Tuesday, March 17, 2015

San Ramon Waterfall, Ometepe Nicaragua

Feeling the spray of a volcanic waterfall.

High on the volcano Maderas on the island of Ometepe cascades the water of San Ramon.  The waterfall is not reached easily but is well worth the effort.  What creates the most difficulty in not the 4 hour hike, but actually reaching the starting point. The road to the Nicaraguan wonder is not paved, and most likely will not be.  If you do not have a four wheel drive vehicle then you will be forced to by hike, bike, motorcycle or take a bus. 

Nicaragua is a country of contrasts.  There is unbelievable beauty and unimaginable poverty.  High surf dominates its Pacific border while tranquil seas lap at its’ Caribbean beaches.  No where is that more apparent than on the island of Ometepe.  The small land mass was created by two volcanoes.  One dormant and covered in rain forest, the other active, its cone left barren.

The volcano Maderas is a thick chocking mass of forest and undergrowth.  It can be climbed, but most visitors prefer to stop at the waterfall.  A trail beginning at the Biological Field Station leads to a fork about 3 kilometers up the mountain.  Here you can choose to continue on for an all day outing and strenuous climb to the summit, or veer right and head to the waterfall.  A road also exists that leads to a power plant and will save you at least two hours of hiking.  However, be aware if you do not have a motorcycle or a four wheel drive vehicle the drive is impossible. 

There is a small fee to enter the park, but the cost is the same regardless of which activity you choose.  The hike to the falls is steep and steamy.  Humidity is high as is the heat index.  Bring plenty of water with you and be prepared for frequent stops.  Once upon your quest you will be enveloped by a thick jungle canopy.  Bird calls are frequent and on going, however it is difficult to spot them in the dense foliage.  The trail is most often wet and slippery as the sun strains to break through. There is also a stream bed that you must cross along the way. 

Depending on where you start form your destination will come into view in about 1-2 hours.  You will hear the falls prior to seeing it.  As you do break out of the forest you will see the water coming from high above.  Crashing and spraying down from hundreds of feet.  A pool has formed in catching the endless supply of water coming off the volcano.  It is not deep enough to swim in, but you can easily enough wade in it until you find yourself underneath the down rush of water.  Be warned that the water is cold, and the pool is filled with sharp volcanic rocks.  However, after a hard hot hike, the temperature of the falls is refreshing and welcoming. 

No comments:

Post a Comment