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The Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve

Mombacho cloud forest immersed in stunning nature

“Mombacho” is the native name given to the volcano resting above Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua. Coming from the Nahuatl language, meaning “water hill”, Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve is just over half an hour drive from our home at Casa Marimba in Laguna de Apoyo.

Our home Casa Marimba is an intimate get-away for travelers from all over the world. After our guests have had time to enjoy the deep tranquil nature of our property, we suggest they visit all of the local attractions. One of our favorite places is Mombacho Volcano.

Situated south of the islets of Granada, this inactive volcano is home to the Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve. This area hosts some of the most colorful and diverse sceneries in the area. Mombacho Volcano is one of the 19 volcanoes in the Nicaraguan volcanic chain. At the height of 4,600 feet (about 1,400 m) above sea level, it is the 5th highest and most spectacular of the bunch.

With a beautiful landscape and scenic reserve, it has a unique and very special climate. A misty atmosphere at 1,000 feet (about 300 m) above sea level, Mombacho Reserve is one of two cloud forests in Nicaragua. Making this lush location a magical destination, the preservation of flora and fauna is a main focus. The park is kept in its pristine natural condition by inviting visitors to explore the majority of the park; leaving the eastern corner to grow organically and untouched.

The unique ecosystem of Mombacho

The Mombacho Volcano has hot springs and fumaroles (openings where hot sulfurous gas escapes) around the northern ridge. The volcano is covered with flourishing vegetation that creates its unique ecosystem. Full of diverse species of fauna and flora; Mombacho hosts 238 species of birds, 52 species of mammals, 36 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, nearly 100 varieties of exotic butterflies, with 765 species of plants.

As a dream destination for nature lovers, enthusiasts might be lucky enough to spot the captivating crimson-breasted, emerald-plumed Quetzal (native bird) or the Mombacho salamander. The Mombacho salamander is native only to this area of the world - making it a special animal to seek out.

Exploring the different trails of Mombacho Volcano

With some of the best hiking experiences in Nicaragua, Mombacho Nature Reserve has multiple trails for all experience levels. The trails have distances of 1 to 4 hours of adventurous hiking. The summit of Mombacho volcano can be reached by foot or by vehicle. Visitors that reach the top can enjoy a small museum full of scientific information about the area.

Along the adventure of exploration, hikers can experience emitting hot vapors, fresh air, and lots of intriguing and fascinating aspects of nature.

For those curious about which trail to choose, we suggest these 3 trails: Sendero el Crater, Sendero el Tigrillo, and Sendero el Puma.

Considered as the more relaxed of the 3, Sendero el Crater can be completed without a guide, whereas Sendero el Puma or Sendero el Tigrillo require certified guides.

Sendero el Cráter

For those interested in a relaxed, shortened walk around, we suggest Sendero el Crater. This nature walk takes about 1.5 hours to complete (1 hour for the fastest). On the Pacific side of Nicaragua this dwarf forest has amazing views to the northern side of the country. From this access point, hikers can see the Isletas de Granada, the city of Granada, the Laguna de Apoyo, the Asese Peninsula, and the Masaya Volcano.

Sendero el Cráter is a self lead tour however, with groups of more than 20 people requiring mandatory guides.

Sendero el Tigrillo

Considered as the intermediate trail of the three, Sendero el Tigrillo will take around 2.5 hours to complete (2 for our fit friends). Hiking along this trail will be accessed with a certified tour guide that will safely bring hikers around to the viewpoints of Isletas de Granada, the Cocibolca Lake, and the highest point of Mombacho Volcano.

Sendero el Puma

As the most advanced of these trails, ranked with the highest level of difficulty, it takes about 4 hours to complete. This hike takes its visitors along 4 kilometers of adventure. Accessing a certified guide will support explorers around the cloud forest while they take in the beautiful scenery . One of the most rewarding aspects of this hike is the subtle endurance needed to transverse the total hike .

How to get there

From Casa Marimba, you can easily enjoy a day trip to Mombacho Volcano, in the morning or afternoon. Depending on the trail you choose, you must save between half a day or a full day. Although it can be arranged on the spot, we recommend you to plan it in advance. You can contact us for more information, or you can also call the park directly: +505 2552 5858.

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