Imagine a lush green volcanic island teeming with such an abundance of natural beauty that as each day passes, you become more possessed by the temptation to scrap the rest of your travel plans and pitch a tent there for the remaining days of your life on planet earth and allow the mystic draw of the place to swallow your soul whole. An island with a sort of ‘Jurassic Park-like’ appeal that’s bursting with natural biodiversity, foliage the brightest shades of green one has ever seen, two large volcanoes towering over keeping watch from above, nutrient rich and fertile soil providing means for growing an abundance of native and organic food, and a melting pot of cultures where lost travelers come to find themselves.
This my friends, is Isla de Ometepe, situated in the middle of Nicaragua’s largest body of water and is such the conundrum that I now face. You needn’t find yourself lost out at sea to stumble upon this unique island paradise. In fact, it’s only a short 45 minute ferry ride across the lake. It’s a mystical place where the hippies run free alongside the wild chickens and foraging pigs. Where a single road loops around the outer rim of the connected two islands, and one that boasts an endless list of natural wonders. The two volcanoes take claim to either ends of the islands, stealing the attention from other gorgeous places of interest such as the black sand beaches, the cascading waterfall, the natural mineral pools for swimming and the most recent drawcard, the abundance of Permaculture Farms popping up.
Yes, this island is certainly a Permaculture paradise.
For those seeking respite from the daily drag of life, coming to an island like this will provide an opportunity to get in touch with nature whilst soaking up the glorious volcano and lake views, whilst eating some of the countries best organic and biodiverse food on offering. Are you sold yet?
Hopefully not. For I’d love to keep this place to myself. Alas, I’m far too late on that tamale train. The word is out and for what may appear like sleepy villages from the outside, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes where the volunteers amass to help out on the well established farms, practice yoga, or reconnect with Gaia.
I’ve been swinging through my days here on a hammock at the Permaculture Farm that operates also as an ever popular hostel, El Zopilote. They grow most of their own food here, host the islands best organic wood-fired pizza nights 3 times a week, sell artisan bread, honey and other home made preserves and allow you to get your hands dirty if you wish to volunteer around the gardens. Did I mention the free morning yoga practice? Yes friends, this is my life right now. Can you see why I’ve been tempted so??
A 30 minute walk up through the hills from El Zopilote at the base of Volcano Madera, there’s an intentional community known as Inan Itah. The Permaculture work they’ve done here is awesome and I was particularly impressed with their solar powered dehydrater, natural mineral pool and cycle powered washing machine. Dare I say, they have some of the best views on the island too. Whilst you won’t be able to stay here as a passing backpacker, as a 10 day minimum commitment is required, they open their ‘doors’ (there are actually no doors, FYI) for longer term travellers seeking to be actively involved in their community.
These are only a taste of what’s on the island but a taste is all one needs. It’s something that photos or words cannot capture. Ometepe, afterall, is a place where your imagination really does have the freedom to run wild in all its barefoot glory.
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