My Forbidden Love Affair With A Dirty Hog

Ometepe Nicaragua Dirtbike Ride
Is This How I Turn You On?
Ometepe, Nicaragua

In only 24 hours I managed to get pulled over by cops, crash my motorcycle, spend a night on the beach, and catch over 20 fish in 10 minutes.

Touring around the small villages of Isla de Ometepe with a rented dirtbike turned out to be quite a little adventure.

It all started when I boarded a ferry at San Jorge and headed across Lake Nicaragua to Isla de Ometepe. The island is formed by two different volcanoes, Concepcion & Maderas. It’s the largest volcanic island surrounded by fresh water in the world.

Within the giant cosmopolitan city of Moyogalpa (pop. 2900), I found just the girl I was looking for. She was fast, cheap, and loved to get dirty.

A small 150cc powered off-road hog who I named Bertha.

It was love at first sight!

Ometepe Nicaragua Cows
Ometepe Traffic Jam

A Secret Mistress

Bertha was a cheap date. I could ride her for 24 hours and it would only cost me $25.

Our goal? Encircle the island on a whirlwind honeymoon tour while getting into as much mischief as we could along the way!

The adventure began by zipping South down the paved road from Moyogalpa and then East along the Southern coast. There was seldom any other traffic, except an occasional slow moving tractor or herd of cows blocking the entire road.

Ometepe’s primary source of income is agriculture & livestock, which means we passed farm after farm of plantain banana trees, and not much else.

Oh yeah, I guess the beautiful volcanoes that framed the landscape around us should be mentioned too.

In the afternoon we pulled off the side of the road to Ojos de Agua, a (cold) natural spring in the middle of the forest. Bertha doesn’t know how to swim, so I cooled off in the refreshing crystal-clear water with some other women while she watched jealously.

She knew the magnetic power she held over me though… I’d come back to her eventually.

Ometepe Nicaragua Police
Officer Manuel Tries to Pull a Fast One!

Trouble With the Law

Back on the road we headed north to the isthmus that divides the two volcanoes, and then East again crossing over to the area around Volcano Maderas. Suddenly, a police officer armed with an automatic rifle walks out into the middle of the street signaling for us to stop.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous.

What did he want? Were we speeding? Had we broken some unknown law?

He asked for our papers. I opened my wallet and handed him my license… but I couldn’t find Bertha’s documents!

Then I remembered I had put them in a separate pocket.

He looked everything over as he walked to the back of the bike…

“¿Dónde está tu placa?” (Where is your license plate?)


Ometepe Nicaragua Volcano Evacuation
An Ominous Sign?

Forbidden Love

It seems Bertha and I were engaged in a forbidden relationship. We were traveling together in sin, without proper marriage documents, and that didn’t go over to well in these here parts…

The officer stood in silence looking at my open wallet – I think he wanted a bribe to keep quiet about it!

But then he finally noticed the video camera strapped to my helmet. :)

He smiled for the camera and waved us on.

Ometepe Nicaragua Volcano Sunset
Enjoying a Romantic Sunset Together

Scandalous Relationships

At the dark sands of Santa Domingo Beach, the pavement disappeared. This is when the real fun began! The road got rough, and we powered up steep hills covered with boulders and plunged headlong into creeks that crossed our path.

Motoring through small towns like Santa Cruz & Merida, we waved to friendly locals who passed by on motorcycles, bikes, horses, and on foot.

At one point Bertha and I stopped to watch a lively soccer game, but unfortunately we didn’t go unnoticed. At least 75 people turned to stare at us.

Scandalous inter-racial (inter-mechanical maybe?) relationships such as ours in the midst of these very religious communities will always attract attention!

Ometepe Nicaragua Santa Domingo Beach
Early Morning at Santa Domingo

Camping on the Beach

It was getting late, and I needed to find a place to set up my hammock to spend the night.

We weren’t sure we’d make it to another beach before dark if we continued in the same direction – so we turned around to head back to Playa Santa Domingo, because it looked like an ideal spot to camp.

I had to sleep alone though, because Bertha weighed 300lbs and the hammock would’t support the both of us…

A light rain started falling in the middle of the night (it was the beginning of rainy season after all) and I put up a tarp to keep dry.

Ometepe Nicaragua Fishing Net
Fishing on Lake Nicaragua

Speed Fishing

In the morning we struck out again and reached another beach on the South Eastern corner of the island. I stopped to rest while I watched a woman & some children fishing off the shore with a giant net. It looked like they could use some help.

The woman in charge gave me a big smile, and proceeded to show me what to do. Her and I were going to pull the net in, while the kids swam around unhooking it from snags underwater. This was hard work! Not as easy as I initially thought it would be.

The net was massive, maybe 120 ft (40m) wide and 60 ft (20m) out into the water. But after 10 minutes of straining with all our might, we had pulled in a catch of some 20 or so flopping fish! Screw a fishing rod, I’m using a net from now on. :D

I said goodbye to the family, and continued on with Bertha in order to finish circling the island.

Ometepe Nicaragua Dirt Biking
Is He Checkin’ Out My Woman!?

