Tours ometepe nicaragua
Tours ometepe nicaragua
Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua as well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
The two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass. Ometepe has an area of 276 km². It is 31 km long and 5 to 10 km wide. The island has a population of 42,000, and an economy based on livestock, agriculture, and tourism. Plantains are the major crop.
Volcán Concepción (once named Ometepe volcano) is the northwest half of the island. Concepción is a symmetrical cone, and is an active volcano (Baker, 2006). Concepción volcano rose in the early Holocene Epoch and, through continual eruptions, now reaches an altitude of 1610 m making Ometepe the world’s highest lake island. Concepción is considered the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. Although it went through a long quiet period, on December 8, 1880 Concepción came back to life. This eruption was extensive, and the volcano remained active for a year. More eruptions followed in 1883, 1889, 1902, 1907, and 1924. In 2005, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale occurred as a result of increasing pressure within the volcano. Cracks appeared on roads throughout the island and an advice to leave the island was issued. This was the first minor eruption since 1999. The most recent eruption was in 2010 and though extremely violent few of the inhabitants heeded the order from the government in Managua to evacuate the island.
The southeast half of the island consists of Volcán Maderas, which has a crater lake and supports a diverse rainforest environment. Maderas also arose in the Holocene Epoch, and rises 1394 m above sea level. It is considered extinct or dormant. A large lagoon formed in its crater was discovered on April 15, 1930 by the farmer Casimiro Murillo. It is mainly covered with coffee and tobacco plantations while the remaining in rain forest. Maderas Volcano is a perfect destination for the ecotourist with a notable hike originating from Finca Magdalena. Much of this part of the island is now a nature reserve.
The volcanic ash has made the soil of this island extremely fertile, allowing continuous planting without fallowing. The volcanoes are visible from everywhere on the island, and life on Ometepe revolves closely around them. They also play an important part in the myths and legends of the island, which once served as an Indian burial ground.
Ometepe Island is generally included within the archaeological area of “Greater Nicoya,” which also encompasses the Rivas area on the lake shore and descends into Costa Rican Nicoya Peninsula. Due to deposits of volcanic ash over millennia, the soil is very fertile, allowing constant planting without fallowing. This rich environment has allowed the island to be continuously inhabited since the Dinarte phase (ca. 2000 – 500 B.C.). There is a classified “Ometepe period” (A.D. 1350–1550) Greater Nicoyan Period, which corresponds to Mesoamerican Postclassic period. This period is associated with the migration of the Nicarao (Nahua speakers) into the area of Greater
The Ometepe Petroglyph Project was a volunteer field survey of the Maderas half of Ometepe from 1995–1999. This project intensively surveyed 15 km of the Maderas half of the island over five field seasons. The project mapped 73 archaeological sites within this 15 km area, including almost 1700 petroglyph panels on 1400 boulders.
Of the 73 sites surveyed by the Ometepe Petroglyph Project, petroglyphs were recorded at all but one. Many of the petroglyphs on Ometepe contain spirals, and “meander” across the rock face. Stylized turtles are a common motif for the area.
The petroglyphs of Ometepe include some forms, which are less common. Figures in many of the depictions are described as having “bowling ball faces” on human figures. As noted above, spirals are common, and are apparently used in several ways. Two attached spirals appear to represent the island, with its two volcanoes. Spirals also are used to depict the head of anthropomorphic figures.
Some of the unusual formations seen within the petroglyphs on Ometepe include seats or steps carved into boulders, ovals, and big grooves. The purpose behind these forms has not yet been explained.
Ometepe harbors large populations of the white-faced Capuchin monkey, also called white-headed Capuchin, (Cebus capucinus) and populations of the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata). Efforts are being made to study and protect these animals. The Ometepe Biological Field School is situated on the Maderas side of the island. Here, students and scientists from all over the world come to study the unique flora and fauna of the area. The lake surrounding Ometepe harbors many species of aquatic animals, notably the Nicaragua shark which until recently was thought to be a unique species of freshwater shark but has since been shown to be continuous with ocean populations. Small populations of spider monkeys (Ateles s.) inhabit very small islands within Lake Nicaragua. These populations exist solely due to humans and many of the local fishermen routinely stop by to feed these troops. The local form of the rice rat Oryzomys couesi is distinctive and may represent a separate subspecies.
The Blue Jay measures 9–12 “ from bill to tail and weighs 2.5–3.5 oz, with a wingspan of 13–17 “. There is a pronounced crest on the head, a crown of feathers, which may be raised or lowered according to the bird’s mood. When excited or aggressive, the crest may be fully raised. When frightened, the crest bristles outwards, brushlike. When the bird is feeding among other jays or resting, the crest is flattened to the head.
Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue in the crest, back, wings, and tail, and its face is white. The underside is off-white and the neck is collared with black, which extends to the sides of the head. The wing primaries and tail are strongly barred with black, sky-blue and white. The bill, legs, and eyes are all black. Males and females are nearly identical.
As with most other blue-hued birds, the Blue Jay’s coloration is not derived from pigments but is the result of light interference due to the internal structure of the feathers; if a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears as the structure is destroyed. This is referred to as structural coloration.
The island first became inhabited in the Dinarte phase (ca 2000–500 BC), although evidence is questionable. The first known inhabitants were Nahua Indians from Mexico. In their footsteps came the Niquirano Indians, who established an important settlement on the island. Traces of this past can still be found in petroglyphs and stone idols on the northern slopes of Maderas volcano. The oldest date from 300 BC.
After the Spaniards conquered the Central American region in the 16th century, pirates began prowling Lake Nicaragua. They came in from the Caribbean Sea via the San Juan River. The inhabitants of Ometepe were hard hit. The pirates stole the inhabitants’ women, animals, possessions and harvest; and erected settlements on the shore, making it their refuge. This made the local population; seeking shelter, move to higher grounds on the volcanoes. The island was finally settled by the Spanish conquistadors at the end of the 16th century.
The most important villages on the island are Altagracia (pop. 4081), on the eastern side, and Moyogalpa (pop. 2905), with its harbor on the northwestern side of the island. These two villages are the centers of the two municipalities and the island is divided between the two. Many traditions have been kept alive, thus inhabitants of Ometepe celebrate more religious and folk festivals than anywhere else in Nicaragua.
Today, Ometepe is developing tourism and ecotourism, with the archaeological past and the bounty of its nature sanctuary, the exotic vegetation, animal and bird life as drawcards. There are plans to construct an international airport on the island.