THE BEST WAY TO OMETEPE, NICARAGUA
From LAX, connecting service (change of planes) to Managua is offered on Continental, Delta, American, TACA, Copa and Spirit. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $309.
Ferries to Ometepe leave from San Jorge, about an hour and a half drive from the airport in Managua. Paxeos Shuttle will take you from Managua to San Jorge for $35 and accepts online reservations, http://www.paxeos.com. In San Jorge, ferries depart about every hour for Moyogalpa and cost $1-$2, depending on the size and speed of the boat. You can buy a ticket on the dock.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 505 (country code for Nicaragua) and the local seven-digit number.
The only ATM on Ometepe is in Moyogalpa, so be sure to have plenty of cash before venturing out. Most establishments accept córdobas or dollars, but many don't accept credit cards.
WHERE TO STAY
If you plan to hike Concepción, Altagracia and Moyogalpa are good bases, with both offering direct access to trails up the volcano. Unless you're splurging, don't expect a hot shower.
In Moyogalpa, Hotel Ometepetl (2-569-4276) offers air-conditioned doubles for $25 — a rare luxury on Ometepe — and an on-site restaurant.
In Altagracia, Hotel Central (2-552-8770) is quiet and clean with a full-service restaurant and helpful staff who will get up at 4 a.m. to see you off (and make you coffee). Private rooms start at $7, but for $9 you can get one of seven freestanding one-room cabins behind the main building.
The Nicaraguan Tourism Board, http://www.intur.gob.ni/, requires hikers to be accompanied by a licensed guide when hiking either volcano. Most hotels can arrange a guide. Depending on the size of your group, expect to pay $12-$14 a person, plus tip. Tour agencies can also set up lodging and guides in advance.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times