Nicaragua eco tourism might conjure images of running through the jungle in a not-so desirable situation but the country’s reputation as an unsafe nation is actually so very far from the truth. For the past sixteen years, Nicaragua has been an extremely safe tropical destination to visit and in fact, is considered the safest country with Central America. A 20 percent growth in Nicaragua’s tourism gave it just the boost it needed to land on the international radar as one of the top places for adventure tours. Eco tours in Nicaragua are not only spectacular, they’re also very affordable, edging them closer to the top, being chosen over Costa Rica’s rising tourist prices.
Amazing rainforests, a backdrop of volcanoes and lakes, and uncrowded beaches of white and pink sand comprise a paradise any nature lover would admire. More than a fifth of the country’s land mass is protected by the government, actually making it a more viable destination than popular Costa Rica for eco-conscious tours. Nicaragua wildlife teems within the country’s rainforest, which, north of the Amazon, is the biggest section of rainforest in Central America. Wildlife tours are becoming more popular for the large number of endangered species including the howler monkey (a common neighbor in places like San Juan del Sur), spider monkeys, and white-faced monkeys. Birds and butterflies, crocodiles and jaguars, and a wide spectrum of breathtaking flora may be common in Nicaragua but are nonetheless just as magnetic as the rest. All the while, the government is still striving to meet the obstacles involved with developing a responsible, eco-tourism focused industry.
There are many ways in which to soak in the “eco” while embarking on a Nicaraguan adventure. First, it doesn’t have to be an adventure at all with destination resorts such as Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge, a resort offering more than a dozen solar-powered cabins from which guests can easily make their way to a variety of activities including kayaking, hiking, cycling, or simply lounging around the pool. More adventurous excursions into the rainforest can also be arranged easily from almost any hotel or even hostel—an especially easy feat in Managua and Granada, the country’s largest cities.
There are several regional areas to discover and enjoy Nicaragua wildlife tours, such as Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge where almost 175 square miles of tropical wet forests and wetlands are located, just west of the San Juan River and south of Lake Nicaragua. Via the canals and rivers, visitors travel by boat to explore the rich monkey, reptile, and bird populations. Nearby, the Solentiname Archipelago is another extremely rich natural area to visit, and with several eco-hotels available, visiting the southern-based islands in the area becomes much more convenient.
Masaya Volcano National Park is another place slowly becoming a hotspot for eco tours in Nicaragua with plenty of things to do while visiting. When exploring the protected national park, tourists can take a guide-led hike, day or night, to the top of the ridge for magnificent views of the active volcano. The onsite museum provides plenty of insight into the volcano and its history. Nicaragua eco tourism highlights several other natural attractions within the country including Indo-Maíz Biological Reserve, El Chocoyero Nature Reserve, and Montibelli Wildlife Reserve. These destinations can be enjoyed as package tours and can be combined with excursions to places of cultural and historical importance.