The best of Nicaragua—a hiking, kayaking, & wildlife adventure tour
With some 40 volcanoes, vast freshwater caldera lakes, and the second largest rainforest in the Americas, Nicaragua is the next great eco destination. Discover the country’s many habitats as you kayak through a 300-island archipelago on Lake Nicaragua, hike through verdant cloud forest on Volcan Mombacho, and marvel at pre-Columbian artifacts on an island volcano. Spot monkeys, macaws, and other jungle wildlife in the diversity hotspots of Rio San Juan and the Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve. Visit vibrant markets and artisan studios in the pueblo blanco of Catarina, and explore the lovely colonial town of Granada. This active adventure is great for families, so let our expert local guides introduce you to the hidden wonders of Nicaragua.
- Explore Central America’s hottest emerging eco destination, accompanied by expert naturalist guides
- Watch for incredibly diverse wildlife as you kayak through multiple islets and hike forest-clad volcanoes
- Stay in historic colonial Granada with horse drawn carriages and be transported to a different time unchanged by modernity
Duration: 9 days Start Location: Managua End Location: ManaguaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Managua – Laguna de Apoyo
Arrive in Managua and be transferred to the Apoyo eco-lodge on the banks of Apoyo Lagoon, a 500-foot-deep caldera lake.
Day 2 : Volcan Mombacho – Catarina
Morning hike through the cloud forest of Volcan Mombacho with a local naturalist guide. Visit the artisan markets of Catarina, one of many pueblos blancos ("white villages") of the area, and enjoy a private tour of artists' studios. Return to the lodge to swim in the lagoon; kayaks and small sailboats are also available for exploring.
Day 3 : Granada – Las Isletas
After an early morning birding excursion, transfer to Granada, a town on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, then head to the lake for a day of kayaking through a beautiful archipelago of more than 300 islands.
Day 4 : Zapatera National Park
Take a boat to Zapatera National Park, an island that's an extinct volcano in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, where you'll explore several important archaeological sites rich in pre-Columbian artifacts. Optional hike to the summit of Zapatera Volcano (2,063') through lush tropical forests abounding in wildlife.
Day 5 : Transfer to Sabalos Lodge
Transfer by plane (or land transfer depending on changing flight schedules) to the rainforests of the Río San Juan, on the southeastern border, a Conservation International Mega-Diversity Hotspot for wildlife.
Day 6 : El Castillo – Río San Juan
Explore the area by kayak, canoe, raft, motorized boat, and on foot, including a hike into the nearby Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve. Chance for nighttime spotting of caimans!
Day 7 : Río San Juan
We will have a number of different activity options today. After a full day in the rainforest we’ll have an optional trip to spot caimans at night near the lodge.
Day 8 : Return to Managua
Optional birding in the morning, followed by a flight back to Managua. Afternoon tour of some of Managua's museums and art galleries.
Day 9 : Departure
DATES: Best time to go: January - February, September - December Departures: Dec 20 - 28, 2014 Feb 7 - 15, 2015 Mar 14 - 22, 2015 Aug 8 - 16, 2015 Dec 19 - 27, 2015
$3,395 (6 - 12 members)
Hotel Los Robles
Situated in Granada, Hotel Plaza Colon is in the historical district and close to Granada Cathedral, Parque Central, and Mi Museo Granada Collection. Also nearby are Church of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes and Church of Xalteva.
This romantic hotel features two restaurants. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. Additional amenities include an outdoor pool, laundry facilities, and a safe deposit box at the front desk.
Apoyo ResortLaguna de Apoyo
Apoyo Resort comprises 60 villas & 8 apartments situated on a hillside adjacent to a nature reserve offering accommodation, meals, and access to a swimming beach. The resort has been designed to blend into the environment, and take advantage of crater, lake and mountain views. The Villas have 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms with a/c . These villas are made with mainly natural materials and allow you to feel the nature around you. Internet access and phone is available at the reception desk. Access to villas is by safari car from the main reception area.
The Laguna de Apoyo ecosystem is one of Central America’s most unique environments, and an ecosystem unto itself. It is truly exotic and one of a kind. Within the lake and amongst the forested hillside on which the property sits can be found: 200 species of birds (65 migratory) – including toucans, hummingbirds, oropendulas, parrots, and falcons; 220 butterfly species; Howler and white-face monkeys; 500 species of plants and tropical dry trees – including mahogany, black rosewood, and orchids. Also fish species found nowhere else in the world
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Mark Willuhn has been leading tours in Mesoamerica since 1996, and his enthusiasm for ancient Maya culture and tropical ecosystems has taken him through southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Mark is passionate about sharing his knowledge of the region, and believes the best way to understand its culture and natural wonders is firsthand, by hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. His dedication to the area's rich natural and cultural heritage means he works with local guides, operators and conservation organizations. Mark has an undergraduate degree in forestry from Colorado State University and an MBA from San Francisco State University. He has guest lectured at the graduate level at Colorado State University, participated and presented at numerous workshops relating to micro-enterprise development and sustainable tourism, and facilitated numerous planning workshops. Mark's vast knowledge and knack for storytelling makes this area's culture and history come alive.