Nature & Lake Nicaragua

Enjoy an in-depth look at the natural wonders of Nicaragua on this custom Nicaragua tour itinerary that includes the country’s wildlife-rich regions and two nights on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua.

Day 1

U.S. / Managua, Nicaragua / Selva Negra Private Reserve

Travel to Nicaragua independently, landing in Managua to begin your Nicaragua tour. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to Selva Negra Private Reserve where you will spend two nights nestled in the highlands at Selva Negra EcoLodge. Your afternoon is spent on one of the many trails, where you spot some of the bird species attracted by the reserve’s fruiting trees. Since the property is situated along the continental divide between the Pacific and Atlantic lowlands, sightings could include a mix of both Pacific and Atlantic-slope bird species.

Day 2

Selva Negra Private Reserve

Spend the morning strolling on trails through the cloud forest. Later tour the coffee plantation, learning about the processes harvesting their shade-grown coffee. During the afternoons, you are back on the trails surrounding the reserve looking for butterflies, howler monkeys, agoutis and over 220 bird species, including keel-billed toucans, blue-winged warblers and hummingbirds.

Day 3

Montibelli Private Reserve

Enjoy an early morning nature walk through the cloud forest at Selva Negra before venturing across the countryside to Montibelli Private Reserve, where you spend the next two nights. This well-managed Reserve is located in the green region of Ticuantepe, famous for the cultivation of pineapples and the exotic “pitahayas” — dragon fruit in English. Montibelli is a great place for experiencing the wildlife of a dry tropical forest. There are more than 115 species of identified trees, over 100 species of birds, 32 mammals and a large number of butterflies. Through the trails you will also be able to identify Nicaragua’s national bird “the Guardabarranco” — turquoise browed motmot — and other colorful birdlife.

Day 4

Montibelli Private Reserve

Montibelli is an award-wining privately owned park and arguably one of the best forest reserves in the Pacific basin for bird watching. 156 species of fauna have been identified here, including endangered species such as sahin, guatusa, parrot of the Pacific, and six species of hummingbird. Here you may spot manikins, trogons and turquoise browed motmot. The park is also known for an abundance of butterflies. You naturalist guide will lead you on morning and afternoon nature walks.

Day 5

Ometepe Island

Board a ferry across Lake Nicaragua to Ometepe Island, formed by two volcanoes. The Concepción volcano rises to 4,430 feet above sea level and the Maderas volcano 3,833 feet. Moyogalpa the main city and port is 25 miles south of Granada. From the moment you arrive at Ometepe, you realize that this is a different world, unique in its kind. The presence of the volcanoes is constant as life circles around these two colossuses of nature. The Concepción is a dormant volcano, while Maderas is extinct and covered by a deep cloud forest and a lagoon on the top of the crater. The island was a ceremonial place for ancient Indian culture; because of this many petroglyphs and stone idols are found in different archaeological sites and in the Altagracia town as well. Spend a day getting to know the island on your private tour. According to historians, indigenous tribes traveled from up north to find a paradise as foreseen in a vision by their prophets; a place formed by two hills which they found at Ometepe while traveling down south. The island consequently transformed into a sanctuary inhabited by a mix of different tribes and cultures – something that is revealed by the immense amount of petroglyphs, ceramics, and statues that can be found all throughout the island. The first stop on your custom Nicaragua tour is the Numismatic & Pre-Columbine Museum, followed by a visit to Charco Verde Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to a spectacular array of flora and fauna as well as fascinating myths. The forest of Charco Verde is inhabited by three howler monkey families of about 70 individuals each. Migratory and local birds can also be found within the area, as well as insects and even boas. Part of the calm lagoon is covered in mangrove forest, where the trees with submerged tree trunks throw a shadow on the water and create a mystical atmosphere. The rest of the lagoon’s shore is covered by rich vegetation and large fruit trees. After a guided hike through the forest, head to Ojo de Agua, where the crystalline spring water is said to have medicinal properties. Cap off your day in Altagracia, a city located northeast of the Concepción. Its original name was Astagalpa (meaning “house of the herons” in Náhualt), but it was changed with the arrival of the Spanish and Castilian cultures. While here, see pre-Columbian ceramics, statues and petroglyphs. Spend two nights at the Hotel Villa Paraiso.

Day 6

Ometepe Island

After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a privately guided excursion to observe the petroglyphs carved on stone by the Náhualt people. Your guide will also point out various tropical trees and explain their uses. Plus, you learn how natives made their drinks for traditional celebrations. The afternoon is free to relax on the beaches of Ometepe.

Day 7

Granada

Board a ferry to make your way to Granada. Named after the city Granada in Spain, this atmospheric city features colonial churches clustered around narrow streets and large homes with beautiful patios and tiled roofs. You will have the opportunity to walk around the main plaza to see La Merced church, Zamora family home, Casa de Los Tres Mundos and the San Francisco convent. At the convent learn about the mysterious, pre-Columbian idols. While strolling through the city, learn about its colorful history, including the 1855 invasion by William Walker. Spend two nights at Hotel Plaza Colon.

Day 8

Granada / Lake Nicaragua / Masaya Volcano National Park

This morning enjoy a relaxing boat ride around the islands of Lake Nicaragua, formed by Mombacho Volcano, observing the local bird life and people of the islands. In the afternoon, spend some time browsing in the Masaya Market before continuing on our evening excursion to Masaya Volcano. After gazing across the volcano and surrounding landscape from our vantage point at La Cruz de Bobadilla, observe the green parakeets that roost on the volcano. These birds have adapted to the sulfur smoke and actually live within the crater. As dusk approaches, watch as a large numbers of bats depart en masse from their caves. Descend into an underground tunnel formed by lava streams. Equipped with flashlights and helmets, you observe interesting rock formations. Your private Nicaragua tour ends with a stop to look inside the crater mouth, seeing the glowing, red lava before dinner in Masaya.

Day 9

Granada / U.S.

Transfer to the airport in Managua to board your flight to the U.S.