I arrived at Isla Ometepe with high hopes, mosquito bites and my bag clutched tight to my chest after a very close call with a passport thief on the boat ride over.
I started to lug my heavy backpack up the steep street while considering to myself whether or not this place would live up to my expectations after countless backpacker recommendations.
“Official tour guides” with wide smiles and eager sales pitches followed me up the street. I was frustrated and tired when I stumbled upon a small hotel, it looked family run and cheap, my favourite accommodation combination.
Once settled in the gentle and quietly spoken owner started to describe the island and his favourite places to visit, I began to understand the quiet beauty of this place as he spoke. He told me the history of the islands twin volcanos that loom over the small land mass. In his softly spoken manner he described the ebb and flow of tourists, from the fullness of high season to stilled emptiness of low season which we were in at the time.
In travel there are moments you remember, the people and the places are special yes, but it is the moments that will stay with you. Those brief lapses in time where everything seems to slow down just for you and the amazing beauty of the world is revealed, just for a moment. Isla Ometepe provided me with one such moment.
The cool breeze whipped through my damp hair my body felt alive and refreshed. I had been swimming in the islands mineral pools, my skin was tingling and my body rejuvenated. I looked around me from the passenger seat of the motorcycle as we cruised along the near empty road. To my left I could see the looming giant of Volcan Maderas, to my right, revealing its peak above the mist, another colossal volcanic beauty, Volcan Concepcion. We slowed near what appeared to be a runway, the air was still, the road empty. It was there that I saw the most spectacular sunset, my unforgettable moment. The sun was a bright and brilliant burning red as I had never seen it before as it made its decent before us. The volcanic beauties loomed above me as if they too were watching the show.
Later in Ometepe I swam in the clear fresh water of the black sand beaches. I wandered through the twisted trees of the islands forests. I watched the smiling children play in the streets as our motorbike cruised past.
I felt the magic of the largest volcanic freshwater island in the world.
Maybe if you go someday, you will too.