Surrounded by warm, clean freshwater, the dual-volcano island of Ometepe is recognized by the United Nations as a World Biosphere Reserve. The island is large, but also has a sizable native population, so true wilderness is rare, but due to the great range of elevation on the volcanoes and difficult access is higher terrain, spectacular flora and fauna still exists. There is also an indigenous community nature reserve that has great bird watching and healthy primate populations and San Juan de la Isla protects key areas for migratory birds and primates and has a beautiful array of butterflies and one of the last great strands of certain endangered native hardwood trees on the island.
SAN RAMÓN CASCADE
Nestled in the cloud forest of the Maderas Volcano is a lovely mountain cascade that has been citified in recent years, but still affords a relatively accessible and up-close look at tropical flora and fauna and offers great lake and opposite shore views on the lower part of the trail. Based on a minimum of two people and including private 4x4 transfers to and from trail head, bilingual guide, water and snack.
For adventure hiking on this and Concepción Volcano, please see our adventure tours page. For nature viewing the two trails that lead to the summit of Maderas, via El Porvenir (less traffic) or Finca Magdalena can also be used for wildlife viewing and nature walks. The cloud forest of Maderas is home to endemic species and is one of the most pristine cloud forests on Nicaragua’s Pacific. With the help of our guide a nature walk can be done as far up as you wish on the summit trail and at a pace that is designed for viewing, not sweating
For adventure hiking on this and Maderas Volcano, please see our adventure tours page. For nature viewing the summit trail for Concepción is great for birdwatching and some reptiles and mammals can be seen. Since most hikers zoom towards the summit, nature lovers can linger below the tree-line and enjoy the tropical dry forest of Concepción with our guide. Maderas is the more obvious choice for nature, but with more traffic on Madera trails, Concepción has its argument as well.
Ometepe’s indigenous community reserve is the best preserved lowland tropical dry forest on Ometepe and it has several walking trails which are ideal for birdwatching and also spotting both white-faced and howler monkeys, lizards and other flora and fauna. Trails are very easy and flat, so this is ideal for those who do not want to climb to see wildlife. The park is open early morning and mid-afternoon only, early start is recommended.
FINCA SAN JUAN
Our farm and nature reserve is a great place to see wildlife for those who wish to stay close to home and in particular for night hikes. We can arrange an English-speaking guide for a hike on the property, but most choose to hike on their own or with one of our Spanish speaking guides as a leader. The property is blessed with great birdlife, butterflies and very well-fed howler monkeys who feast on our native fruit trees. For a guided hike with local Spanish speaking guide cost is US$ per person based on a minimum of two people. With English speaking guide the cost is US$ per person with two person minimum and advance notice.