Overland Traveller



Hotel Finca del Sol, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Best for… quirky eco with a view

Hotel Finca del Sol © Craig FastThe ferry ride across Lake Nicaragua to Isla de Ometepe was rocky. The road from the port to Santa Cruz was rough. And the path from the main road to Hotel Finca del Sol wasn’t the kindest to my wheely suitcase. In other words, I wasn’t in the best of tempers when I arrived.

All that was very quickly put to rights by the Loft Room. Lugging my bag up the stairs, I found myself gazing out at cloud-capped Concepción Volcano, the highest of the two volcanoes that make up Isla de Ometepe. It wasn’t just the view that caught my frayed attention: it was the positioning of two rocking chairs in front of one of the room’s open sides, strategically positioned to perfectly take in the view.

The Loft, Hotel Finca del Sol © Craig FastThe room is hexagonal with two completely open sides. The floor is made of polished hardwood, converging in the middle around a polished, gnarled tree trunk encircled by a wide, shallow spiral staircase. The roof is constructed from palm leaves and the walls are adobe.

The toilets are composting, but don’t let that put you off. Using them was an entirely guilt-free pleasure. Apart from the fact that there was absolutely no smell (the waste is removed to composting heaps on a daily basis), the bathrooms are mosaicked, spacious and heaped with quirky touches like colourful sinks. The showers are cold, but you wouldn’t want hot ones in this climate, believe me. Without it becoming an in-your-face issue, consideration for the environment pervades every part of Finca del Sol. 

Night time view from The Loft, Hotel Finca del Sol © Craig FastAll very impressive, but that’s not the half of it. Canadian-Italian owners, Sheri and Cristiano, built the place themselves using mostly local materials, where possible from their own land.

The adobe, used in the construction of the Loft building and two cabaňas scattered in the hotel’s liberal grounds, is made from clay taken from the hotel’s 12.5 acre farm, horse dung from four horses they used to own and straw from organic rice grown on the premises. Pretty remarkable, huh? On top of that, the wooden fixtures and fittings, including the beds, window frames and shelves, were made by Cristiano and a local friend. They used mango and cedar wood primarily from their land, otherwise from the island. The stone used in the foundations was also locally sourced. Roofs are made from palm leaves, taken from island palm trees, expertly woven to form an intricate and effective water proofing.

View of Volcan Conception from Hotel Finca del Sol © Craig FastThe same stone and adobe was used to build a wood-fired oven Sheri and Cristiano use for bread, meat, roast potatoes and so on. The heat from one fire is enough for two days’ worth of cooking – they even leather fruit in there. The pair stress that they do not run a restaurant but are happy to cook breakfast and dinner for guests, given enough notice. Breakfast is a merry affair of homemade bread, scrambled eggs, fruit and coffee served in the couple’s own kitchen, whilst dinner is a more elaborate three-course affair of produce from the finca’s (farm’s) organic gardens mixed together with more than a little Italian flair.

And that’s where the beauty of Hotel Finca del Sol really lies. It’s a vision and a home as much as it is a hotel. Sheri and Cristiano strive for sustainability, to be a part of the community of Isla de Ometepe and to be as kind to the environment as physically possible. Two dogs, a cat and a small flock of sheep roam the premises. Ten varieties of orchids are carefully tended to near the kitchen. Petroglyphs found on the property adorn hibiscus-strewn flower beds, frequented by hummingbirds. The whole effect is one of being let in on a little secret.

Blue Jay at Hotel Finca del Sol © Craig FastThe truth is, if you’re holidaying on Isla de Ometepe, you probably already feel like you’re part of a secret club. It’s largely untouristed, a totally unique landscape and the people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met on my travels. And the sunsets are unparalleled. Go now, before everyone else catches on.

Hotel Finca del Sol

Santa Cruz, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Tel: (505) 8364 6394

See related features, reviews and images
Feature: 15 things to do on Isla de Ometepe
Review: Totoco Eco Lodge, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Review: Hotel La Omaja, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Images: Nicaragua - Isla de Ometepe & Granada


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