. I've flown a couple of times on La Costeña. It seems like a pretty good airline.

Edited by John Mitchell

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20 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Thanks for the info. I've probably missed the boat to Solentiname. But if I ever get back to Nicaragua, it's the trip I'd most like to do.

 

P.S. I've flown a couple of times on La Costeña. It seems like a pretty good airline.

 

There's one hotel with electricity and running water on the main island, but not particularly cheap.  Trip Advisor reviews for this year mentioned being the only people there at the times of the reviewers' visits.  Other places to stay: no lux, no agua caliente.  Anyone going to the lowlands needs to bring plenty of mosquito repellent and consider sleeping under mosquito nets at night.  That included Ometepe.   Two banks have ATMs in San Carlos.  The boat to the Solentinames runs only a couple of days a week from San Carlos.

 

I'm somewhat tempted to go myself, but I need payouts from the recent licenses before I can consider it.

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19 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

There's one hotel with electricity and running water on the main island, but not particularly cheap.  Trip Advisor reviews for this year mentioned being the only people there at the times of the reviewers' visits.  Other places to stay: no lux, no agua caliente.  Anyone going to the lowlands needs to bring plenty of mosquito repellent and consider sleeping under mosquito nets at night.  That included Ometepe.   Two banks have ATMs in San Carlos.  The boat to the Solentinames runs only a couple of days a week from San Carlos.

 

I'm somewhat tempted to go myself, but I need payouts from the recent licenses before I can consider it.

 

According to this article, you can now get to San Carlos by bus from Managua fairly easily. This would make the trip considerably cheaper. However, eight hours is quite a long haul and maybe an uncomfortable one as well, depending on the type of buses plying the route.

 

A tour might be a better idea. There were some tour companies in Managua offering Solentiname trips when I was considering going to the islands about ten years ago.

Edited by John Mitchell

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20 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

There's one hotel with electricity and running water on the main island, but not particularly cheap.  Trip Advisor reviews for this year mentioned being the only people there at the times of the reviewers' visits.  Other places to stay: no lux, no agua caliente.  Anyone going to the lowlands needs to bring plenty of mosquito repellent and consider sleeping under mosquito nets at night.  That included Ometepe.   Two banks have ATMs in San Carlos.  The boat to the Solentinames runs only a couple of days a week from San Carlos.

 

I'm somewhat tempted to go myself, but I need payouts from the recent licenses before I can consider it.

 

I have been meaning to read this for days - but you have given so much excellent information its taken me a while to find the time to digest it all 😂

 

Thanks for all that. Certainly a lot I can run by the other half - it wouldn't be just me travelling 😏

 

Will be doing a lot of comparison between Nicaragua and Panama. 

 

Again, brilliant info - thanks a ton! 

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15 minutes ago, chris_rabe said:

 

I have been meaning to read this for days - but you have given so much excellent information its taken me a while to find the time to digest it all 😂

 

Thanks for all that. Certainly a lot I can run by the other half - it wouldn't be just me travelling 😏

 

Will be doing a lot of comparison between Nicaragua and Panama. 

 

Again, brilliant info - thanks a ton! 

 

Panama is an easier country to travel in. However, Nicaragua is much more interesting culturally IMO. The Nicaraguan landscape is really dramatic as well.

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

According to this article, you can now get to San Carlos by bus from Managua fairly easily. This would make the trip considerably cheaper. However, eight hours is quite a long haul and maybe an uncomfortable one as well, depending on the type of buses plying the route.

 

A tour might be a better idea. There were some tour companies in Managua offering Solentiname trips when I was considering going to the islands about ten years ago.

 

I have a friend who always rides the buses.  Many of the buses on intra-Nicaraguan routes are converted school buses which are not optimally comfortable.  The international buses tend to be nicer.   I know of two regular passenger buses that go between where I live and Managua.   If I'm going to the capital, I try to get one of those.  Both are from the US originally, one may have been an Airforce One press bus (says Airforce One on it).

 

In the past, a ferry left from Granada to Altagracia on Ometepe, and then down to San Carlos.  If that ever runs again, that would be an amazing way to travel. 

 

The tours may not be happening now until the US changes the security level (Canada, the UK, and the EU have changed it).  

 

San Carlos has been spruced up in recent years.  It makes a nice central base for the Solentinames and El Castillo, and the Rio San Juan down to Indio-Maiz.   Great fishing on the Rio San Juan, too. 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, chris_rabe said:

 

I have been meaning to read this for days - but you have given so much excellent information its taken me a while to find the time to digest it all 😂

 

Thanks for all that. Certainly a lot I can run by the other half - it wouldn't be just me travelling 😏

 

Will be doing a lot of comparison between Nicaragua and Panama. 

 

Again, brilliant info - thanks a ton! 

 

Panama is more developed, but I'd check to see if your prices would be equal to Costa Rica's. 

