The town of Altagracia comes second in size after Moyogalpa but the municipality of Altagracia administers a much larger area than Moyogalpa. The historic village on the northeastern slope of Volcano Concepción feels more authentic than Moyogalpa. Astalgalpa, as the Nahuatl indians called it, was the indigenous capital of Ometepe in pre-columbian times.
On the eastern side of Altagracia's central park is the parroquial church, built in 1924, and its wooden bell tower. On the grounds of the church you can admire some of the biggest stone idols found on Ometepe. Other vestiges of Ometepe's rich pre-Columbian past are found in the nearby archeological museum, along with some information about geology and culture of the island.
Altagracia's Port of Grace, 4 km north of the village center, was once the landing point of the Spanish conquistadors and
in the 16th century became a pirate's refuge for filibusters like Francis Drake. Today the port hosts the ferry dock for the
boats to Granada and San Carlos. » Ferry Schedules
For an overnight stay there is a choice of good, inexpensive hotels in Altagracia and you could think about staying a bit longer in the relaxed little village. In some hotels you can also rent bicycles to explore the surroundings with nearby beaches.
Beaches near Altagracia:
See the Map of Altagracia for directions
The closest beach, only 800 m from the village center. You can swim or relax while tropical breezes keep you cool. Head north towards the port of Altagracia and turn to the right 300 m past the power plant.
After a 1.3 km walk through banana plantations your reach the scenic cove of Tagüizapa where you can bathe in the shallow waters and have a break at the hotel restaurant on the beach. On the hotel's grounds you can admire the oldest tree of Ometepe, a huge, 800 year old ceiba (kapok) tree. Tagüizapa is one of the most important archaeological sites on Ometepe where four large stone idols have been found so far.
A rocky but scenic beach with good views of the Maderas volcano. From Hotel Central, head east on the road and veer left at the fork (1.3 km). Sometimes there are fishermen who can take you on a boat tour.
Same departure point as to San Silvestre but you have to veer right at the fork (1.3 km). In dry season you can continue along the beach until Playa Santo Domingo. It's a scenic hike along a beautiful shore with views to small islands and the volcano Maderas.
Playa Santo Domingo
8 km from Altagracia you find the breezy long sand beach of Playa Santo Domingo with several small hotels and restaurants. 3 km before Playa Santa Domingo you pass by the entrance to Ojo de Agua, a freshwater swimming pool in the forest.
Altagracia's Fiestas Patronales are held between November 11 - 18. The most important event is on the 17th with the Baile de los Zompopos (Dance of the Leaf Cutter Ants). Participants hold branches of Guanacaste trees and cane while dancing to the sound of traditional music instruments. The dance retells the victory over a large, destructive tribe of leaf cutting ants. The mass and procession have been held since 1613 to honor Altagracia's patron saint San Diego. However, the origins of the festivities date back to pre-Columbian times when the Indians worshipped their harvest god Quiateot.