Our first stop in Nicaragua was Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The island consists of 2 volcanos, one classified as dormant and one active, (although it hasn’t erupted for 30 years) and very little else.
We stayed half way up a mountain in an eco lodge which was incredible. It had no mains electricity, no sanitation – long drop compost toilet, but to my amazement a four poster bed and excellent food prepared from the organic farm.
There are just 6 lodges and it was our haven for 4 nights. Africa was very black at night but Totoco was even darker if that’s possible and the noise at night was deafening with 200 howler monkeys in the jungle behind us, thousands of crickets and frogs and the odd bird call. Our granddaughters would hate it as the door in the room was ill fitting and the room was always full of bugs, spiders and large hopping insects! We were warned to look out for scorpions too, they evidently wouldn’t kill us but it would hurt like hell if we trod on them. Not very reassuring. We loved the place and it’s amazing how good you feel going to bed at 9pm and waking around 4am to the incredible dawn chorus. It was a perfect retreat and we walked a lot admiring the wildlife and vegetation and enjoyed the solitude. The lack of electricity, mobile phone signal and WiFi added to the charm. The loo was not the problem I thought it might be, using shredded bark instead of water, but sharing the cold water shower with a black frog was more of a challenge. The choice at dinner is between vegetarian and meat and it made a refreshing change not to have a huge choice. The food was excellent both breakfast and dinner. The people of Ometepe were very poor and the lodge runs a foundation with money made from tourism to fund a library in the village and to provide micro grants to people wanting to set up their own enterprise. These businesses ranged from making jewellery to taking in laundry. It was very impressive foundation and the ethos of the lodge was very special. Top tip: Take a torch!!