Lake Nicaragua...the 10th biggest freshwater lake in the world...and home to the only freshwater sharks in the world. With the San Juan River flowing out of the lake all the way into the Caribbean, one can cross almost all of Nicaragua by boat. In fact, many Americans did just that during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Nicaragua with its lake and river and the narrower Panamanian isthmus were the two main crossing routes in those days. In fact, there was a whole section of the Panama Canal Museum in Panama dedicated to the misbehavior of the ´49s in Panama. Mark Twain actually traveled through Nicaragua on his way from San Francisco to the east coast in 1866, and apparently really enjoyed the experience. This was all before the trans-continental railroad was completed of course.
The ferry from San Carlos on the east side of the lake over to Isla Ometepe took about 11 hours. With a 2:30 pm departure we arrived very late. I showed up around 1:45 for the alleged 2:00 departure...this would be important as all the good spots to hang your hammock were already taken. I didn´t have a hammock anyway, but could have bought one for $2. People would just string them up whereever. It helps to be in the know sometimes.