“We originally came to Ometepe to work at the Hospedaje Central,” said the homeowner, “that was before we heard the rumours of the violent cult going on behind it.”
When we arrived back on Ometepe Island, we were tired, thirsty and ready to put our feet up. We dumped our bags and headed right over to Hospedaje Central (also known as El Indio Viejo) for some passionfruit juice and cheap Tonas. The hostel is one of the bigger and more lively joints in town, attracting a lot of young, free-spirited backpackers. Rainbow coloured ribbons hang from wide basket lamp shades, the walls are shabby and the ceiling is exposed bare barn house timbers. Everything is painted in bright colours, from the bar stools to the murals on the walls.
We’d been to Hospedaje Central countless times on our previous trip because it’s one of the few restaurants in town that is actually open on a predictable basis, and it’s cheaper and more vegetarian-friendly than many of the alternatives. I also heard that they grew some of their own produce on an organic finca, and I never object to that kind of thing. We never stayed there, namely because we found a friendlier, cheaper guesthouse with better wifi just down the road – and because that chilled/spaced out, hippy vibe isn’t really our scene.
No further thoughts about the place had crossed our minds…
That’s when we met the homeowners of our house sit on Ometepe Island.”We originally came to Ometepe to work at the Hospedaje Central,” one of the homeowners told us while we were walking down the street in Moyogalpa. “That was before we heard the rumours of the violent cult going on behind it.”
After living on the island for the past ten years and being more proactive when it comes to investigative journalism than most, they’d dug up quite a story. Having originally moved to the island to volunteer at the Hospedaje Central, they quickly realised something wasn’t quite right about the place. After some research they uncovered information showing that the people behind the hostel were also involved with a dangerous cult. Under the guise of a colourful hippie hostel and a sustainable eco farm for volunteers, the cult was seeking out new recruits.
The homeowners subsequently published the findings on their personal blog.
While I won’t go into the gruesome details of the activities the cult are involved with here, I wanted to make anyone travelling to Ometepe Island in the future aware of the situation. When we had heard the whole story, Luke and I were both taken aback. The story is a difficult one to read with some very upsetting content which has been sourced from various articles, interviews and documentaries.
Read the full story on Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua.