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Nicaragua, Miraflores reserve

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atg200's picture
Joined: Feb 20 2008

This is another place you can kinda sorta get to on a bus, but you lose the ability to get out and see things along the way.

Start by driving to Matagalpa from Managua. Pretty dull to this point, but now its gets better. The drive on a good paved road from Matagalpa to Jinotega is spectacular and there are coffee fincas to visit along the way. After Jinotega the road turns into a byway called the Ruta de Sandino - reading up on the history of Sandino and then later the Sandinistas will give you a good base for understanding the place.

30 minutes or so past Jinotega is San Rafael del Norte, which is the start of the Miraflores reserve. The main dirt road goes through Yali en route to the Panamerica 30 Ks north of Esteli and takes about three hours. There are numerous side roads and hiking trails in this area, and you can probably arrange home stays with local families at an agency in Esteli or on your own along the way if you speak good Spanish. The mountain biking on the network of dirt roads would also be great.

This area is refreshing if you've spent a lot of time in Nicaragua - is nice and cool, full of pine forests, waterfalls, and coffee plantations. Its like the area around Gracias in Honduras, except you will almost certainly not see any other tourists of any kind there and there isn't a lot of infrastructure.