IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A DESTINATION IN Central America with something for everyone, you may be surprised to find it in
Nicaragua. Although Costa Rica has done a far
better job attracting American tourists, Nicaragua has a diverse product offering that often
feels more authentic and less-developed — in a
Founded in 1524 and perched on the shores
of Lake Nicaragua, the city of Granada still
retains a strong colonial feel. Suggest clients
book a room at Hotel Xalteva and use Granada
as their base to explore the surrounding regions.
Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve towers
above Granada and is just a 20-minute drive
from the center of town. From the visitor center,
it’s another 30 minutes uphill to reach the top of
the volcano. Although Mombacho
is technically an active volcano, the
last recorded eruption was in 1570,
so the environment has since grown into an
extremely lush (and wet) cloud forest.
Adventurous travelers can explore the vol-
cano on their own if they stick to the moderate
trail circling the main crater. This pathway offers
spectacular views of Granada and Lake Nicara-
gua and can easily be enjoyed in a couple hours.
The national park is home to flora and fauna
endemic to the volcano, including 700 species of
plants, such as the stunning Mombacho orchid.
Be sure to look out for “shy” plants
that close their leaves when something brushes against them, as well
as thermal vents that allow travelers to feel the
heat of the volcano up close.
For a more challenging hike, clients should
hire a guide and take on the El Puma trail.
This trail is significantly more difficult, but it
Hitting the Hot Spots
The volcanoes of Nicaragua offer a geological adventure in Central America
by DAVID DIGREGORIO
Clients visiting Nicaragua
can see Mombacho and