Isla de Ometepe
Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
Ometepe Island is comprised of two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca or “the sweet sea”) and is the is the largest (and tallest) volcanic island in a freshwater lake in the world. This 19 mile long hourglass shaped island sits in the middle of the 3149 square mile lake and is joined in the middle by the 2 mile wide Tisian Isthmus, formed by lava flows of past eruptions. The active cone-shaped barren volcano of Concepcion (5,282′) sits to the northwest and is considered one of the more perfectly formed cones in all of Central America, while the extinct Maderas (4,573′) is covered with a diverse cloud forest and makes up the southeastern area of the island.
Omepete is a candidate for the Eighth Wonder of the World and was added to the UNESCO Biosphere reserve in 2010. It is believed that Lake Nicaragua along with Lake Managua to the northwest, originally formed part of an ocean bay that, as a result of volcanic eruption, became an inland basin containing the two lakes. The ocean fish were trapped in the lakes and adapted themselves as the salt water gradually turned fresh. Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake containing oceanic animal life, including sharks, swordfish, and tarpon. The island itself is an extremely diverse ecosystem comprised of natural sanctuaries, exotic vegetation, abundant wildlife, and a great archaeological past. The volcanic ash has made the soil of the island extremely fertile allowing coffee and tobacco plantations to flourish. Boasting to be the “Oasis of Peace,” the island’s general intrigue and natural attractions are steadily increasing tourism of all types.