Hacienda Merida fits the rural atmosphere that is prevalent throughout Isla de Ometepe. It's a bit rough around the edges and the staff are not the friendliest or most helpful but there are a lot of activities available from the hostel and it is a good base to launch an attack on the Maderas Volcano.
Hacienda Merida is a little way past Merida the village on the lake shore below the Maderas Volcano. The cheapest way to get there is by taking the ferry/lancha from San Jorge to Moyogalpa. From there you have to take a very very slow bus to Merida -- only some of the buses head to that side of the island, so you might have a bit of a wait. From the road you walk a couple of meters down the driveway -- it's not too well sign-posted but you'll eventually get to the reception. There are one or two little shops in Merida but not much else. One of the routes up the volcano is nearby and there are a couple of places to see by kayak along the shoreline.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The private rooms are on the expensive side for what you get (and compared to what's on offer in other parts of the island). The dorms however are adequate and some of the bunks have very comfortable mattresses -- pick wisely. There are about six bunk beds in each dorm, a couple of fans, and shelves for your backpack. There are also camping spots available. The bathrooms are ok and the showers only have cold water.
The main common area is the hostel restaurant which has a few seating areas, inside and on the porch. It's a bit scruffy but most of Isla de Ometepe is. Internet is on offer, you pay once for your stay and it's a bit expensive if you are only there for a night or two, in the evenings it is also taken over by local school kids to do homework. The restaurant is pretty good value, they have a breakfast and lunch menu and offer famous dinner and breakfast buffets when there are enough guests -- don't always count on it though. There are a number of activities that can be organised from the hostel including hikes, boat rides, and kayaks. There is tons of information available in the hostel regarding these. Volunteering for a number of projects that the hostel is involved in is also possible.
Overall it's not a bad place to stay -- it's a bit rough around the edges, the staff aren't the friendliest, and it hasn't got to much of an atmosphere but it's a good option to reach the sights on this side of the island and has everything you should need for your stay.
by Mark Hosking
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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