- Explore Nicaragua online

Chronicle: Second Fair "Expo Ometepe" and more

Faustino Salcedo | Aug 6, 2012

Speakers and public during the "Expo Ometepe". | Photographer: Faustino Salcedo

Two whole days of cultural and sporting activities, expos and information about the island along with a tour of two museums.

Ometepe Island is one of the most visited tourist attraction for nationals and internationals in Nicaragua due to its natural characteristics. In 2010, it was named Natural Biosphere Reserve of the year. This is why the Expo Ometepe fair is celebrated in which over 100 speakers amongst touristic entrepreneurs, artisans and artists offer their services and information. This event was held this year in August, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th. Aside from the celebration, this weekend there was also a small tour throughout some of the island tourist’s attractions. Join us on this 2 day chronicle regarding the Expo.

The journey towards Ometepe, island of “two mountains”, (Dos Cerros, in Spanish) started on Saturday, August the 4th. The water on the lake rested in such tranquility as if it knew that it had to show off for the Ometepe Expo. Once on the boat ready to set sail from San Jorge, Rivas, you could view both volcanoes that inhabit the island. Conception volcano’s cusp was dulled by the clouds that fell upon it but this didn’t stop its colossal presence to drive the attention of cameras and humane eyes. On the other side, with even more clouds around it, Maderas Volcano showed itself.

We arrived on the island at about 11:00 am, as part of a press tour organized by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR). We traveled from San Jose del Sur port where the boat arrived and made it all the way to the central park in the city of Altagracia, where the Expo Ometepe took place. The event took over the 2 streets that bordered the park. On one of these blocks, 100 speakers among artisans and touristic entrepreneurs were located. On the other street there was a stage in which the artists awed and entertained the public visitors with singing, dancing and storytelling of children stories.

The fair was desolated at around 2:00 pm due to the low concurrence of people to the event but the fluency of people was constant like the drop that slowly but surely insists on filling the glass. Mrs. Celia – who didn’t want to provide her last name because she was embarrassed of the questions we asked her- who is an Altagracian city fruit merchant, told us that this is the second time she participates in this fair and that she did pretty good for herself. Later, jokingly in between laughter, she told us that even though it was not evident to us that she had sold a lot that day, she indeed had.

Between the speakers present at the fair, there were painters; artists that worked with fabric faded in chlorine; children from “Si a la Vida” (Yes to Life) association who were rescued from Ometepe streets and later taught art crafts; fruit smoothie vendors; a factory that makes wine from Jamaica flower; various local crafters and hotel and restaurants owners from the entire island.

While the speakers did their thing, over at the stage, a clown played with Mothers amongst the public, making them sing and dance. Then, Mario Montenegro, musician and children books writer took the stage and told the story about a dragon to the children present. The children meanwhile watched amazed at the images the artist showed them from his “Chinese box” filled with stories. This is a kind of box where images change while the story unfolds.

Rain threatened to fall but after the sporadic drizzle, everything went back to normal and the Inauguration commenced luring the eyes of the visitors. Right after, an act presenting the cultural acts was directed by authorities of INTUR, the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry (MARENA) and Altagracia’s Municipal Office. At night, "America Vive" an Andean America music group and Katia Cardenal would host a concert for everyone.

The sun was setting but you could barely tell with such a cloudy sky. Dusk was coming fast and according to local photography enthusiastic islanders, one of the best places to photograph a sunset on the island is Jesus Maria Point- a beach with a lean and long land arm, located on Ometepe’s west coast.

The last rays of sunlight departed with us. They left to light up the moon and we, to rest in front of the lake in the city of Moyogalpa. The journey by car took us round 30 to 40 minutes from Altagracia. At nighttime, the environment was one of contrasts between the peace that predominates in the city and the urge of party from the tourists.

Morning came and this meant that the tour was coming to an end but still promised some activity. We were transported to Santo Domingo Beach where a Kayak competition took place and this was one of the many water sport options that you can enjoy on the island. The event was also a parallel part of the fair’s activities and 25 competitors participated. The first price winner took home C$2000.

The trip continued towards Tel Aviv Hacienda and The Ceibo museum. This museum is divided in two parts: one is the money museum which takes you on a journey through Nicaragua’s currency and the other section is the pre-Columbian museum where you can find pieces that at least 3,000 years old. Beside the museums, in Tel Aviv you can enjoy cock fights where instead of blades, rosters wear a kind of small boxing gloves that avoid them getting hurt.

Once the didactic museum visit was over, we started our journey back to the agitated Managua but this took a while due to the high demand of the Ferry, a large boat that transported vehicles to and from the island. We traveled on the lake just in time to observe the sun set over San Jorge and with just turning your head east, you could see the colossal Concepcion volcano, now cloudless and with a faint light over its green cone, that seemed to be saying “See you soon”.

This is a photo gallery about the event: Expo Ometepe.

Translated by Paola Larrabure