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Nicaragua: Volcanoes, Lakes and Rainforest

From $3,395

  • 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

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.

Day 1: Arrive in Managua – Laguna de Apoyo

Arrive in Managua. Your trip leader or a representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and transfer you to an eco-resort nestled on the banks of the Apoyo Lagoon, a 500-foot-deep caldera lake set within a dry tropical forest (45-minute drive). Our accommodation is Posada Ecologica La Abuela, which boasts awe-inspiring views, a waterfront restaurant and bar, and a roaming group of monkeys! Evening “welcome” dinner and trip orientation.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Posada Ecologica La Abuela

Day 2: Volcan Mombacho – Catarina

You may be awakened by the daily chorus of howler monkeys! After breakfast we depart for a morning hike at Volcan Mombacho, located about 10 miles from our hotel. (We will have a special private tour since the park is officially closed Monday through Wednesday.) We will be greeted by our local conservation partner who manages the park—Fundacion Cocibolca—and the naturalist will give a brief overview about what makes this place so special. Lush shade-grown coffee plantations cover the lower slopes and we will have a brief stop at the coffee finca to sample some of the fresh product.

Once we arrive at the visitor center, we will have two options for exploring Mombacho’s cloud forest. One is a short hike (about a mile) with an interpretive emphasis—explaining the complex plant community, observing the many orchid species, and taking time to observe the wildlife. The second option is to hike the four-mile Jaguar Trails, which takes two to three hours with a climb of about 800 feet in elevation. Both options boast spectacular views, including Laguna Apoyo, Masaya Volcano, Lake Nicaragua, the colonial city of Granada, and the hundreds of islands called Las Isletas.

After our morning hike we will visit the charming community of Catarina for lunch and a tour of the artisan markets. We will also have a private tour of some artists’ studios for a special local cultural experience. Optional hike through the tropical forest back to our hotel or ride back on our transportation.

Back at the hotel, kayaks and small sailboats are available for those who want to get out and explore. The water is relatively warm and great for swimming. The wildlife is excellent with howler monkeys frequently visiting the fruit trees outside our rooms.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Posada Ecologica La Abuela

Day 3: Granada – Las Isletas

We will have an early morning birding option for those interested. After a leisurely breakfast we will transfer to the town of Granada on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is the oldest colonial city in Central America (founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1524) and is rich in colonial architecture. (Nicaragua's currency, the córdoba, is named after him.) After we check into our hotel we head down to the lake for a kayak paddle through a beautiful archipelago of more than 300 islands, an interesting mix of quiet backwaters filled with birds and local dwellings. We will return in the mid-afternoon with some free time to explore the charming city of Granada. Our accommodation is at the historical Hotel Alhambra, located on the central square in Granada.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Plaza Colon

Day 4: Zapatera National Park

After breakfast we go by boat to Zapatera National Park, an island that’s an extinct volcano located a few miles offshore Lake Nicaragua and about a 45-minute boat ride from Granada. We’ll spend most of the day here, exploring the important archaeological sites of La Punta de las Figuras and Zonzapote, rich in pre-Columbian artifacts. There is also a network of caves, rock art, and a small community. We can also take an optional hike to the summit of Zapatera Volcano (2,063') through lush tropical forests abounding with wildlife. We will explore this area on foot and have a picnic lunch with spectacular views of Volcan Mombacho and Lake Nicaragua.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Plaza Colon

Day 5: Transfer to Sabalos Lodge

Travel to the small community of San Carlos.  After lunch in San Carlos, we take to smaller boats and head to the rainforests of the Río San Juan, located on the southeast border with Costa Rica. This area is a Conservation International Mega-Diversity Hotspot for wildlife. Accommodation is at Sabalos Lodge, located right at the water’s edge, with howler and white-faced monkeys ready to serenade you and numerous beautiful resident birds, as well as migratory birds from North America.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

Day 6: El Castillo – Río San Juan

Over the next two days we’ll have a number of different options to explore the area by kayak, canoe, on foot, raft, and motorized boat. One of the historical highlights of the area is the remnants of the old Spanish fort of El Castillo. Originally built in 1602, the turbulent colonial history of Nicaragua often started and ended with conflicts at El Castillo. We will balance our visit with a jungle trek into the nearby Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve, a 640,000-acre wilderness with an amazing collection of plant and animal life (600 bird species and 200 species of mammals!).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

Day 8: Return to Managua

Optional birding walk in the morning, then transfer to San Carlos for drive back to Managua. Upon arrival in Managua, we will check into our hotel and have the option of visiting some of Managua’s impressive museums and art galleries. Our local conservation partners from Fundacion Cocibolca will join us for our farewell dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Los Robles

Day 9: Departure

Transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast

Aug 08 - 16, 2015

Dec 19 - 27, 2015

Jan 30, 2016 - Feb 07, 2016

Mar 05 - 13, 2016

Aug 06 - 14, 2016

Dec 10 - 18, 2016

pricing

2015 Prices
$3,395 (6 - 12 members)
$3,695 (3 - 5 members)
$750 single supplement

2016 Prices
$3,595 (6 - 12 members)
$3,895 (3 - 5 members)
$750 single supplement

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Hotel Los Robles

Plaza Colon — Granada

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.

