Blogs from Northern Highlands, Nicaragua, Central America Caribbean


The last post left me at San Rafael del Norte, the beginning of the coffee region. We had been meaning to go to the Somoto Canyon for some time and we were finally on our way. We stopped over in Estelí for lunch and a cafe similar to one we would find back home ; with a server from Miami and a chocolate cake tasting like one we would have made from the box mix, we enjoyed a taste of home. Then got to the bus station with a ride from a Nicaraguan-American we had met in the cafe. He said he hoped we would find our place one day. He had just moved to Esteli from California. As we were waiting for the bus, we saw a foreigner, like us, who caught our eye and ... read more
Somoto Canyon
Somoto Canyon
Looking at fish in Somoto Canyon

En haut de Matagalpa il y a la belle région de plantations de café, frais, vert avec une fraîcheur la nuit. Nous avions entendu parlé de la réserve de Selva Negra... ou la forêt noire comme en Allemagne. Ou peut-etre pas... fin on ne saurait jamais parce qu'on n'est pas allé finalement. Les auberges le moins cher qu'on a pu trouvé nous demandait 60 $ la nuit, la honte. Donc on a cherché un peu sur l'application iOverlander pour les places de camping. C'est comme ça qu'on est tombé sur la ferme de café et auberge de Aguas de Arenal. Je savais qu'il existait un Arenal à Costa Rica parce que j'avais été avec mes parents il y a 5 ans, mais celui à Nicaragua je ne le connaissait pas.. Donc on a pris le bus ... read more
Entrée de notre auberge
La grosse marche
Entrée de la reserve

After an unsuccessful attempt at getting a ride from San Juan de Nicaragua to Bluefields by boat, we grudgingly got on a 5 AM Express (and vastly more comfortable) boat back to San Carlos (on the good advice of Freddy, the shark fin guy from Managua). Of course the military searched our bags thoroughly as we were getting on, drinking our sweet instant coffee from a styrofoam cup. We had a quick stop over in El Castillo where we confirmed with a nice coffee shop owner (originally from California) that there still is no boat to Bluefields, and also got some to go grub. At San Carlos, we hopped right on a bus to Juilgalpa. The city has a terrible bypass road, with loud, fast-moving traffic and litter lining the gutters. However there was still much ... read more
Sunset in Juigalpa
Example of electrical wiring seen in Juigalpa
Local art, Juigalpa

From Leon we travelled to the Northern highlands of Nicaragua. This whole region is off the beaten track, far from the backpackers super highway through Central America. This is where most of the coffee in Nicaragua grows. The highlands are the most rural in the country, and people live a simple life in the most basic conditions we can imagine. The boys herding the cows wear boots and cowboy hats, the women use traditional firewood heated kitchens to prepare meals based on tortillas and roast there small batches of coffee. We spend one day climbing, jumping off cliffs and swimming the Somoto canyon. Because of the rainy season the water level is nicely high and pretty wild at places. We climb across steep parts high above the water to go around the whirlpools, we jump from ... read more
Bearded trees
Somoto canyon
At the start of our Somoto trip

Geo: 12.93, -85.931542hrs: Location: Verandah of Bunglow 7 Altitude 1300: Broken sun but blowy....very blowy. Summary: today kicked off with the usual coffee at 0600hrs....late as the kettle took some 30mins to boil due to the feeble output of the solar batteries. I think we have drained the whole days supply.......other Eco bungalow occupants are sipping tepid yucca juice and switching of lights at every opportunity whilst we are scalding our lips on Barista quality Italian brew....."tough" the distance I spot a couple of "Bill Oddie" birdwatcher types setting off in search of the lesser spotted "Ooomegoolie Bird"..... EQUIPMENT ALERT: disaster has struck in the sponge bag department. A whole tube of shaving gel has managed to quietly discharge itself and coat my entire supply of Alka-Seltzers in scented gloop. We carefully hand wipe each sac ... read more
Bird watching lake
Bungalow 7