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3 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

I have a friend who always rides the buses.  Many of the buses on intra-Nicaraguan routes are converted school buses which are not optimally comfortable.  The international buses tend to be nicer.   I know of two regular passenger buses that go between where I live and Managua.   If I'm going to the capital, I try to get one of those.  Both are from the US originally, one may have been an Airforce One press bus (says Airforce One on it).

 

In the past, a ferry left from Granada to Altagracia on Ometepe, and then down to San Carlos.  If that ever runs again, that would be an amazing way to travel. 

 

The tours may not be happening now until the US changes the security level (Canada, the UK, and the EU have changed it).  

 

San Carlos has been spruced up in recent years.  It makes a nice central base for the Solentinames and El Castillo, and the Rio San Juan down to Indio-Maiz.   Great fishing on the Rio San Juan, too. 

 

 

 

 

It looks as if flights to Ometepe and San Carlos have been suspended as well.

 

Probably not the best time to go exploring.

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On 01/07/2019 at 23:27, John Mitchell said:

 

It looks as if flights to Ometepe and San Carlos have been suspended as well.

 

Probably not the best time to go exploring.

 

The biggest danger here is dengue, not people.  The Blue and White demonstrators here burned a health department truck and things were a bit disorganized in mosquito control until the last couple of weeks (I heard foggers out on my street right now and they've been coming through around twice a week lately).   Honduras also has dengue, some cases fatal.

 

Nicaraguans are going to take the ferry or a  launch to Ometepe.  Flying was a tourist thing, so no tourists, no flying.  But Canada, the UK, and the EU have gone back to their earlier security recommendations, which are reasonable.  San Carlos also was more a foreign tourist destination, hub for a lot of cool stuff in the area.   Safety issues around San Carlos are probably minimal except for mosquitos.  If anything did get crunchy again, airlines will reschedule return flights out of Costa Rica (Liberia or San Jose) which is across the river with one bridge over near San Carlos (crossing at El Chile, CR).

 

I think travel here is better in January or February.  December tends to be all Christmas festivities and such.  November and March can also be good.  April is hot everywhere, but dry on the Caribbean coast.  Treat clothes with permethrin and bring a new bottle of 100% DEET which can be diluted with rum for use.  Two foreigners I know from the US have been through chikungunya with lasting after affects, one with joint pain he didn't have before, the other with eye complications. 

 

Watch what the local women do even if you're a guy.   If they're not out after sunset, probably a good idea not to be either.  Take taxis at night if you're not in a group (my fish tank cleaner was here until after dark and I paid for her cab fare to get home).

 

 

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9 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

The biggest danger here is dengue, not people.  The Blue and White demonstrators here burned a health department truck and things were a bit disorganized in mosquito control until the last couple of weeks (I heard foggers out on my street right now and they've been coming through around twice a week lately).   Honduras also has dengue, some cases fatal.

 

Nicaraguans are going to take the ferry or a  launch to Ometepe.  Flying was a tourist thing, so no tourists, no flying.  But Canada, the UK, and the EU have gone back to their earlier security recommendations, which are reasonable.  San Carlos also was more a foreign tourist destination, hub for a lot of cool stuff in the area.   Safety issues around San Carlos are probably minimal except for mosquitos.  If anything did get crunchy again, airlines will reschedule return flights out of Costa Rica (Liberia or San Jose) which is across the river with one bridge over near San Carlos (crossing at El Chile, CR).

 

I think travel here is better in January or February.  December tends to be all Christmas festivities and such.  November and March can also be good.  April is hot everywhere, but dry on the Caribbean coast.  Treat clothes with permethrin and bring a new bottle of 100% DEET which can be diluted with rum for use.  Two foreigners I know from the US have been through chikungunya with lasting after affects, one with joint pain he didn't have before, the other with eye complications. 

 

Watch what the local women do even if you're a guy.   If they're not out after sunset, probably a good idea not to be either.  Take taxis at night if you're not in a group (my fish tank cleaner was here until after dark and I paid for her cab fare to get home).

 

 

 

I took the ferry when I visited Ometepe. The only places I've flown to within Nicaragua are Bluefields and Big Corn Island.  Contracting dengue fever has always been a worry during my travels in Mexico and CA. So far so good.

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9 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I took the ferry when I visited Ometepe. The only places I've flown to within Nicaragua are Bluefields and Big Corn Island.  Contracting dengue fever has always been a worry during my travels in Mexico and CA. So far so good.

 

Speaking of the Ometepe ferry. It was a very pleasant trip.

 

ometepe-island-passenger-and-car-ferry-o

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Speaking of the Ometepe ferry. It was a very pleasant trip.

 

ometepe-island-passenger-and-car-ferry-o

 

My trio took a launch which was a bit harder to get off of (narrow gangplank), but which was fine otherwise.   Ometepe is a jewel, but one place there has a GoFundMe to help them take care of their 17 or so horses since tourism crashed. 

