San Ramón Waterfall, Ometepe (100% Worth The Hike)

On the steep slopes of Ometepe’s Maderas Volcano, you’ll find the breathtaking San Ramón Waterfall.

Reaching the stunning waterfall requires a hard climb in tropical climates. But for those who make it, the reward is great.

The waterfall is a slice of paradise in the thick jungle and humid conditions. And, a refreshing swim in the waterfall’s pool is almost obligatory after the tough hike.

Intrigued and want to know more? This post contains all the information you need to know to get to and hike one of the best waterfalls in Nicaragua successfully.

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The beautiful San Ramon waterfall in its jungle surroundings, greenery covers all areas of the rock where water doesn't fall

About San Ramón Waterfall Nicaragua

San Ramón is a stunning waterfall – or cascada in Spanish – on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua.

Ometepe is an island in the land-locked Lake Nicaragua, formed by two volcanos. The waterfall itself is located on the southwestern side of Volcano Maderas – the smaller of the two Ometepe volcanos.


The waterfall is absolutely huge.

How huge? That I can’t tell you.

A search on the internet brings results of anywhere between 30 and 145 metres! And to be honest, it’s quite hard to know as you’re standing at the bottom looking almost vertically up.

If I was to guess, I would say the waterfall is around 60 to 75 metres tall. But, quite simply, it’s stunning and that’s all that matters!


The pool at the bottom of the waterfall isn’t very deep, maybe only a metre at most. So, it’s not the best for swimming.

But it is great for cooling off, standing underneath the waterfall and getting awesome pictures. As it means you can stand right underneath the falling water.

Spring Water

Another cool fact to know about the San Ramón Waterfall Ometepe is that it’s the water source for the whole island. If you run a tap anywhere on the island, you’ll be getting volcanic spring water – which is safe to drink.

As such, the water is completely safe to drink from the waterfall or stream running downhill. In fact, you’ll even see the water pipes running along the hiking trail, carrying the water down the volcano.

I would still recommend using a water filter bottle and only collecting water from a fast-flowing section of the stream. Avoid scooping water from more stagnant areas where insects or moss may have collected.

Best time to Visit

Like much of Central America, Nicaragua only has two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.

  • Rainy season: May to October. Expect afternoon downpours
  • Dry season: November to April. Scorching temperatures and very few days of rain

As the island’s water source, the Ometepe waterfall rarely runs dry. But, with climate change and ever-unpredictable weather, the end of the dry season (March and April) is when there’s most likely to be very little water.

Visit anytime between May and February to experience the full force of nature at this Nicaragua waterfall.

The waterfall is mostly visited by backpackers and international tourists and as such visitor numbers don’t fluctuate much across the week.

Visit early in the day during the week for the best chance of seeing this waterfall alone or with a few other visitors around.

Zoe stood under a rainbow at the base of the waterfall, which towers above her. She is wearing a black bikini and has both arms in the air

The Cascada San Ramón Hike

Finding the Entrance to the Waterfall

The entrance to the waterfall – well to the hiking trail – is located at the Ometepe Biological Field Station. See the location on Google Maps here.

The field station is located on the NN-226 road. More simply it’s the circular road around Volcano Maderas on the eastern side of the island.

Entrance Fee

100 Cordobas per person. This is payable at the entrance from the roadside where there is a manned booth.


50 Cordobas per vehicle including scooters and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

There’s parking at the entrance for cars, motorbikes, scooters and bicycles at the field station. The area is gated and staff who man the entrance supervise the area.

But, if you have an ATV you can continue 2 km higher up the trail to a parking area nearer the waterfall. It’s possible – but probably not sensible – to get here with a scooter as the trail is very uneven, rocky and steep.

Driving to the higher-up parking means going along a trail that goes from paved to rough and rocky pretty quickly.

This parking area is not supervised but is very safe. And most people leave their helmets on their vehicles rather than carrying them up the volcano.

Try and park in the shade or you’ll have a really hot seat to come back to!

A zoomed in look at the top of the waterfall, taken from the base.

Hiking to San Ramón Waterfall

The walk is entirely uphill on the way to Cascada San Ramón Nicaragua and entirely downhill on the way back. This also makes it quicker on the way back, so that’s a perk.

Remember, the sun sets around 6 pm all year in Nicaragua.

So, you need to make sure you start your Ometepe waterfall hike in plenty of time to reach the waterfall and return before it gets dark. Walking time is really dependent on your fitness and how much you stop.

From the field station

  • The San Ramón hike is 4.5 km each way – although the sign says 3 km (it’s definitely longer)
  • Hiking up will likely take you anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, and slightly quicker down.
  • The first 3 km are a combination of paved roads and rocky, uneven paths. It’s a long slog in a hot climate!
  • You’ll reach a small area where the path gets narrower next to a flattened parking area. Follow the directions below to get the rest of the way.

