After our hike up Mt. Maderas the entire group was sore and in need of recovery. We’d heard rumor of a lake of healing water on the island filled by a natural spring: Ojo de Agua. Our guide from the mountain had told us it was a short one kilometer walk up the road. We should have known, based on his time estimates from the hike, that this was likely a much longer distance. We set off walking with directions from the front desk: “it’s on the other side of the river on the left.”
We started walking and almost immediately a herd of horses came running down the middle of the street. We dodged to the side and watched this spectacle block traffic as the horses tried to sneak a bite to eat before the farmer shooed them along. We held still and attempted to stay out of the way to avoid being trampled.
As we were walking, one of our waiters from Villa Paraiso caught up with us as he was walking to catch the bus home and we asked him about Ojo de Agua and said that we’d been told it was only 15-20 minutes away; he started laughing, hard, and told us that might be true, if you ran quickly. We all realized we’d fallen victim one more time to Bismark’s “15 more minutes” line, being that we wanted to see the healing waters and swim to help loosen our sore muscles. We pushed on, simply enjoying the lush scenery of Ometepe. We were enjoying the walk and talking about conquering the volcano the day before when our waiter stopped us quickly and pointed out a group of spider monkeys feasting on food refuse by the side of the road, including a mother with a baby on her back. The wild monkeys let us get up close and personal, clearly being well adjusted to their human companions on the island.
After another 45 minutes of walking through the hills of Ometepe we finally reached the river, with cattle drinking on one side and families doing their laundry on the other. It was here that I realized what a simple life most residents on the island lead. This simplicity was part of the charm of Ometepe; the scenery was beautiful, the people out of their way friendly, and life just moved at a slower pace.
About 100 meters past the river we finally came to the sign for Ojo de Agua; only another 500 meters to go and we would be able to soak in the healing waters and stretch our sore muscles. We reached the entrance, paid our three dollars and walked into this beautifully shrouded mineral spring lagoon. We all quickly changed and jumped in, eager to cool off. While the mineral spring did not heal all of our pains, the walk there combined with the swim helped eliminate most of our pains and the mineral balance of the water left us feeling clean and refreshed. Ojo de Agua is definitely a must see if you come to Ometepe.
On the hike the previous day we had heard howler monkeys throughout the day and caught glimpses towards the end of the day but nothing up close. As we were finishing up at Ojo de Agua we were greeted by the familiar grunts and howls of the howler monkeys’ approach, and we’re pleasantly surprised to see them in the trees above the spring, apparently incensed that we had invaded their space. It was the perfect end to our time on Ometepe, and though we were sad to leave and part with our new friends, we move on to adventures in Costa Rica, knowing we will be back.