Canyons, cigars and coffee plantations, Nicaragua
Somoto Canyon and Miraflor
Nicaragua’s best kept secret is the North West and home to Somoto Canyon, which was “rediscovered” by Europeans in 2004, and the beautiful cloud forest of Miraflor Nature Reserve.
This area is the heart of of Nicaragua’s cigar and coffee production and there are opportunities for tours of both or to volunteer on farms.
The nondescript town of Esteli is a good base, alternatively there are home stays and ecolodge accommodation near the nature reserves.
Tours to Somoto Canyon take you scrambling and swimming down the River Coco as its snakes through this beautiful canyon. For the adrenaline junkies, there are opportunities to tombstone off 1, 5 or 12 metre high rock ledges. A four hour guided tour is US$25. Bring snacks.
Miraflor Nature Reserve is home to a stunning cloud forest and guided tours take you through the forest, the neighbouring farms and waterfalls. US$15 for a guide for up to 6 people.
Esteli Hostel: Luna International Hostel, $9. A not-for-profit, the rooms are spacious with new bathrooms but expect traffic noise,
Travel agency: Tree Huggers, affiliated with Luna International Hostel, this not-for-profit works closely with the local community hiring local guides for a reasonable price.