Costa Rica Howler July 2022 International Digital Magazine

Page 44



to Ometepe from Guanacaste

Story and photos by John Quam

Easy to Access and Enjoy



y friend Randy Nelson and I decided that we would take a trip up to Ometepe, Lake Nicaragua’s largest island. After discussing transportation options to get there, we decided on the local bus and taxis. This was exciting to me as I had never been on a bus in Costa Rica — and in fact had not been on a local bus anywhere for probably 45 years.

Bus to the border

We left the pueblo of Matapalo at about 8 a.m., heading by car to Liberia to catch the bus. Once in Liberia we found two bus stations. The one next to the Mayca store was not the one for transportation to the border, but a friendly local guided us to another station about four blocks over.

Once at the border, we crossed over to the Nicaraguan side, paying all the necessary fees. It was very easy and nothing to be worried about.

I hopped out of the car and checked the schedule and buses to make sure we were in the right area. After concluding we were, Randy and I parked the car at a hotel for a fee of $7 per day. I would suggest doing this as the security was good there. However in retrospect, we could have taken the bus all the way from Matapalo to Liberia for about $2.50.

We got on the local bus displaying “La Cruz and Frontera” on the front. We each paid the $3.50 fee and sat back and relaxed. These buses run about every 45 minutes to the border. Along the way we picked up a few riders, and without a hitch arrived at the border in about 75 minutes.

Then we were mobbed by taxi operators offering us many different prices to take us to Rivas and the ferry that would take us to the island of Ometepe. We paid one driver $40 for this trip. We found out later that this was a high price. However, it was clean and fast. Along the way, what really stood out to me was how nice the highway was and that there was no trash on the road. I was looking for it but literally, there was no litter to be seen.

It was an enjoyable way to spend the day seeing the island from a local’s perspective.

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