Take me to Isla de Ometepe
Las Penitas to Isla de Ometepe
On Saturday afternoon I decided to pack my bags and take the 10AM chicken bus from Las Penitas to Leon. Little did I know that this would be the first of many modes of transportation I would take today in order to make my way over to Ometepe.
Within a half hour I arrived at the smaller bus station in Leon. The problem was that I needed to get to the main bus station in Leon and I couldn’t seem to find a bus going from the small station to the main station. After about 5 minutes of walking in circles I spotted a city bus, hopped on it and made my way to the Central station. As I walked off of the bus I paid the attendant a cool C$3 Cordoba for the short ride.
I opened my ears and followed the trail of drivers yelling out Managua, Managua, Managua! I was quickly squished into a mini bus next to an older woman with what seemed to be her grandson. For the next hour and a half or so I gazed out the windows and into a daze of sorts. I was also infatuated with the extreme window tinting of some of the vehicles I’ve been a passenger in so far in Nicaragua, one being the mini bus that I was on at the time.
While I usually whip out my iPod for these types of bus trips, I decided not to use or take out my iPod on any bus through out my trip to Nicaragua. Before I left for Nicaragua I said that I would do my best to be as aware of my surroundings as possible and so I stuck to those words my entire trip. It turns out that I stayed safe had nothing stolen from me and never once felt threatened during the three weeks I spent in the country. Coincidence? Maybe! But, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
After being dropped off in Managua I made my way over the highway bridge and directly towards the small bus that was heading to Granada. As I step on the bus I mention to the driver that I don’t want to go all the way to Granada, I want to get off at Rotunda Masaya (Masaya Rotary). Thanks to the young woman I met on the bus from Leon to Managua, she saved me over an hour of extra travel time with this tip. If you’re wanting to get to Rivas from Managua be sure to follow this advice and take the bus to Granada but get off at Rotunda Masaya!
Twenty minutes passed before I saw the next bus headed towards Rivas. Once I hopped on I knew this was going to be one long uncomfortable ride. The bus was a greyhound style bus, the seats looked really comfy but there was no way I was going to get a seat on this thing. When I say it was loaded to twice it’s capacity, I’m not joking. By the time we got half way to Rivas the bus had reached at least three times it’s capacity. Everyone that was seated had it good. Real good! The unlucky people in the aisles were jam packed to the point where you would be holding on to the storage compartments above you and your body wouldn’t be able to move a half of an inch without rubbing up against the person beside you. What happens when someone needs to get off? Well, everyone leans into the seats as people squeeze by. I would estimate that there were a minimum of 60 people standing in the aisle alone. Unbelievable!
I stood for the entire ride from Masaya to Rivas (approx 2hrs). Upon arriving in Rivas I hopped in a taxi for C$40 and made it down to the docks of San Jorge just in time to catch the last ferry to Moyogalpa. I was one of three foreigners on board the ferry to Ometepe, one of which was a woman I met who was from Oklahoma. Once we got to Moyogalpa it was too late to head to the other side of the island so we settled into a hostel called Hostel Ibesa.
While it was a place to lay our heads for the night, the conditions were not for the weak hearted. I personally had no issues with staying here for the night but I’m just being honest and upfront that some of you out there wouldn’t accept the presentation of the rooms at Hostel Ibesa. Here’s an idea of what my $5/night dorm room looked like…
Due to the size of the room I wasn’t able to take a photo of the entire thing. There is actually a single twin bed directly to my right which is not pictured. Other than that there is just simply two twin bunk beds in a concrete box of a room where the tops of the walls never actually meet the ceilings. See that green wooden box on the wall? That’s actually the window, you open that green door and you’re met by a chain link fence covered window. If this doesn’t remind you of prison, I don’t know what does…
Time to Eat!
At this point I hadn’t eaten since I had two bananas in Las Penitas at 9AM. It’s now approaching 6PM. As usual, when you starve yourself all day, you go out of your way to choose the most unhealthy food you can find in the area. This night, I chose Hawaiian Pizza from a place called… unfortunately, I have no clue what it was called since I was so ravenous that I forgot to write down the name of it. That’s what I call HUNGRY!
After a very long day of traveling through Nicaragua, it was time to get some sleep. Tomorrow I’m headed off to the smaller island of Ometepe to a place called Hacienda Merida. Stay tuned!
Below you’ll find the prices and modes of transportation from Las Penitas to Moyogalpa, Ometepe
Note: Prices are shown in Nicaraguan Cordoba
- Chicken Bus from Las Penitas to Leon – C$10
- City Bus from Smaller Bus Station in Leon to Leon’s Main Bus Station – C$3
- Mini bus from Leon to Managua – C$40
- Mini Bus from Managua to Granada C$20
- (Note: Instead of going all the way to Granada, tell the attendant you want to get off at Rotunda Masaya. Stand in front of the gas station and wait for the next bus headed towards Rivas.)
- Greyhound style bus from Rotunda Masaya to Rivas – C$40
- Taxi from Rivas station to San Jorge – C$40
- Ferry from San Jorge to Moyogalpa, Ometepe – C$40