Community Mujeres de Balgue
The island of Ometepe is quite a mystical place. The two volcanoes, Maderas and Concepción, dominate the lake and keep its secrets well protected. More than 1,700 petroglyphs have been found in Ometepe; the locals have a lot of stories to tell about these mysterious places.
In the northwest of the Maderas volcano you’ll discover the village of Balgüe, a peaceful location on the flanks of the Maderas volcano, which is swathed in a cloud forest and has a mist-shrouded lagoon in its crater. The whole island was classified as a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 2010.
The women of Balgüe is a group of 10 women who, led by Georgina Valle, decided to unify in 2012 in order to insure a higher income for their families and to prove that women can equally create and run successful businesses!
There, you’ll sleep in comfortable rooms and eat delicious food with the local families. You’ll share the everyday life of a Nicaraguan countryside family, who will be your curious and welcoming hosts. This experience could be an authentic way to discover the country off the beaten tracks.
The locality is calm and peaceful, but you won’t get bored! Plenty of restaurants and hostels have opened up, and more and more students and families from the entire world come here to take a break and to refresh themselves. apart from meeting people there are also a lot of outdoor and nature contemplation activities, such as hiking in the Maderas volcano or bicycle riding in the beaches of Santo Domingo or Ojo de Agua.
There are a lot of things to do in Balgüe. Hiking fans can, with the help of a guide, climb the Maderas volcano and enjoy the lagoon formed in the crater. Its peak is 1,394 meters high (a 7-hour return trip). This volcano is full of mysteries, because it’s the most ancient one on the island, and the cloud forest in the summit is simply fascinating! You can ask your host to tell you more about the stories of the Maderas folklore creatures. You’ll admire the ancient petroglyphs on the road, and don’t forget to visit the “Finca Magdalena”, a farm where organic coffee is produced which offers room and board. The farm has a splendid view over the bay and the Concepción volcano.
The Maderas Volcano Natural Park is extremely rich in biodiversity. There are 132 bird species, (Urracas, Zanates, Guardabarrancos…), 18 mammal species (with 3 species of monkeys), 16 amphibian species, 12 reptiles and the famous Maderas salamander, which you won’t find anywhere else other than on the island.
If you want to discover the island on your own, it is also possible to rent a mountain bike or horses in order to go on a promenade.
Balgüe has calm beaches; you could swim in a pleasant atmosphere under the flight of the vultures and the Urracas’ song. These beaches are made of black volcanic rock, but, if you prefer sandy beaches, you can ride to Santa Cruz or Santo Domingo on the north and enjoy an amazing view over the two volcanoes.
It’s possible to attend a traditional island show or watch a baseball training at the stadium (for people who aren’t used to watching baseball, this could be very interesting. People at the stadium are very talkative, so you could easily meet Ometepe inhabitants).
At night, you can enjoy the bars and restaurants that have opened here and take great delight tasting local fruit juices in the company of tourists from the entire world and Nicas, of course! Why not invite your host family with you?
OMETEPE TOURISTIC MAP