The Cult Behind Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island

“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.

Cocktail at Central Hostal Ometepe Island - Charlie on Travel

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.

Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

10 thoughts to “The Cult Behind Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island”

    1. Hey Katie – you were quick to get here! Yes, like the worst story ever!! Oh yeah, not at all, we’re down with people living like hippies but turns out they’re on quite a different path from just being hippies… We thought it was just a cool, laid-back hippy places, it hadn’t even occurred to us that there was more going on behind the scenes :/
      Charlie on Travel recently posted…The Cult Behind Hospedaje Central on Ometepe IslandMy Profile

  1. Came across your blog while doing research for my upcoming Ometepe-Trip, as I was thinking about staying at Hospedaje Central. Omg, that sounds horribly crazy. Even if only half of it is true, would’nt wanna stay there anymore…. oO

    You write about a “friendlier, cheaper guesthouse with better wifi just down the road” – can you tell me the name of it?

    Thx a lot and take care

    1. Hi Karen,

      It’s such a crazy story, isn’t it!? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it…

      The guesthouse we stayed in was a really local and very basic kind of place. It was called Hotel Casa Familiar. It’s about a block away from Hospedaje Central and costs around $12 per night, very cheap.

      There are also a number of guesthouses along the upward road from the dock in Moyogalpa that look nice (though I’ve not tried them!) including at the Corner House Cafe – where you can get the loveliest breakfast.

      Enjoy Ometepe because it’s a really wonderful, beautiful island.

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