The Big Crash

Around the little village of Punta Gorda, the road gets pretty rough. I had quite a workout maneuvering my mistress up and down steep sections of trail while winding through boulders. She stalled out on me a few times when I didn’t change gears fast enough…

I was now feeling much more confident in my ability to man-handle her though, so when we approached a calmer section of dirt track I opened her up a bit! My adrenaline level was high as we flew down the rocky road, bouncing around at 30 mph.

But then we hit a soft patch of sand.

I hit the breaks (bad idea) while Bertha’s backside slid out from under me. Luckily I jumped clear so she wouldn’t crush my leg as she crashed to the ground!

We were both a little rattled, but unharmed. :)

After crossing more streams, muddy paths, and paved roads again, we ended our honeymoon excursion back in the town of Moyogalpa; wet, dirty, and exhausted.

Sadly our wild 24 hour love-affair had come to an end. It was time to go our separate ways… But we’ll always have the memories.

Watch Video: Ometepe Dirtbike Adventure

(Click to watch Ometempe Dirtbike Adventure on Vimeo)

Travel Planning Resources for Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua
Company: Hospedaje Central
Cost: $25 US moto rental, $5 US in gas

Packing Guide

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Protect Your Trip

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I hope you enjoyed this story from Ometepe, Nicaragua! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have you ever had a steamy love-affair?,>


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, beautiful photos, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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Comments (32)

  1. Great tip! I read this post in March while I was staying at Hospedaje Central and trying to find a good place to rent a moto – there are some scammers on the island (locals said to avoid the place up by the church). I ended up renting from Central and had a great experience. Biking Ometepe was the highlight of Nicaragua, no doubt.

  2. Headed solo to Ometepe after a few days in Little Corn Island. I am so excited to rent an atv and explore! Thanks for the video!!!

  3. Man, I did the same thing with my girlfriend. We rented a bike in Santa Cruz and toured the whole island for like 35$. Best experience of my life.

  4. Thanks Matt. This brings back memories of 30 plus years ago when I traipsed about West Africa on a bike. NOT a dirt bike though because such things were not available in Nigeria where I was living. After all these years am I up to another such adventure? I would like to think so. I have been interested in Costa Rica and Belize of late but Nicaragua is now pulling me. I was accosted by cops and border guards on SO MANY occasions. Always waited it out though. Today with digital cameras (GoPro!) I would love to re-live the adventurous spirit of my younger days.

  5. Matt. Can you tell me which GoPro camera you used for this trip? The outdoor or motorsports edition? Also, do you have any other accessories attached or is that the natural sound through the built-in microphone? I am looking to purchase one and really like the quality of the video in addition to the reviews through the website link you have attached. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  6. This is excessively cheesy, and I like it.

    I was never bothered by the Nica cops….the Brazilians, however, love to frisk me! 5 times so far! LOL!

    Keep it up man.


  7. I loved reading about your adventures in Ometepe, my super favorite place in Nicaragua =)) You really brought me back. Wanna know something funny?? I was also stopped while riding a rented bike, but luckily had all the bike’s paperwork!! I think we ran into the same fishing lady with her children, off a real bad path in Merida right?? A huge dog & his buddies chased us as the sun was setting and scared the hell out of me!!! Luckily no crash involved either hahahaha BTW Yes he was totally checking her out!!! ;)

  8. That was a very enjoyable read! :D I don’t know about Central America, but in South America young men on motorcycles normally means trouble; I’m sure the officer was just jealous, though. :D

  9. So, 150cc’s gets you excited. You’ve been out too long. Time for a 9-5 desk job. You’ll have to drop the doo rag though, a tie in it’s place. No hammocks, no fishing nets, no beaches. The bike looks like a neat way to get around. Not “Easy Rider” caliber but nice. That’s unusual pavement they have there. I wouldn’t want to meet those critters on a blind curve. Now remember you and little bikes don’t get along sometimes.

  10. Hi Matthew,

    Looks like great fun and a good way to get off the beaten track.

    I hope you used a good old L. American whining, pleading, long drawn out ‘No se’ like the bandido you were. :-)

    I’m looking out for the video!

  11. Mate that is an awesome post. I also had a crash due to the wrong gear with the quad on the way up to the waterfall, pretty painful!

    Ometepe is a great place. I loved it there last month!

  12. I’m surprised the officer let you go after noticing the video camera. I would have guessed that would make him more annoyed. Great that it worked out though.

    • Well technically he never asked for a bribe yet. So he had nothing to worry about…

      I got that photo of him on my way back around, and stopped to chat for a bit. He was a good guy. I heard from a local that working in the military pays $150 US a month. Who knows how much Manuel get’s paid as a cop. Can’t blame him for trying! :)

  13. dude you crack me up man! lol Nice though she only costs you $25 for a day, as there is nothing better then riding in a new area I think on your own and just taking left and rights at random.

  14. This post made me laugh. I loved how told the sotry and I love that I know everything you are tlaking about on that island. I took a chicken bus all the way to Merida & well yeah that was interesting all on it’s own. I miss Isla de Ometepe, that place so was so relaxed and just awesome. Hell I miss Nicaragua a lot one day I’ll come back to explore some more.