“Are you sure you are ok?” I can hear through my oversized helmet. Sort of, I think. We have just left from the Finca Magdalena on a dirt motorbike to explore the still mostly undeveloped east side of the Ometepe island, and my passenger seems to be questioning my driving skills!
She has a point, as it has been a while since my last trail bike adventure. The steep down dirt road leading to the main one is a bit sporty, and the combination of sand and pebbles makes it a good exercise to get back into it quickly!
The east part of the Ometepe island is circled by a dirt road, with only a few paved sections. It follows the beautiful coastline of Lake Nicaragua bordered by a lush vegetation in which some howler monkeys hide. Going up and down sometimes crossing rivers or peaceful villages where locals are waving and smiling at us, and cows and dogs crossing the road unexpectedly. On the other side of the road, the volcano Maderas is ever present. If riding in itself in this beautiful landscape, teaching the second half of Best Regards From Far how to drive the bike, and noticing her fast progress are thoroughly enjoyable experiences (even though it means I end up being the scared passenger…), we do have a few places to get to!
The first one is the San Ramon waterfall in the south. There, a tricky 2.5-kilometer dirt road goes up to the foot of a trail leading to the cascade. A dirt bike is a must to conquer the demanding path, switching between first and second gears only, because of the steep and rocky terrain. With the steaming heat, I’m happy to skip walking that part while I am thoroughly enjoying motorbiking it… until I crash only 20 meters from the parking lot! Indeed, as the trail keeps going up, it gets too steep and too narrow and the rest of the way is on foot only. The hiking trail through the shady jungle is more demanding than I thought, but eventually, I hear the water… About 35-meter high, the beautiful waterfall has created a small bathing hole that is very welcomed to take a refreshing break.
The second objective is to explore the beaches of Playa Santa Cruz on the north shore of the isthmus and Punta Jesus Maria closer to Moyogalpa. They are fantastic spots to cool down too, while enjoying stunning vistas on the perfect cone of the Concepcion volcano. The fresh water of the lake is actually rather warm, and I can’t help but think about the bull sharks evolving in that same body of water while swimming. Seawater animals, they got trapped into the lake when it formed after a massive eruption and adapted to their new environment as the water lost its salinity.
Riding back to the finca, the sunset light taints cattle, flowers and fields in its warm colour, locals bathe in the lake or the fresh water holes over which the majestic Concepcion volcano presides, the warm wind blows on my naked arms as I feel the heat of the sun-rays on my skin: what a fantastic impression of freedom!
Motorbiking Ometepe is definitely the ideal mode of transportation to explore quiet villages, stunning waterfalls, and lost beaches while having a ton of fun on a dirt bike, and enjoying its authenticity to the maximum.
Marcella & Claire
- We recommend you to stay on the east side of the Ometepe island that is the most authentic. The Finca Magdalena is a great option, and they can easily arrange a motorbike rental.
- Make sure you plan a few days on Ometepe, as hiking the Maderas volcano is also a great experience.