Nica Snapshot: A World of Boats, part 1: Lake Nicaragua

The port of Moyogalpa overshadowed by Volcan Concepcion on the island of Ometepe
The port of Moyogalpa overshadowed by Volcan Concepcion on the island of Ometepe

We didn’t take our own boat; nonetheless we had some interesting boating experiences in Nicaragua!  As a country with many lakes and rivers, coasts on two oceans, and remote areas only accessible by boat, travel by water is part of the way of life and a memorable part of the experience: So I begin this multi-part series on our boating adventures in Nicaragua.

Leaving Ometepe behind on the ferry back to San Joge.  Alex is at left and James on the steps below by our little car jammed in the near corner of the aft deck
Leaving Ometepe behind on the ferry back to San Joge. Alex is at left and James on the steps below by our little car jammed in the near corner of the aft deck

We saw Lake Nicaragua first from Granada, but our first real experience with it was when we boarded a ferry in San Jorge to cross to the gorgeous island of Ometepe.  The internet said we needed 3 days’ notice to get a ferry spot for our car; it turns out 20 minutes is sufficient if there’s space — and they don’t always know if there’s space until they’re actually loading the ferry.  As for people, there’s always sufficient space — maybe not sufficient seats but always sufficient space.  It’s a beautiful developing-nation efficiency that sometimes works in your favor and sometimes comes back to bite you.

A ferry from Ometepe being loaded with all kinds of things, vehicles, and people -- just another day in Nicaragua
A ferry from Ometepe being loaded with all kinds of things, vehicles, and people — just another day in Nicaragua

James can attest to the adventure that was getting on and off such a ferry with a car.  The ferry system is the primary commercial transport not just of vehicles and people but also of cargo to and from the island; it is a little frightening at times, but again it displays a wonderful ingenuity that gets the job done with the resources at hand.

Small boat on the big lake: another (smaller) ferry passing us as we cross Lake Nicaragua
Small boat on the big lake: another (smaller) ferry passing us as we cross Lake Nicaragua

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