NICARAGUA WILDLIFE EXPEDITION
April 22-April 30, 2017; led by Dolly Beaver
The trip will be strictly limited to 10 people.
A unique wildlife safari with navigation from massive Lake Nicaragua to one of the most remote corners of the Caribbean Sea via the San Juan River with visits to the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge, Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve and Ometepe Island Biosphere Reserve. Rainforest, tropical dry forest and cloud forest are visited, along with active and dormant volcanoes, colonial fortress and one of America’s oldest European cities.
Sat – April 22: MANAGUA
Airport greeting by English speaking guide and private transport for transfer to Hotel Real Intercontinental Metrocentro for lodging. Welcome dinner at nearby El Muelle Restaurant.
Sun – April 23: MANAGUA – SAN CARLOS – LOS GUATUZOS – RIO SAN JUAN – EL CASTILLO
Overland 5 hrs – boat San Carlos – Isla Zapote 30 mins – Isla Zapote – Rio Zapote 20 mins – RT Rio Zapote 1 hr 30 mins – Rio Zapote – San Carlos 40 mins – San Carlos – El Castillo 2 hrs 30 mins
Early breakfast and private overland transfer with naturalist guide to San Carlos at the confluence of Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River. Visit in boats to Isla Zapote and Río Zapote inside the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge for wildlife viewing. Return to San Carlos for private boat journey down the river with wildlife viewing in the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge in route. Sandwich lunch on the river. Arrival to the tiny colonial period village built beneath a 17th-century Spanish fortress, El Castillo, located in front of the El Diablo Rapids on the San Juan. Visit the fortress where Lord Nelson fought the Spanish crown. Lodging at the Hotel Victoria. Dinner at the hotel with a specialty in fresh river shrimp.
Mon – April 24: EL CASTILLO – SAN JUAN RIVER
Early breakfast and departure in private boats down river finishing at the Caribbean Sea. Great wildlife viewing along the pristine Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve in route with water levels low, wildlife is concentrated along the river banks, great bird watching with scarlet macaws, toucans and king vultures, troops or howler and spider monkeys and lots of sunning reptiles. Continue to the Bahia of San Juan, a serene wilderness lagoon home to crocodiles, giant tarpon and bull sharks, wrapped in rain forest and with a lone canal dredge from a failed 19th century attempt, a symbol of the ever living Nicaragua canal dream. Lunch, dinner and lodging at the expansive Rio Indio Lodge, located in rain forest with elevated walkways and great wildlife viewing from private screen porches.
Tue – April 25: SAN JUAN RIVER
All near lodge
All meals and lodging at Rio Indio Lodge. Guided nature hiking in and around the lodge, using our boats to access trails and hidden lagoons in the region. Night tour on the lagoon.
Wed – April 26: SAN JUAN RIVER – RIO INDIO
All meals and lodging at Rio Indio Lodge. Guided private boat tour up the virgin Rio Indio in the heart of the Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve, called by UCLA biologists the finest low land rain forest reserve in Cental America. Wildlife viewing by boat. Afternoon at leisure in the lodge.
Thu – April 27: SAN JUAN – OMETEPE ISLAND
10 mins to airport in boat – 1 hr flight – 20 mins overland on island
Breakfast and morning nature walk. Boat transfer to airfield at San Juan del Norte for lunch and Cessna flight to Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua Airport greeting on the island and transfer to a private lake front hacienda of fruit trees and tropical dry forest on Santo Domingo Beach. Afternoon at leisure on the beach, dinner and lodging in lake front cabins at San Juan de la Isla..
Fri – April 28: OMETEPE ISLAND – MADERAS VOLCANO
20 mins drive each way to trail head – 5-8 hr hike
The dual-volcano Island of Ometepe is the biggest volcanic lake island in the world and has been at the crossroads of culture and civilizations from South America and Mesoamerica for more than 6,000 years. This private tour of the island’s key culture and nature sites includes a glimpse into that past with visits to the outdoor plaza at Altagracia to see the basalt idols from the Chorotega culture, a visit to a gourd carving family on the slopes of the active volcano that holds up ancient traditions, Walking tour of the coastal lagoon of Charco Verde in the shadow of the Concepción Volcano where the spirit of the legendary Chico Largo keeps watch and a walking tour of the mysterious petroglyphs at Balgue on the slopes of the Maderas Volcano.
Sat – April 29: OMETEPE ISLAND – GRANADA
20 mins to dock, 1 hr 10 mins ferry ride, 1 hr 15 mins overland
Breakfast and private transfer to the dock at Moyogalpa for ferry to the mainland. Dock greeting in San Jorge and private transfer to colonial Granada on the western shores of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is one of oldest and most beautiful Spanish colonial cities in Central America. Lunch and dinner in Granada. Lodging at Hotel Plaza Colón on central park.
Sun – April 30: GRANADA – MANAGUA
1 hr to airport
Private transfer to airport for flight home.
Cost $2995 per person
deposit $500 per person, balance due by February 1
(+$500 supplement if rooming as single)
Rate includes all private mainland transfers in 24 seat air-conditioned bus, two 12 seat vans on Ometepe Island, all meals, 8 nights lodging, fully guided by English speaking naturalist or biologist, lake ferry, all entrance fees, 5 days private boat travel, all boatmen, reserve, river and lake permits.
Rate does not include in-country flight, guaranteed to cost no more than $100pp
Does not include international flights, optional tips and drinks.
All photos above taken by trip leader Alfredo Dosantos Santillan