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"Out of the midst of the beautiful Lake Nicaragua spring two magnificent pyramids, clad in the softest and richest green, all flecked with shadow and sunshine, whose summits pierce the billowy clouds. They look so isolated from the world and its turmoil __ so tranquil, so dreamy, so steeped in slumber and eternal repose."
An island on Lake Nicaragua formed from two volcanoes, Ometepe is picturesque dreamland. It may even inspire prose, as it did with Mark Twain, who wrote the above about the island in "Travels With Mr. Brown," a series of letters to the Daily Alta California newspaper in San Francisco. And like Twain, I, too, was utterly enchanted by Ometepe.
On a guided tour in Parque Ecologico Charco Verde, a protected area between the volcanoes, we spotted birds, lizards, capuchin and howler monkeys, snakes and giant solider ants in the lush rainforest, which thrives thanks to volcanic ash that has fertilized the soil.
Like an explorer discovering a primeval paradise, I walked through the forest and down the lake's long stretches of beaches in quiet reverie. The original, native inhabitants of Ometepe considered the island their promised land, and I couldn't help but feel that they may have been right.