Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ferry Travel to Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua

Photo by Jose Vargas
The Isla de Ometepe, also known as Ometepe, is an hourglass-shaped island located in the western corner of massive Lake Nicaragua. The island includes not one but two volcanoes: the active 5,577-foot Volcán Concepción and the lush and dormant 4,573-foot Volcán Maderas. Due to the  beautiful landscape and relaxed atmosphere on the island, it has become a popular tourist destination in the country.

Unless you have a helicopter, the only way to travel to Isla de Ometepe is by boat. There are two departures from the western mainland to the port town of Moyogalpa: the ferries and smaller boats from the port in San Jorge (just outside of Rivas), and the less frequent ferry from Granada. Since the waters on the lake can become very choppy during the mid-day hours, it is best to leave early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid any seasickness. The one-way journey takes approximately one hour. 

From San Jorge

The Ferry Ometepe is both a passenger and car ferry that makes the trip four times a day. The fare is C$60 per person and C$600 per car. Although you really don't need a car on the island, it is a much better alternative to leaving it in a random parking lot in San Jorge. The smaller boats, known as lanchas, makes the same journey but for a fare of C$30 per person. The cheaper price comes with the higher possibility of seasickness since the smaller boats feel the waves much more than the larger, heavier ferries. Overall, there are ten trips between the two types of boats:

Ferry Departures:
1- 7:45 a.m.
2- 10:30 a.m.
3- 2:30 p.m.
4- 5:30 p.m. 

Lancha Departures:
1- 9 a.m.
2- 9:30 a.m.
3- 11:30 a.m.
4- 1:30 p.m.
5- 3:30 p.m.
6- 4:30 p.m.

From Ometepe Back to San Jorge
Both ferries and lanchas depart from Moyogalpa for the mainland. Again, make sure to double check the schedules because they can change at any moment. Overall, there are nine trips between the two types of boats:
Ferry Departures:
1- 6 a.m.
2- 9 a.m.
3- 12:30 p.m.
4- 4 p.m.

Lancha Departures:
1- 5:30 a.m.
2- 6:30 a.m.
3- 7 a.m.
4- 11:30 a.m.
5- 1:30 p.m.

From Granada
For those who have some more time and better sea legs, there are ferries that leave from the city of Granada two times a week. WARNING: The journey can take up to four hours! But it arrives at Altagracia on the eastern side of the island instead of Moyogalpa. The fares range between C$25 per person to $C50 depending on if you prefer lower- or upper-deck passage. The best known ferry is the Mozorola, which was recently refurbished as of May 2011.

Ferry Departures – Departs on Mondays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. This time can vary greatly, so make sure to double check the schedule.
Ferry Returns – Departs on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12:30 a.m.

For more about Isla de Ometepe, check out my post: Exploring Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua.


  1. Thats really very bad to here about volcanoes. Anyway the ferry (promy)travel would be safe than by choosing other mode of travel

  2. Hi!
    Yes, the best way to get there is by ferry. Especially the ones from San Jorge! Thanks for reading!

  3. The boat looks very sturdy and durable, I'll be sure to think about this.

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading. Yes, you have nothing to worry about if you take the San Jorge ferry.

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