Nicaragua Tours » Nicaragua Vacation Classics » Nicaragua’s Northern Mountains
Nicaragua Birding

Nicaragua’s Northern Mountains

Highland culture, history and nature
8 days – 7 nights

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Leave the beaten path and journey into one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful regions with unique food, culture, history and nature. This trip features these seldom visited highland towns and cities plus mountains, cascades and nature reserves. Bustling northern provincial capital Estelí has a rich revolutionary history and is home to some of the highest quality tobacco and cigars in the world, it also has the continental divide nature reserve of Tisey, and the precious mountain cascade Estanzuela. Somoto has the country’s finest corn biscuits, a crunchy native dish that goes perfect with Nicaragua’s fresh coffee and is home to the ancient Somoto Canyon, head waters for Central America’s longest river, the Río Coco. San Rafael del Norte is a rustic cowboy town lost in time, where men sip beer in bars with their spurs chaffing the stools while next store Franciscan nuns and monks pray for their souls in unique temples, including an unusual chapel built for the town’s own saint in progress. Jinotega has a unique school of ceramics and a beautiful cathedral full of Italian and Spanish relics, as well as a beautiful ecolodge built into the Datanlí Nature Reserve. Matagalpa is home to one of the country’s most spectacular waterfalls at La Esmeralda in Datanlí and organic coffee and chocolate production. Escape the familiar. Go north of the crowds with Tours Nicaragua’s private transportation and one of our expert English speaking guides.

Northern Mountains of Nicaragua Tour Itinerary

Day 01: Managua
Airport greeting by our professional driver for private transfer to selected Hotel.
Day 02: Managua – Tisey Nature Reserve – Estanzuela – Estelí
Breakfast and private transfer with our English speaking guide to Nicaragua’s continental divide and the Tisey Nature Reserve home to pine forests and unique tropical oak trees and where rivers are born that flow both into Lake Managua (Pacific) and Río Coco (Caribbean). Visit to the La Estanzuela Cascade and then continue to the city of Estelí. Tour of Estelí and lodging at Hotel Los Arcos.
Day 03: Estelí – Somoto Canyon – Somoto
Breakfast and chance to visit with our guide a hand-rolled (Cuban seed and technique) cigar factory (M-F only) and continue further north on the Pan-American Highway to Somoto Canyon for a hike and possibility to do some inner tubing in this beautiful rock canyon. Transfer to Somoto for lodging at Portal de Angel.
Day 04: Somoto – San Rafael Del Norte – Jinotega
Breakfast and morning visit (M-Sat only) with our guide to a rosquilla bakery. This is one of Nicaragua’s most loved breakfast foods and the quality of Somoto recipe is respected country-wide. Journey south in private vehicle to San Rafael del Norte, Nicaragua’s highest village, home to great histories of saints and revolutionary heroes, Sandino once had is rebel base here and met and married his wife in the village. Continue to Jinotega for lodging at Hotel El Café.
Day 05: Jinotega – Las Cureñas – Datanlí Nature Reserve
Breakfast and visit to Jinotega’s bright cathedral. For those in excellent condition a possible hike to La Cruz de la Peña, a hike to the top of a mountain that overlooks Jinotega. Continue to the tiny settlement of Las Cureñas, where the unique age-old tradition of black ceramics lives on in a woman’s pottery cooperative. Visit to the workshop and continue along the eastern shores of beautiful Lake Apanás to the Datanlí Nature Reserve and La Bastilla Ecolodge.
Day 06: Datanlí – La Esmeralda – Selva Negra Nature Reserve
Breakfast and private transfer south with our guide to the opposite end of the Datanlí Nature Reserve and the lovely La Esmeralda Waterfall known as La Bujona. Continue to Selva Negra private nature reserve for a hacienda tour or coffee tour of this unique family farm. Lodging in the cloud forest.
Day 07: Selva Negra – Matagalpa – Managua
Morning nature walk in the cloud forest and private transfer with guide to Matagalpa to visit a gourmet artisan chocolate factory, where high-grade organic Nicaraguan cocoa is transformed into handmade chocolates (M-Sat only). Transfer to Managua for lodging at selected Hotel.
Day 08: Managua
Breakfast at the hotel and private transfer to airport for flight home.
  • All transfers in private vehicle with a/c and driver
  • All driver expenses
  • Assistance of an English speaking guide on tour days
  • All guide expenses
  • Assistance of select local guides during trip
  • 2 nights lodging at selected Hotel in Managua
  • 1 night lodging at the Hotel Los Arcos in Estelí
  • 1 night lodging at the Hotel Portal de Angel in Somoto
  • 1 night lodging at the Hotel El Café in Jinotega
  • 1 night lodging at the La Bastilla Ecolodge in Datanlí Nature Reserve
  • 1 night lodging at Selva Negra Mountain Resort in Matagalpa
  • Nature tours of Tisey Nature Reserve, Estanzuela Cascade, Somoto Canyon, Datanlí Nature Reserve, La Esmeralda Waterfall, Selva Negra Nature Reserve
  • Culture & History tours of Estelí, Somoto, San Rafael del Norte, Las Cureñas, Matagalpa and Jinotega
  • All breakfasts
  • All museum and park admissions
  • 17% hotel taxes
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Selected Hotels Guide

  • Base hotels and upgrade hotels are the same in this tour with the exception of Managua where base hotels are Los Robles or Holiday Express and upgrade are Hyatt Place or Elements.
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Rates & Booking Details

  • All tours are private and can begin any day of the year.
  • Tour costs depend on the number of travelers in your party
  • Please specify target visit dates and number of people when requesting a quote.
  • Custom tour itineraries are available upon request.
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Tour does not Include

  • Drinks, lunch or dinner.
  • International flights or airport taxes.
  • Travel insurance, tips, visas, or medical treatment.
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