Charco Verde Area
In Charco Verde and surrounding areas you find many quiet and scenic beaches shaded by big, old trees and with the
ever changing but always dramatic backdrop of the volcano Concepción. The beaches are made up of dark volcanic sand and
swimming is safe as there aren't any big waves and the ground drops very gently. Be prepared however that the water
of Lake Nicaragua is pretty murky - not dirty but mixed up with sediments stirred up from the bottom of the lake.
For a beach vacation you can stay in a lakeside hotel, or in one of the charming Fincas Verdes which offer rooms in traditional haciendas with the authentic flair of Nicaraguan farm life.
From San José, a ferry boat connects two times per day to San Jorge, Rivas, on the mainland of Nicaragua.
If you are interested in history you can visit the La Ceiba Museum which exhibits a large collection of pre-Columbian artefacts found on Ometepe. The private collection shows many urns, ceramics and other utensils from all generations of the island's settlements. The entrance and guided tour costs $12 /person. On the same premises is the Numismatic Museum, Nicaragua's most comprehensive collection of bills and coins reaching back until pre-Columbian times.
Other nearby sites to check out are the view point on the land spit of Punta Jesus Maria and the Mirador del Diablo, a lookout point on a small hill above the Charco Verde Reserve.
The Reserve and Lagoon of Charco Verde
The Ecological Reserve of Charco Verde covers 20 hectares of tropical dry forest which is home to many animals. Within the reserve is the mystical pond of Charco Verde with its emerald green waters. The lagoon owes its peculiar color to abundant algae. In earlier times the Indians used to make sacrifices and supplications to their gods here. Today it's just a tranquil piece of woodland where you can admire flora and fauna. A trail around the lagoon leads to the beach where you have view to Isla de Quiste and the Maderas volcano beyond. The hotels in Charco Verde can arrange tours by boat to Isla de Quiste. You can also rent a kayak to paddle to the island and further around the headland of Punta Gorda to Sinacapa where you find a patch of primary forest that touches down to the lake.
The Legend of Charco Verde
The islanders tell many legends about the lagoon of Charco Verde and its surroundings. The most popular story is about the demonic
figure of Chico Largo, who dwells at the bottom of the green pond. Chico Largo materializes on the lonely roads surrounding Hacienda Venecia.
Not everybody is able to see him, but those who do are lured into making an evil pact.
It is also said that on the bottom of the lagoon is a village called "El Encanto" which is populated by people who picked fruits and hunted in Charco Verde. For punishment they were turned into cows, pigs, crocodiles or turtles. Butchers in the area claim that they found calfs and cows who had gold teeth like humans.