Nicaragua’s Wild Side

Observe endangered olive ridley sea turtles nesting or humpback whales on the Pacific coast, hike at Montibelli and Indio Maiz Reserves, and visit Solentiname Islands in Lake Nicaragua
When: November – March for humpbacks with peak activity in January and February; July – December for nesting olive ridley sea turtles with peak activity in August and September.
Duration: 10 Days/ 9 nights

  • Nicaragua ~ The largest country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the south and Honduras to the north. The word Nicaragua translates to “surrounded by water” – its western coastline meets the Pacific Ocean and eastern coastline meets the Caribbean. With impressive volcanoes, lush rainforests, magnificent lakes, expansive coastlines, and colonial grandeur, there’s an abundance of opportunities waiting in Nicaragua.
  • Biodiversity in Nicaragua ~ Situated within the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, Nicaragua is home to more than 100 endangered species, including five species of sea turtles and humpback whales. Conservation efforts are on the rise in the region and visitors have the chance to encounter many of these rare animals in their natural environments.


Below are some of our sample itineraries, but note that we can customize the perfect Nicaragua adventure that meets your needs.


Sample Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrival/ Managua ~ Upon arrival at Managua International Airport, you will be met by your local guide and driver and transferred to Montibelli Nature Reserve for the night. Overnight in a cabin at the reserve.


DAY 2: Montibelli Nature Reserve ~ After breakfast, set out for a guided hike along the reserve’s trails. Montibelli is home to more than 150 species of birds including the long-tailed manakin, black-headed trogon, and Pacific parakeets. Later in the day, you will hike to a waterfall to see hundreds of green parakeets (chocoyos) as they return to the area to roost for the night. Overnight at Montibelli Nature Reserve. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: Solentiname Islands ~ Morning transfer to Managua for your flight to San Carlos with stunning views of Lake Nicaragua. After lunch in San Carlos, you’ll transfer by boat to the Solentiname Islands, an archipelago on the southern end of Lake Nicaragua. Overnight at Hotel Celentiname. (B,D)

DAY 4: Los Guatuzos or Artists’ Workshops and Rio San Juan ~ This morning you have your choice of activities: boat tour to see Zapote Island and Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge or visit with local artisans of the Solentiname Islands. Los Guatuzos is home to one of the greatest concentrations of birds in Central America. During migration, tens of thousands of migrants fly through the reserve in stunning concentrations. Solentiname artisans are famous for their paintings and wood carvings in balsa wood. Afternoon boat transfer down the scenic Rio San Juan to Sabalos Lodge. Overnight in a riverside cabin at Sabalos Lodge. (B,D)

Birding in Nicaragua

DAY 5: Indio Maiz Biological Reserve ~ Today you’ll travel down the Rio San Juan to the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve. Indio Maiz is the largest continuous tract of lowland rainforest in the Americas north of the Amazon. It is home to over 400 species of birds, 300 species of reptiles, and 200 species of mammals, including four species of wild cats. Keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths, tapirs, colorful poison dart frogs, and a kaleidoscope of tropical birds during your guided hike. On the way back to the lodge, you’ll stop and tour the fortress of El Castillo, an important site in Nicaragua’s rich history. Overnight at Sabalos Lodge. (B,D)

Granada, Nicaragua


DAY 6: Granada ~ Transfer by boat to San Carlos in time for your flight back to Managua, followed by a drive to the colonial city of Granada. The city has preserved some of the best examples of colonial architecture in Nicaragua. The rest of the day is on your own. Overnight at Patio del Malinche. (B)

DAY 7: Granada and Mombacho Volcano ~ The morning is yours to continue exploring Granada. This afternoon, you’ll head to Mombacho Volcano, an extinct volcano shrouded in cloud forest vegetation. Arrive in time for stunning sunset views and a guided night hike. Overnight at Patio del Malinche. (B)

DAY 8: Masaya, Pueblos Blancos and San Juan del Sur ~ Travel to Nicaragua’s southern Pacific Coast stopping at the Masaya Market and Pueblos Blancos (“White Towns”) along the way. You can find examples of artesanías (handicrafts) from throughout Nicaragua at the market. The picturesque white stucco villages of Pueblos Blancos near Masaya are famous for their local artisans specializing in ceramics and pottery. Afternoon arrival at Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge where you will spend the next two nights. (B,D)

DAY 9: San Juan del Sur ~ Depending on the time of year, today’s activities will be focused on the amazing wildlife viewing opportunities in the area. If your trip coincides with nesting season for endangered olive ridley sea turtles, you’ll visit a nearby nesting beach in the afternoon and evening in hopes that you’re there during an arribada (mass nesting), when hundreds of females may nest along the short stretch of beach in a single night. If it’s the season for humpback whales, you’ll have a morning boat tour in search of these amazing giants. Overnight at Morgan’s Rock. (B,L,D)

DAY 10: Departure ~ After breakfast at the lodge, transfer back to Managua in time for your flight home. (B)



Meals: B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner

Pricing from $2695 per person based on double occupancy.

Package includes lodging, private ground transportation, full-time expert naturalist guide, activities and meals as listed in the itinerary, and internal flights.  A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of each participant.

Exclusions: international airfare, passport/visa fees, taxis, excess baggage fees, optional activities, gratuities, alcohol, items of a personal nature, and travel insurance.

This sample itinerary is a suggested outline.  It can be customized to best suit your travel plans.