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Isla de Ometepe is located in the central southern part of the country and is an island in Lake Nicaragua. Actually they are twin volcanic islands and an ideal escape away from the larger cities and crowded areas of Nicaragua. The islands are relatively quiet (except for the growing number of tourists) and there are only a few small settlements on the island including some coffee plantations, and at the Finca Magdalena coffee plantation you can actually stay and take part in the coffee harvest, which is a great but basic experience. Other activities include hikes in the jungle to see monkeys and numerous birds and rather harder day hkes to the Volcanoes Maderas and Concepcion. Swimming, horse riding or renting a (motor)bike are all possible as well, and you will spend close to a week at least if you want to enjoy it in a not too rushed way.
Ometepe has a tropical climate with generally hot and humid conditions. Temperatures are around or just above 30 °C during the day most of the year and most areas are still above 20º at night. Nicaragua has two seasons regarding rainfall. A dry and slightly cooler November to April season and a wet season (but not raining all day) during May to October. Hurricanes occasionally hit the country from July/August onwards.
You can get to the islands main port (Moyogalpa) by boat or ferry from San Jorge near Rivas for about US$2. On Mondays and Thursdays, a ferry leaves Granada around 2:00pm and arrives in Altagracia.
Internet cafes can be found in most larger cities and popular areas, but even in smaller towns you will usually be able to connect somewhere.
Wifi is generally free at most hotels, with the notable exception of larger chain hotels, which generally charge between US$3 and US$8 per day.
See also International Telephone Calls
The international phone code of Nicaragua is 505. The general emergency number is 911, though you can contact police (118), fire (115) and ambulance (128) separately if you want.
Nicaragua's cell phone system utilizes GSM 1900 technology. So, if you have a GSM phone that supports the 1900 band you can either use your phone as is at international rates or if your cell phone is unlocked , you can purchase a SIM card for your phone and you will have a local cell number and be charged local cell rates. Both Claro and Movistar provide cell phone service in the country. Claro is run by the old national phone company (ENITEL) that has now been privatized.
Another option is to buy a cell phone locally. Disposable cell phones are quite inexpensive, usually costing about US$20.
You can also purchase local prepaid phone cards that can be used at pay phone across the country. The different pay phone systems each have their own phone cards, so pay attention to which type you purchase.
Correos de Nicaragua provides postal services. It's fairly cheap but not extremely reliable or fast. Post offices are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Airmail postage for a standaard letter or postcard from Nicaragua to North America is US0.60 and US$1 to Europe. Mail takes on average between 7 and 10 days to get to the U.S. and Europe. Though it's fine for sending a postcard, you'd better use companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx to send parcels internationally.
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