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Lake Nicaragua’s Monkey Island

Following our quick tour of the Plaza de la Independencia, it was off to lunch at the Toritos Hotel Restaurant & Bar on Calle Calzada, Granada.

To save time, Eric, our tour guide, had phoned in our orders and they served us as soon as all 20+ of us had our seats. (Lunch was included in the cost of the tour.)

My fish with salad and rice, served with a few wedges of lime, was light and delicious. We spent maybe 30-45 minutes at the restaurant then it was back on the bus to our next stop – Monkey Island on Lake Nicaragua.

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Climbing on to our boats

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Water lilies

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Heading to the island

At just over 3,000 square miles, Lake Nicaragua, a freshwater lake, is the largest in Central America, the nineteenth largest in the world. Numerous fish, including tarpon, sawfish and an endemic species of shark live in the lake that, in parts, reaches a depth of 85 feet.

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

An island on Lake Nicaragua

Because of its size and depth, about 400 islands dot the lake. Many are inhabited and several are privately owned by prominent Nicaraguans and some foreigners. There was even one with a For Sale sign.

Climbing on to the small craft that would take us to Monkey Island, I noticed right away that no one distributed life preservers. Was I taking a risk? I pushed that unsettling thought out of my head and relaxed into my seat.

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Island on Lake Nicaragua

A man, who looked young enough to be in high school, took the engine and soon the boat was slicing through the brown water kicking up sprays. Ours were the only two boats on the open lake and as we glided pass small islands, we trained our cameras, trying to get good shots without getting water on to the lenses.

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Island on the lake

The ride to Monkey Island took no more than 10 minutes. I was a bit disappointed that the island wasn’t larger so we could disembark but the capuchin monkeys put on a little show, jumping from rock to rock and swinging from tree to tree as if they knew they had an audience. (They are called capuchin because their color reminded the early explorers of Franciscan monks.) One even jumped into a boat that pulled in after we did. I suspect someone might have lured it with food.

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

The Volcano, Mombacho, seen from Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Bird near Monkey Island

Lake Nicaragua's Monkey Island

Capuchin Monkey on Monkey Island

We spent about 10 minutes watching the monkeys then our boatman turned us around and headed back to the pier, the mid afternoon sun shining like diamonds on the water.




  1. Thank for sharing information.

  2. The lake looks beautiful and scenic, just hope the shark species don’t make the lake dangerous for a swim.

  3. What a journey!! I would love to have my own private island! How wonderful it would be. But no monkeys in your article? Where are those little rascals? 😉
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Verona, Italy—Cultural immersion in the city of loveMy Profile

  4. Beautiful, I wish to visit someday….
    Muza-chan recently posted..Kyoto Jidai Matsuri paradeMy Profile

  5. Still seems like you managed to cram a lot in a day.

    Now what are you up to as you’ve fallen off the map.
    Leigh recently posted..Travel News from Around the World: October 24, 2014 EditionMy Profile

  6. What a wonderful little place, the natural surroundings are always alluring. The fact that there were no crowds is actually a good thing too! Have a lovely day Marcia 🙂
    Arti recently posted..Rediscovering ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ In A Foreign LandMy Profile

  7. Another interesting post, I always learn something!
    Patti recently posted..First Impressions ~My Profile

  8. This tour looks really great – your pictures are fab and really bring it to life! This is going on my bucket list 🙂

  9. Too bad you didn’t get to set foot on Monkey Island, but at least you saw a lot of monkeys from your boat right? And no life jackets? Scary!
    Aleah | recently posted..Backpacking South America – Tentative ItineraryMy Profile

  10. I love small islands like this. Beautiful photos, hope you enjoyed your time there.

  11. I’d love to sail Lake Nicaragua and visit the Monkey island someday. Will the lake be affected by the interoceanic canal they are digging through Nicaragua at the moment?
    Mette recently posted..5 things to do in La SpeziaMy Profile

  12. Lovely day for being on the water. I always have an unsettling feeling when I get on a boat in SEA. Very seldom are life preservers mentioned or in sight!
    Nancie ( recently posted..Traditional Medical Hall in Penang for Travel Photo ThursdayMy Profile

  13. The place is so beautiful and relaxing to visit. You did the great photo shoot on this trip. Thanks for sharing this trip on the Monkey Island. I hope I can visit here one day with my family.

  14. Ooh, I would love to have my own private island, although preferably one without monkeys as they can be quite a nuisance. Too bad you couldn’t disembark and perhaps lucky that a monkey didn’t board your boat.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Penang’s colonial past at the Old Protestant CemeteryMy Profile

  15. I did, Leigh. We managed to do quite a bit.