Budget Travel to a Volcanic Island in the Middle of Lake Nicaragua

Hacienda Meridia is a typical nature preserve that sits on the island of Omentepe in the middle of lake Nicaragua. The island is small and made up of two large volcanos which can be seen from anywhere on the island. The hostel its self is actually a old coffee plantation. This is evident in the reminits off train tracks, loading docks, and old buildings. The hostel has any type of room you could want, or if you don’t want a room there is plenty of room to camp out under a roof or under the stars. There are even some hammocks you can rent out. The prices here are more than affordable even for the most budget oriented traveler. To give you an idea of the prices, you can stay in a hammock and camp out for a buck fifty a night. Dorm rooms are only three dollars a night and if you need a private room they have them for ten bucks a night.

The hostel also has a great restaurant with mouth watering meals that only cost between one and three dollars. What is really neat about this hostel is that if there are more than 6 people staying at the hostel they will prepare an all you can eat buffet that is only three dollars. They have a breakfast and dinner buffet. Both are great and made up of authentic local food. They say the buffet is all you can eat but really it’s all you can fit on your plate. Usually only the people in the front of the line get to go back for seconds. Dinner is at seven so make sure you get there early to get a good spot in line. If you don’t want the buffet you can order your own food separate. For lunch I would recommend the chicken sandwich. This is a shredded chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomatos and at a dollar fifty a sandwich you can eat as many as you want.

The ads you will see in costa rica and Nicaragua are a little bit decieveing. The ads say they have internet access. This is true in part. They do have internet but it is nothing more than a single laptop hooked up to the internet via a cell phone. While this does offer you internet access it dosent mean you may be able to use it. There is always a line for the computer and on top of that you can only use the internet as long as the phone stays charged. So most of the day you are either waiting for someone to get off the computer or for the cell phone to charge up. The ads also say they have kayaks for rent. These kayaks they advertise are old plastic sit on tops. They also don’t have very good paddles for them. While the kayak rentals are cheap I would not recommend wasting your money on them. There is only one place worth paddeling to in the kayak and even that place isn’t worth wasting your energy to get to.

There are some storage lockers in the commons area of the hostel. These lockers are free but require a six dollar deposit. The lockers are very safe and secure but they are small in size. The lockers are only large enough for some small personal belongings. In my locker I fit three wallets, a professional sized camera, and a small video camera. The hostel is so remote that you don’t really have to worry about theft except maybe from other backpackers but that’s usually not a big deal.

There are several employees that speak English and will give you all kinds of information on where to go and what to do, as well as rent out the equipment. They rent bikes, horses, and kayaks.

The hostel is very easy to get to from the bus stop. In fact, once you get off the bus, just walk about 1-minute down the road, and you will run into a green gate-that’s the hostel. They also have the departing bus schedule posted in the dining area.

Flies and bugs can sometimes get annoying, but they don’t bite. I slept in a hammock outside with no problem. There are awesome views of the volcano from the dock as well.

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