NICARAGUA – Between canyon and cigar factories

by | 24 Sep 2017 | Nicaragua, On the Panamerican road | 0 comments

Date de dernière mise à jour : le 30 July 2018

It is after our night in an empty hotel parking lot (but with a swimming pool) that we lead to Nicaragua.

The border crossing is pretty simple (with the advice from iOverlander) but a bit slow… And the payment in Nicaragua has to be done in US dollars. Yes, you don’t have the possibility to pay in Cordobas…


Once the Honduras left, we go direction Somoto Canyon. We stop for a quick lunch in a restaurant along the road and we continue.

Some friends advised us to stop to Fausto’s place. Fausto is a Canyon guide and has a free parking lot in his garden.

So we sleep in the family garden, surrounded by chickens and other birds.

In the early morning, Fausto join us to start the Canyon walk: we take our sandals to walk in the river, he gives us life jackets and we leave.

The hike last 2 hours and we don’t meet anyone else.

Before diving into the river we have to walk half an hour to go upstream. And despite the early hour, it is hot. The moment when reach the river is so refreshing!

The sun rises slowly behind our heads and the rays reach the cliff walls. We let us float on the river, slowly carried by our life jackets, and only interrupted by few jumps to reach the next part of the river.

Despite the dry season, this canyon will remain a very good souvenir and a place just for us.

Back to Fausto’s house, we decide to take the road back and to lead to the mountains.


The heat from Honduras and now the one we felt in Nicaragua the first days convinced us to go up in the mountains.

We go to the Miraflor reserve about which we heard a lot of good things and where the nights look fresher (a big bonus).

We arrive to Finca Ojos Lindos. The owners are not there but we are welcomed by Marcial and his family. They are the guardians of the property and take care of it when the owners are gone. The first discussions are not simple, the price seems to be higher than expected and Marcial is not very open to negotiation… OK, we pay the amount asked. Marcial finally come back later telling us that the prices were not so high so he will refund us.

The discussion is now more relax and we decide to take a birdwatching tour with him the next morning. The area is known for hosting a lot of different species of birds and plants.

We go quickly to bed. We have to wake up at 5:30 AM tomorrow.

After a rude awakening, we take our backpacks for a walk through forest, fields and coffee plantations. We finally see few birds but we have a good time. And after the effort, we find the comfort of the homemade breakfast of Marcial’s wife.


We take the road back to Esteli, a city famous for its cigars. None of us smoke anymore but we really want to visit a factory.

The weather is perfect for the tobacco culture: the fields around allow growing leaves which will be dried in the factories around Esteli then transformed into cigars of different intensities. The process is done in duo, and generally a woman and a man. Sometime they become a real couple…


After the cigars, we decide to go out of the urban zone to go up in the surrounding mountains and find another finca in the Tisey reserve. It rains. Stronger and stronger. The road goes from pavement to mud then big rocks. And Tikal makes a weird noise when he brakes which is starting to worry us…

It is under a heavy rain that we finally arrive. There is a restaurant and some internet; we set up for 2 nights. We alternate between walks between the rain drops and work on the blog.


The day of the departure, we decide to go to a garage in Estelli. And actually that was a pretty good idea as they find out that the two springs inside the rear brake drums are broken, and one of the drum has been attacked. Not too difficult to find spare springs but for the drum they have to see if it’s still possible to machine it… The stress is growing because sending an Iveco drum from Europe to Nicaragua must cost some money!

The owner let us spend the night in his garage, inside Tikal, and without rear wheels.

The day after, good news, some new springs are being set up and the drum has been successfully machined. We take the road with a brand new Tikal.

Direction Leon (and the heat).

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