Posada Ecologica La Abuela — Laguna de Apoyo


Sabalos Lodge

  • 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

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.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Managua – Laguna de Apoyo

Arrive in Managua. Your trip leader or a representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and transfer you to an eco-resort nestled on the banks of the Apoyo Lagoon, a 500-foot-deep caldera lake set within a dry tropical forest (45-minute drive). Our accommodation is Posada Ecologica La Abuela, which boasts awe-inspiring views, a waterfront restaurant and bar, and a roaming group of monkeys! Evening “welcome” dinner and trip orientation.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Posada Ecologica La Abuela

Day 2: Volcan Mombacho – Catarina

You may be awakened by the daily chorus of howler monkeys! After breakfast we depart for a morning hike at Volcan Mombacho, located about 10 miles from our hotel. (We will have a special private tour since the park is officially closed Monday through Wednesday.) We will be greeted by our local conservation partner who manages the park—Fundacion Cocibolca—and the naturalist will give a brief overview about what makes this place so special. Lush shade-grown coffee plantations cover the lower slopes and we will have a brief stop at the coffee finca to sample some of the fresh product.

Once we arrive at the visitor center, we will have two options for exploring Mombacho’s cloud forest. One is a short hike (about a mile) with an interpretive emphasis—explaining the complex plant community, observing the many orchid species, and taking time to observe the wildlife. The second option is to hike the four-mile Jaguar Trails, which takes two to three hours with a climb of about 800 feet in elevation. Both options boast spectacular views, including Laguna Apoyo, Masaya Volcano, Lake Nicaragua, the colonial city of Granada, and the hundreds of islands called Las Isletas.

After our morning hike we will visit the charming community of Catarina for lunch and a tour of the artisan markets. We will also have a private tour of some artists’ studios for a special local cultural experience. Optional hike through the tropical forest back to our hotel or ride back on our transportation.

Back at the hotel, kayaks and small sailboats are available for those who want to get out and explore. The water is relatively warm and great for swimming. The wildlife is excellent with howler monkeys frequently visiting the fruit trees outside our rooms.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Posada Ecologica La Abuela

Day 3: Granada – Las Isletas

We will have an early morning birding option for those interested. After a leisurely breakfast we will transfer to the town of Granada on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is the oldest colonial city in Central America (founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1524) and is rich in colonial architecture. (Nicaragua's currency, the córdoba, is named after him.) After we check into our hotel we head down to the lake for a kayak paddle through a beautiful archipelago of more than 300 islands, an interesting mix of quiet backwaters filled with birds and local dwellings. We will return in the mid-afternoon with some free time to explore the charming city of Granada. Our accommodation is at the historical Hotel Alhambra, located on the central square in Granada.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Plaza Colon

Day 4: Zapatera National Park

After breakfast we go by boat to Zapatera National Park, an island that’s an extinct volcano located a few miles offshore Lake Nicaragua and about a 45-minute boat ride from Granada. We’ll spend most of the day here, exploring the important archaeological sites of La Punta de las Figuras and Zonzapote, rich in pre-Columbian artifacts. There is also a network of caves, rock art, and a small community. We can also take an optional hike to the summit of Zapatera Volcano (2,063') through lush tropical forests abounding with wildlife. We will explore this area on foot and have a picnic lunch with spectacular views of Volcan Mombacho and Lake Nicaragua.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Plaza Colon

Day 5: Transfer to Sabalos Lodge

Travel to the small community of San Carlos.  After lunch in San Carlos, we take to smaller boats and head to the rainforests of the Río San Juan, located on the southeast border with Costa Rica. This area is a Conservation International Mega-Diversity Hotspot for wildlife. Accommodation is at Sabalos Lodge, located right at the water’s edge, with howler and white-faced monkeys ready to serenade you and numerous beautiful resident birds, as well as migratory birds from North America.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

Day 6: El Castillo – Río San Juan

Over the next two days we’ll have a number of different options to explore the area by kayak, canoe, on foot, raft, and motorized boat. One of the historical highlights of the area is the remnants of the old Spanish fort of El Castillo. Originally built in 1602, the turbulent colonial history of Nicaragua often started and ended with conflicts at El Castillo. We will balance our visit with a jungle trek into the nearby Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve, a 640,000-acre wilderness with an amazing collection of plant and animal life (600 bird species and 200 species of mammals!).

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Sabalos Lodge

Day 8: Return to Managua

Optional birding walk in the morning, then transfer to San Carlos for drive back to Managua. Upon arrival in Managua, we will check into our hotel and have the option of visiting some of Managua’s impressive museums and art galleries. Our local conservation partners from Fundacion Cocibolca will join us for our farewell dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Los Robles

Day 9: Departure

Transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast

Hotel Los Robles

Plaza Colon — Granada

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.

Posada Ecologica La Abuela — Laguna de Apoyo


Sabalos Lodge

Dates and Pricing

Aug 08 - 16, 2015

Dec 19 - 27, 2015

Jan 30, 2016 - Feb 07, 2016

Mar 05 - 13, 2016

Aug 06 - 14, 2016

Dec 10 - 18, 2016

pricing

2015 Prices
$3,395 (6 - 12 members)
$3,695 (3 - 5 members)
$750 single supplement

2016 Prices
$3,595 (6 - 12 members)
$3,895 (3 - 5 members)
$750 single supplement

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