From the ATV parking

  • The drive up requires a lot of concentration and firm steering. And if you have a back passenger, it might be pretty uncomfy – but at least you aren’t walking!
  • From the ATV parking, it’s 1.5 km to reach San Ramón Waterfall Ometepe – passing through the jungle and walking along the stream.
  • Expect it to take 30 minutes to 1 hour to walk up and a little bit quicker down.
  • The path is easy to follow along dirt or rocky paths. When you have to cross the stream, follow the yellow markers on the trees and rocks showing you where to go.
  • While the route might be easy to follow, the climb isn’t the easiest. Especially in the latter stages, as you climb over large rocks.
  • It’s tough, but after about 1 hour you’ll be rewarded with a slice of paradise as you reach one of the coolest waterfalls in Nicaragua.

At the waterfall

It’ll be a magical moment when you first set eyes on the stunning San Ramón Waterfall Nicaragua. Suddenly, the long and sweaty walk is forgotten and you’re itching to take a plunge in the pool.

While the water is refreshing, the stones can be sharp and uncomfortable to walk on, so tread carefully! Or, pack water shoes, they’re one of my favourite travel accessories as they’re so lightweight and useful.

Looking up at San Ramon Waterfall after the long hike up the side of Volcano Maderas. The waterfall is a slim stream of water over an exposed area of rock, with bright green moss on either side


There are no facilities of any kind at the waterfall. It’s very much an unspoiled natural attraction.

At the trailhead by the Ometepe Biological Field Station, there’s a restaurant and toilets but little else. Make sure you bring everything you need for the hike with you as you won’t be able to buy anything at Waterfall of San Ramón Nicaragua.

What to Bring With You to the Ometepe Waterfall Hike

  • Trainers or strap-on walking sandals, you aren’t going to manage in flip flops or sliders
  • Plenty of water (although if you have a Lifestraw or Grayl water filter bottle bring that too and fill it up from the stream)
  • Snacks to keep you going
  • Suncream, sunglasses and a hat (if you have one)
  • Swimwear (come wearing it as there are no changing facilities), a towel and water shoes
  • Cash for paying your entrance and parking fees
  • Camera, phone and/or GoPro to get the best shots of this huge waterfall!
Volcano Concepcion on Ometepe's western side at golden hour. The volcano glows orange and green against the backdrop of a clear blue sky

How to get to San Ramón Waterfall Ometepe

From On Isla Ometepe

The best way to get around on Isla Ometepe is to rent a scooter or ATV.

Although there is a public bus system, it is – at best – sporadic and slow. Vehicle rental is an affordable option, particularly when split between two people.

Expect to pay around 20 USD a day for a scooter and 50 USD for an ATV. If you’re staying in Moyogalpa, I recommend using Dinarte’s – try and book at least a day or two in advance to avoid missing out.

The entrance to this Omtepe waterfall can be easily reached by road from anywhere on the island. The roads on the western part of Ometepe are in excellent condition and although the eastern part still has dirt roads, these are still pretty smooth.

Just don’t underestimate the size of Ometepe. Driving time from Moyogalpa is a little over 1 hour while other popular spots such as Balgue and Altagracia are 30- and 45-minute drives, respectively.

Still looking for accommodation on Isla Ometepe? Check availability and book online with…

How to Get to Ometepe

While direct ferries do sometimes operate between Granada and Ometepe a couple of times a week, the easiest and most convenient option is usually via Rivas.

From the Costa Rica border (Penas Blancas), San Juan del Sur, Popoyo, Granada and Managua you can take a bus to the town of Rivas. From here, you need to take a private taxi, collective taxi, bus or rickshaw bicycle ride to San Jorge, where the ferry port is.

You’ll then need to pay 36 Cordobas to enter the ferry port at the ticket booth at the entrance (foreigners only). And then a further 50 Cordobas for the ferry ride – payable when you’re on the boat.

The first ferry leaves San Jorge at 7 am and the last one at 5.45 pm. Going the other way, the first ferry leaves Ometepe Island at 5.30am and the last one leaves at 5.30pm. You can see the latest ferry schedule here.

The ferry crossing takes around an hour and most ferries arrive in Moyogalpa. Here, you’ll be able to find taxis to transport you to anywhere else you need to go on the island.

There is also a cheaper option to take a Lancha (35 or 45 Cordobas), which is more like a speedboat than a ferry. I’d only recommend taking this option if you have a strong stomach and a strong commitment to being bounced around for an hour!

If you have any questions or want any more information drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Prices and offerings mentioned are correct as of August 2023 but are subject to change in future.

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On Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua is the stunning San Ramon Waterfall on the slopes of Volcano Maderas

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