 

As for all the mosquito vectored diseases, travel down here in the wet season is not a time to stay organic.  I live down here and don't want to use repellent all the time, but two friends now appear to have dengue (one south of me and one north of me, so, yeah), so I'll probably hit up MaxiPali for something with DEET in it tomorrow.  

 

This from Moyogalpa, taken with the Panasonic GF1 and a 45-200mm lens.  Volcan Concepcion behind Moyogalpa.  Cloud cap, not volcanic action, at the top. 

 

Behind Moyogalpa, the main landing port on Ometepe  Island  is Volcan Concepcion, a still active volcano whose last eruption was in 2015. - Stock Image

 

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18 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

My trio took a launch which was a bit harder to get off of (narrow gangplank), but which was fine otherwise.   Ometepe is a jewel, but one place there has a GoFundMe to help them take care of their 17 or so horses since tourism crashed. 

 

As for all the mosquito vectored diseases, travel down here in the wet season is not a time to stay organic.  I live down here and don't want to use repellent all the time, but two friends now appear to have dengue (one south of me and one north of me, so, yeah), so I'll probably hit up MaxiPali for something with DEET in it tomorrow.  

 

This from Moyogalpa, taken with the Panasonic GF1 and a 45-200mm lens.  Volcan Concepcion behind Moyogalpa.  Cloud cap, not volcanic action, at the top. 

 

Behind Moyogalpa, the main landing port on Ometepe  Island  is Volcan Concepcion, a still active volcano whose last eruption was in 2015. - Stock Image

 

 

Are they still riding bulls to work on Ometepe? I hope so.

 

farm-worker-riding-a-domesticated-brahma

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10 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Are they still riding bulls to work on Ometepe? I hope so.

 

farm-worker-riding-a-domesticated-brahma

 

Don't remember seeing that but we were only there for two nights in 2013 or so.   If you were on Ometepe ten years ago, I suspect you'll find that it's changed.  A German friend who'd been there maybe 15 years ago said that the changes meant that it was no longer such an adventure.  Lots more people trying to develop tourism, paved road and regular buses between Moyogalpa and Altagracia.   We did see howler monkeys along the road when we did the guided tour.

 

One of the things about the mess last year that was sad was that the country was making significant economic progress over the time I've been here (from the end of July 2010).  It wasn't like Venezuela where the economy was shattered by over-reliance on oil, crony political appointments to technical management jobs, and trim.  The funny thing was tourists who were disappointed that a branch bank here looked just like a branch bank in Annandale, Virginia or that Jinoteganos didn't have chickens in the street. 

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13 hours ago, MizBrown said:

 

Don't remember seeing that but we were only there for two nights in 2013 or so.   If you were on Ometepe ten years ago, I suspect you'll find that it's changed.  A German friend who'd been there maybe 15 years ago said that the changes meant that it was no longer such an adventure.  Lots more people trying to develop tourism, paved road and regular buses between Moyogalpa and Altagracia.   We did see howler monkeys along the road when we did the guided tour.

 

One of the things about the mess last year that was sad was that the country was making significant economic progress over the time I've been here (from the end of July 2010).  It wasn't like Venezuela where the economy was shattered by over-reliance on oil, crony political appointments to technical management jobs, and trim.  The funny thing was tourists who were disappointed that a branch bank here looked just like a branch bank in Annandale, Virginia or that Jinoteganos didn't have chickens in the street. 

 

I'm sure Ometepe has changed a lot. When I visited, there were virtually no foreign tourists, but it was the rainy season. Ometepe is apparently one of the few places in the world where people ride domesticated bulls. The large Brahman bulls are intimidating-looking, but they seem to be placid, intelligent beasts. Chickens in the street? On my last visit to downtown Managua, I was sitting on a bench in the main square and a cow wandered by.

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I'm sure Ometepe has changed a lot. When I visited, there were virtually no foreign tourists, but it was the rainy season. Ometepe is apparently one of the few places in the world where people ride domesticated bulls. The large Brahman bulls are intimidating-looking, but they seem to be placid, intelligent beasts. Chickens in the street? On my last visit to downtown Managua, I was sitting on a bench in the main square and a cow wandered by.

 

If people are still riding bulls on Ometepe, I simply didn't see it but we spent all our time on the Concepcion side.  The other side is less built up.   None of the recent visitors to Ometepe have posted any pictures of that, but I can ask if anyone has seen it. 

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I asked in a Nicaraguan expat FB group about riding bulls on Ometepe.  Apparently they still do, and Los Ramos tourism homestays offer sight seeing bull rides.

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What an an extra ordinary place. Thank you for sharing.

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On 08/07/2019 at 15:48, Mr Standfast said:

What an an extra ordinary place. Thank you for sharing.

 

Thanks.  I don't feel like it's really dangerous at this point, but having some Spanish and find a good hotel manager who knows the local streets is very useful.

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