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Finca Magdalena

Accommodations and Living Conditions on Ometepe Island

In 2009 we expect to be living at Finca Magdalena. Built in 1888, the hacienda contains two large buildings and several smaller ones. One of the large buildings is being used to house travellers and this is where we will be living.

dinner at finca magdelena
Mealtime at the Hacienda Magdalena

You should be prepared to live in close quarters with not a great deal of privacy. Conditions are rustic. There are basic showers and toilets (which may not always be working, so using outdoor latrines is possible).

The food is good but plain--rice and beans with fresh fish, chicken, local cheese, and sometimes beef or pork. There is usually fruit and cabbage salad--and the beer is good. In general, be prepared for rustic living. Water is plentiful and, luckily, good to drink, coming from a spring located on the slopes of the volcano above the hacienda.

The hacienda is part of a working cooperative that produces coffee, honey, bananas, and rice. There are about 20 campesino families who are a part of the cooperative, which received land under the Sandinista land reform in the 1980s. They are very nice people and it will be interesting to talk with them about their struggles in the current economic situation.

Check out the Finca Magdalena web site for more.

Project Transportation on Ometepe Island

Ometepe Project Transportation
Ometepe Project Transportation - hold on!

Transportation is a problem. We will sometimes be taking local buses to get around, although our survey area is within walking distance of the hacienda. The buses are great fun, but often run at inconvenient times. Project members will need patience, a sense of humor, and enjoyment of the unexpected.

The people of Ometepe are very friendly and hospitable. We will be on the side of the island that is somewhat more isolated and less populated. There will be little or no night-life or entertainment, except spectacular sunsets, conversation, reading, and maybe card games.

There are increasing numbers of backpackers who stay at Hacienda Magdalena, so you will probably meet and share bathrooms with people from all over the world. There is a good beach a short bus ride away for weekend relaxation and you can also swim off a rocky beach in the town of Balgües near the Hacienda. Expect to see beautiful birds, gorgeous butterflies, and howler monkeys. For a challenge, hike the volcano to see its crater lake.

Find out more about volunteering for the current Ometepe Archaeological Project field season.

hacienda magdalena view
View from the Hacienda Magdalena to the Volcán Concepción