Ometepe is the largest volcanic island (107 square miles) within a fresh water lake in the world, and is one of the largest non-oceanic islands in the world. It sits in Lake Nicaragua, the second largest body of fresh water in Latin America.
The island encompasses a dramatic range of altitude, topography, and climate. Its two volcanic peaks—forested, dormant Volcán Maderas and active Volcán Concepción—are joined by a low wetland isthmus. As a result, Ometepe boasts an extraordinarily diverse mosaic of forest and wetland habitats. It supports a dazzling array of species, including an endemic salamander and endemic orchid. The island is of particular importance for neo-tropical birds that migrate to Central and South America from the north. UNESCO declared the entire island a Biosphere Reserve in 2012.
A building there is currently used as a field base for volunteer park rangers and tour guides. Seacology, with our partner NGO, Fauna & Flora International, is funding the renovation of the building so it can serve as a center for visitors exploring the trails that extend over 5.3 miles into Maderas Volcano National Park. The grant will also fund an outdoor exhibit to educate tourists about the park. The permanent presence of park rangers, who are also tour guides, will allow better oversight of park visitors and enforcement of regulations.