Kayaking the Rio Istian was possibly the coolest thing I did while in Ometepe. Such an idea landed on my radar only when I received an email from Eileen from Via Verde the day before my arrival asking if I’d join another solo traveler on a kayaking trip, which had a 2 person minimum. Being a fellow solo traveler, I was sympathetic to the plight of the solo traveler and responded, “Sure, why not.” When it was canceled, I was kind of ambivalent. But, Eileen and Darren were adamant that I needed to make another attempt, “It is a really nice experience.” So, off I went. Wow! And, I’m glad I did. The scenery was pristine, and the wildlife was abundant.
Sean, from Campestre Tours, picked 4 Norwegians and I up at our B&B (Via Verde) around 3, and we headed out towards Merida, on the other side of the volcano. The road was hella rough, mostly a disastrous dirt road, un-maintained as expectation is for imminent paving and improvements. This made it most interesting for me, as I was the young buck of the group and held true to my feisty adventura ways, jumping in the truck bed to allow the others seats inside. The road was rocky as hell, but riding in back is always an adventure…and the smiles I got from Nicas along the way were priceless. We dropped the kayaks in at El Peru. Luckily, I scored a seat in Sean’s boat, so my ride was always smooth sailing! Took one for the team by road and stealthed the best seat by boat! Immediately, I felt serenity. It was a beautiful time of day. The sun was starting it’s descent. It was partly cloudy and had just rained, so it was cool. Women were out along the shore, washing clothes. Animals were plodding about, grazing here and there. Horses were galloping along the water’s edge. Where were they going? Not sure. But, they were doing what the happy horses around here do, grazing and playing. We saw plenty of birds and some magnificent trees. The Ceiba (or Ceibo…yes, Sean, I listen. But, Honduras is engrained in me!) never ceases to put me in awe with it’s grandeur. After about 30 minutes of paddling, we approached the Rio Istian, not actually a river, but an estuary, a wetland. The Rio is not fed by streams, but by the lake when water levels are high enough. But, the way it fingers it’s way in between the two volcanoes appears as if it were a river, thus it’s name. The wildlife here was overwhelming and delightful. We saw egrets, vultures, spoon billed something or others, song birds, and others I can’t even remember. We saw a turtle…umm, let’s be real; Sean saw a turtle. I just acted like I could see at what he was pointing. But, best of all, we saw a caiman alligator…and it did not swim away immediately. It hung around and let us swoon over him. Really cool. Then, we paddled out of the estuary just in time to watch the sun drop into the horizon leaving an orange glow below the clouds. Not the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen, but I damn good one, making for some great photos.
We then bee-lined back to El Peru, loaded up our kayaks, and headed back to devour some delivery from…of course, Cafe Campestre. Refueled with homemade fettucine especial before tanking into bed for the night, thoroughly exhausted, my arms screaming, “Why???” Not a single negative thing to say about the experience.