Ome­te­pe Island is formed by two vol­ca­noes in the mid­dle of Lake Nicaragua in the Repub­lic of Nicaragua. The name of the island comes from the Nahu­atu words ome (two) and tepetl (moun­tain), which means two moun­tains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua and also the largest vol­canic island in a fresh­wa­ter lake in the world, a true mar­vel of geol­o­gy.

ometepe island

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: South Amer­i­ca

Two vol­ca­noes on Ome­te­pe are Con­cep­ción and Maderes. The con­cep­tion is a sym­met­ri­cal cone and is still active. It rose dur­ing the ear­ly Holocene and, thanks to con­stant erup­tions, now reach­es a height of 1610 meters, which makes Ome­te­pe Island also the high­est lake island in the world.

island of two volcanoes
Con­cep­ción has the most per­fect vol­canic cone shape in all of Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Although it went through a long qui­et peri­od, on Decem­ber 8, 1880, Con­cep­ción erupt­ed again. The erup­tion was exten­sive and the vol­cano remained active for a whole year. In 1883, 1889, 1902, 1907 and 1924 there were more vio­lent erup­tions. In 2005, an earth­quake mea­sur­ing 6.2 on the Richter scale occurred as a result of an increase in pres­sure inside the vol­cano. Cracks appeared on roads all over the island and the gov­ern­ment advised peo­ple to leave Ome­te­per. The last erup­tion was in 2010.


On the south­east­ern half of the island is Maderas Vol­cano, which is either extinct or dor­mant, has a crater lake, and sup­ports a diverse rain­for­est envi­ron­ment. Maderes also orig­i­nat­ed dur­ing the Holocene and ris­es to 1,394 meters above sea lev­el. On April 15, 1930, a local farmer dis­cov­ered a large lagoon formed in the Maderas crater. Cof­fee and tobac­co plan­ta­tions cov­er most of it, and the rest is hard-to-trav­el rain­for­est. Much of this half of the island is also a UNESCO Bios­phere Reserve. Due to the unique nature of Ome­te­pe, it is called one of the most beau­ti­ful islands in the world.

See also
Vintage Photos: The Luxury of Air Travel in Olden Times

The vol­canic ash has made the soil on Ome­te­pe Island extreme­ly fer­tile, allow­ing con­tin­u­ous plant­i­ng with­out plow­ing. The vol­ca­noes are vis­i­ble from any­where on the island, and life on Ome­te­pe revolves around them.