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Top Nicaragua

Hiking and Trekking in Nicaragua - Hiking - Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s abundance of volcanoes and natural reserves makes for numerous hiking opportunities. Trek through cloud and rainforest, enjoy city and ocean panoramas from the slopes, peer into craters, visit coffee plantations, and spot ocelots, macaws and butterflies. The Pacific lowlands and Central highlands have the largest and best selection of hikes, and there are trails for every skill level throughout the country. Hiring a guide is mandatory in order to access many volcano trails.

Pacific lowlands

Here, a chain of volcanoes—dormant and active—runs parallel to the ocean, stretching from north to south. Several are suitable for hikes, including Volcán Telíca. Reach its crater and you may catch a glimpse of boiling lava over 30 meters (100 ft) below. The massive San Cristóbal—El Viejo to the locals, spews smoke and ash, and provides a challenging climb with outstanding scenery. The squat Volcán Cosigüina, sitting on a peninsula in the far northwest, is a less difficult ascent. From its crater edge you can see the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras and El Salvador. Wetland hikes in the area are also rewarding, with swathes of mangrove trees and, if you time it right, flocks of migratory birds. Just half an hour from Managua, you can hike to the smoking Santiago crater in Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya. For a demanding trek, test the steep, rocky trails of Volcán Momotombo. Near Granada, Volcán Mombacho has a wealth of wildlife, including howler and white face monkeys, deer, and endemic salamander. After hiking the barren slopes of young Cerro Negro, run (or ski) down a scree slope to the bottom in several minutes. Guided hikes are offered in the Reserva Silvestre Privada Domitil, a dry tropical rainforest brimming with plants and wildlife. The volcanic cones of Maderas and Concepción that form Isla Ometepe in Lake Cocibolca are popular trekking destinations. Hike dormant, forest-covered Maderas or smoking, dominant Concepción—from banana plantations, up through dense forest—for views of the island, lake and mainland. The top of Chico Largo, a small hill on Ometepe, is a great place to watch the sunset.

Central highlands

Central Nicaragua is home to the country’s highest mountain range, the Cordillera Isabella. Hike an extensive set of trails through cloud forest and coffee farms. You can even navigate the landmine-laced Pico Mogoton on the Honduran border. In the north you’ll also find Nicaragua’s biggest biosphere reserve, Bosawás. Nearly two million acres in size, this largely uncharted, densely forested area has a host of trails of varying difficulty. The Peñas Blancas Massif, which forms part of the reserve, makes for great sightseeing. It is home to tapirs and pumas. The town of Matagalpa is a good base to from which to explore Cerros Apante and El Toro. Cerro El Arenal, located in a natural reserve, has excellent paths and diverse flora and fauna. Near Jinotega, Cerro La Cruz gets plenty of visitors to the cross on its summit. If you hike in the Reserva Natural Miraflor, you can overnight in one of five communities in three different microclimates. Views of neighboring Honduras and El Salvador can be had from Meseta Tisey-Estanzuela, and there’s a 36-meter high waterfall and swimming hole at popular Salta Estanzuela. Follow the Río Coco through a more-than-a-kilometer-long canyon at Somoto, where cliff walls stretch as high as 200 meters.

Caribbean lowlands

Hike around the 2.9 square kilometer Little Corn Island. Sections of it are unsettled, and highlights include a walk up to a lighthouse and climbing an area known as El Bluff.



Here are other activities in and around Nicaragua that may be of interest: Hiking Cerro Apante, Reserva Natural Miraflor , Hiking to La Cebadilla, Santiago Crater, Hiking Mombacho, Northward Nicaragua Tours, Cerro La Cruz, Reserva Silvestre Privada Domitila, Grand Canyon of Somoto and Volcán Maderas Hike.

12 Aug 2009

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