Since Aura Organics is an eco friendly and organic company I thought it would be a good idea to educate myself a little more about organic farming and self sustained living.
What better way to do this then go and spend some time working in an organic farm.
Not any old organic farm of course as it's not fun unless it's an adventure.
Zipolote organic farm and community in Ometepe Island Nicaragua.
After a long journey by plane, bus and then a choppy boat ride from Rivas across Lake Nicaragua we finally arrived at Ometepe.
The first views of the island as you pull in are extremely impressive. All you see is the huge volcano Conception towering high above everything.
Ometepe is a special place since the island is formed from two volcanoes.
The smaller inactive Mederas on the south of the island and the huge active volcano Conception on the north side.
Zipolote is on the south side. It's about another hour by bus and a short hike up through the jungle.
You will know you are in the right place when you see the yellow bus shop. This out of place little school bus sells some of Zipolote's organic produce. Food, cosmetics and even home made organic chocolate liqueur.
The community spreads over a large part of the jungle with various types of sleeping accommodation from camping to private cabins and even hammocks. We opted for a cabin dorm room with a cute thatched roof.
All the toilets are outside compost toilets and there are various outdoor showers dotted around. Some with electricity but most without.
A cold outdoor shower with the sounds of the jungle and the sun beating down on my skin is something I particularly enjoy, but if you are thinking of visiting you may want to bare in mind there are no luxuries here.
First stop was the organic cafe for some breakfast. All the food is grown on site and cooked fresh. I had a delicious omelette with a crisp organic side salad but there are loads of great options. I recommend the chilli pasta, curry and beet burger. The cafe is the main chill out area in Zipolote and it looks straight out into the jungle so you can just sit and watch the various birds, beatles and lizards. Maybe if you are lucky you will even see a monkey.
Office with a view!!
Free Yoga is a twice a day activity in Zipolote. It is the first yoga class I have ever taken outdoors and they use natural grass mats which are surprisingly comfortable.
There are a few teachers practicing different styles and I even took a class in Thai massage!
Zipolote have a large farm area which they call the gardens. This is where they grow all the organic fruit and veg and even tobacco.
Working on the farm is mainly about learning how to pick the various plants, how to water them and there is a lot of digging involved.
You will also get to help making the organic products like chocolates, peanut butter and of course skin care.
Volcanic soils are some of the most fertile soils in the world. Which is why Ometepe with its two volcanoes is home to so many organic farms.
Volcanic soils also known as Andisols are fertile due to their non-crystalline mineral content. This bonds well with organic matter. They are powdery and retain a high percentage of water which is beneficial for plant growth.
The evidence of this can be witnessed everywhere on this lush green island.
Organic farm with volcano view
As for the rest of the Island there is so much to explore. If you are a fan of day hikes then this is your paradise with so many to choose from and all so different.
San Ramon waterfall is a steep 3 hour climb with great opportunities to spot monkeys and all sorts of beautiful butterflies
The waterfall itself has a magical secret fairy garden like feel.
It is 60 ft high and covered in luscious moss in what seems like the perfect clearing at the top of the jungle. If you are lucky and get there at the right time of day you will see colourful rainbows right over the shallow pool which invites a welcoming cool dip after the sweaty climb.
If you fancy a chill day in the sun then there is the beautiful Ojo de Aqua (eye of the water), a clear blue natural pool surrounded by jungle.
And of course not forgetting the two main attractions.
The volcano Conception hike which is the harder of the two is a steep hike taking 10 hours there and back including some dangerous muddy climbs. On a clear day you are rewarded with some amazing views of the island and the steaming centre of the active volcano.
Maderas is the easier of the two hikes taking 6 hours but is still dangerous and you need a guide. In the centre of the volcano is a beautiful jade green lake surrounded by greenery. It's a stunning site and definitely worth the climb.
Ometepe has definitely hit the Aura Organics top ten places in the world list. It's not just exploring this beautiful unspoilt island that won our hearts but seeing how a small organic farm run by a community of people cannot only feed them but also provide enough food to run a busy restaurant.
We learnt some great recipes for organic nut butter, bean burgers and even natural insect repellent.
These will be posted shortly in our food and skincare so keep an eye out!
If you have any questions about Ometepe or anything else you see in our blog feel free to email we will be happy to help.