Geo: 12.93, -85.93Time Check: 1752hrs.....we are perched high in the mountains close to Mataglapa some 200km due west of the Pacific Ocean. Darkness is gathering and the sounds of the night are gathering pace producing a cacophony of chirruping from tropical "mini-beasts" out to strut their stuff.We are staying in an coffee plantation that has several well equipped and comfortable bungalows each resplendent with an "Eco roof" consisting of manicured tree ferns and other jungle vegetation. Hot water is solar powered and we are advised to think "GREEN" by switching off power at all opportunities.... Earlier in the day Elvis and our chirpy driver "Alvin" picked us up at 0900hrs.....they are great and are worked "to the bone".....airport pickups at 0400hrs........after 2hrs sleep.......demanding clientele from Miami who want cooked b... read more
Size matters!
Shake it all about!
Tobacco Plantation

From Leon we moved rather quickly up to Somoto where our host sisters from San Pedro had recounted tales of wonderful host families and exciting excursions. It was a bit of a ride from the city, and most people opt to stay in or near Esteli, but we had the sole intention of doing the canyon tour and being as close to the border as possible. We were met at the bus station by one of many brothers (despite having not confirmed our arrival time) that had a farm in the area and have since branched into tourism. We had e-mailed enquiring about availability and they sent us good instructions about getting there from Leon. We went to another bus stop for the local bus, but only had to wait as long as it took for ... read more
The Beautiful Somoto Canyon
Dan Takes the Plunge

21/02/15 Somoto Canyon / Esteli Gisterenavond werd dit natuurgebied, Canyon Somoto plots aangehaald door Wilmar en de Franse Agnes. Ik had er nog niet van gehoord maar Andie had deze reeds bezocht en bleek een aanrader en niet heel ver vanaf. Sandie had het nummer van de baas van ' Somoto Tours 'en hij regelde voor mij deze " Last Minute ". Hij had een groep van 5 man om de tour te starten om 9u30. IDEAAL! Vlug naar de busterminal! Er bleken twee Belgische studenten uit Antwerpen in de groep te zitten. Het was een prachtige 6 uur durende tocht, een mix van wandelen, zwemmen, wat klimmen, springen van rotsen van 4, 6 en 8 meter en een kleine boottocht als afsluiter. De 18 meter hoge sprong was te hoog gegrepen voor mij maar de ... read more
 Somoto Canyon
 Somoto Canyon
Area Protegida Miraflor

10/02/15 Nicaragua. We hadden plannen om te liften richting de grens maar het was duidelijk dat dit heel moeilijk is vanuit een grote stad. Dan maar met de bus. Op naar " dos manos ", één van de drie grensposten. De grens Honduras - Nicaragua, heel rustig, bijna geen auto's en toeristen in geen geval. Heel veel vrachtwagens met bananen en volgens mij uiteraard..koffie! De volgende poging om te liften, ' tja alstr gèn oto's zin kundje moeilik liftn é '! ( koppig zoals ik ben dit 'olik' willen proberen maar na een uur rustig wandelen in deze ongeloooooofelijke rustige en mooie zonnige streek ja inderdaad gelukkig dat mijn reisgenoten graag wandelen en dit slechts met een veel te zware backpack rugzak en gitaar dan maar met de bus richting..) Ocotal, Negova .. / Nicaragua en ... read more
Biddende vrouw..
Onze adobe stenen, aan het drogen in de zon..
Het huisje..

Our Arrival Our minibus from Leon dropped us off at the North bus station on the main highway. We walked right up the Panamerican Highway, then turned left towards the Cathedral to find a place to stay. Where We Stayed Hostal El Albergue - Calle 3a NE just west of Avenue Central. C$400 for a double room with bathroom and TV and free purified water and coffee. What We Did Visited Somoto Canyon - we booked a guide through Sonati hostal which cost $25 each for the longer trip. They called the guide who met us at the bus stop in Somoto. To get to Somoto we caught the bus at 6:30am from opposite the garage on the main highway near Calle Transversal. It took about 2 hours and cost C$28. We were met by our ... read more

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