Nicaragua is full of history, culture, landscape, and certainly food. Come upon original flavors and delight your palate as you experience the finest of Nicaraguan culture on this nine day journey. Meet delightful Granada and historic Leon as you rub shoulders with great cooks, learn how to prepare traditional dishes, and taste your way through Nicaragua.
Selva Negra is a full-service ecolodge, rainforest reserve, organic farm, and coffee estate located in the highlands of the north of Nicaragua. You will learn about outstanding sustainable farming, discover the coffee plantations, and walk in the preserved rainforest.
1. Take a cooking class and make traditional Nicaraguan dishes.
2. Visit Flor de Caña Rum, the biggest spirits distillery in Central America.
3. Walk through the cloud forest and look for local flora and fauna.
4. Explore a coffee estate and learn about the making process.
5. Learn about the sustainable agriculture of Selva Negra
6. Visit Jueves de Verbena, a weekly event of music, cuisine, and dance.
7. Visit Doña Elba cigar factory and learn the extensive history of cigar fabrication.
Day 1. Arrival.
Meet your guide at the international airport of Managua, and transfer to your hotel. You will have the reminder of the day to rest.
Day 2. Nicaraguan cuisine.
Transfer from Managua to Leon. You will have a stop along the way in the town of Masaya for a culinary experience. At famed restaurant El Filete, enjoy a cooking class where you learn to make a traditional dish called “Quesillo.” This dish is quintessentially Nicaraguan, it has rice and beans, pico de gallo, steak, cheese and sweet or fried plantain. Learn the secrets of making this delicacy from the cook, and eat the fruits of your work for lunch. After this activity, you will drive to Leon.
Day 3. Leon and Rum Factory.
Today you will have a tour of Colonial Leon. The city is famous for its exquisite architecture and history. An array of architectural styles are pictured on the delightful streets of Leon, from neoclassical to colonial and all in between. See the famous Insigne y Real Basílica, whose construction started in 1747 and continued for approximately a century.
Eat at a local restaurant after taking in the highlights of this city, and then head to Flor de Caña Rum, the biggest spirits distillery in Central America. Have a tour of the facility and learn about the distillation process. Following the tour, see the Rum Showroom and taste the collection of the excellent Flor de Caña distinguished rum.
Later, go back to Hotel El Convento for a class in mixology. The experienced bartender will show how to make the rum-based naturally national drink of Nicaragua, the Macua. Enjoy this cheered cocktail before dinner, the rest of the evening is free to rest and explore.
Day 4. Selva Negra.
Today you will be transferred to Selva Negra. Upon arrival, check-in, have lunch, and spend the rest of the day discovering this truly particular ecolodge and farm. The nature preserve on which the Ecolodge rests is treated as cloud forest. The area has a lot of plant and animal life and is home to rare bird species, stunning views of mountains and fog-shrouded valleys, and exotic rainforest flowers, vines and trees.
Take a self-guided walk through the property this afternoon, or pay a visit to the farm animals as you settle into your rainforest lodge. This evening, relax at the lakeside and have a delicious meal with organically-grown fare planted onsite.
Day 5. Coffee Tour.
Today you will have a free morning to self-discover the grounds and take part in some onsite optional tours. We recommend the guided hour and a half tour of the sustainable farm and community of Selva Negra. Have an authentic look into sustainable agriculture and the roles that climate, history, topography, and social programs have played in the evolution and operation of the area.
Other activity recommendations include a hike or horseback ride on the rainforest trails of the nature reserve. Or discover the artisan shop and local museum. If you are up for a drive, you may also arrange to drive into Matagalpa to discover this town.
Following lunch, join a small group guided tour of the coffee area of Selva Negra. On this walking activity, see the process of coffee making from seed to your cup. Come upon the nurseries and organic laboratories. During harvest time (Nov-Feb) you could witness the bean picking and weighing process. Taste the product at the end in the museum with a complimentary very nice cup of coffee. Later, spend the evening relaxing on the farm and have dinner by the lake.
Day 6. Granada, Market and Volcano.
Today we will drive to Granada, we will have lunch in neighboring Masaya and continue on to the Volcano Masaya right just outside of town. We will drive to the top and discover the crater of Santiago and neighboring areas on foot while taking in fascinating views of the countryside below. After learning about the activity of the volcanic area and evolution, spend some time wandering through the market of Masaya, looking through the craft stalls, and experiencing the artisanal environment.
After this, we will continue on to Granada, check-in into your hotel, and relax for a while before going back to Masaya for an authentic culture experience of Nicaragua, Jueves de Verbena. This weekly event shows traditional folkloric music, dance, and cuisine.
Food stores and restaurants surround the market, and performances begin at 7:30pm, lasting until approximately midnight. Get to know local Nicaraguans and bask in the atmosphere of the evening of Masaya before going back to Granada for a well-earned night of relaxation and rest.
Day 7. Granada, Cigar and Chocolate.
This morning you will get to know the long history of cigar making in Nicaragua at the Doña Elba cigar factory. This factory is family-owned and operated, giving its traditions down through various generations. Explore the factory, get a close look at the making process of the cigar as well as the history of this acclaimed good.
Following the cigar activity, meet the colonial city of Granada, the oldest European settlement in Central America. Go on a tour of this enchanted city in a horse drawn carriage, in keeping with traditional colonial fashion. Travel in time 500 years into the past as your carriage ride takes you through the historic streets of Granada.
The highlights of the tour are La Merced, a delicate baroque cathedral that offers stunning views of the city from its lofty rooftop, and the famous convent of San Francisco, with its astonishing, iconic blue facade, amongst other locations. We will have lunch at Zaguan, which is recognized as the best restaurant in the city. This restaurant is known for its open-flamed grill and tasty meats, as well as its delightful atmosphere with dueling mariachis.
After your delicious lunch, have an afternoon of dessert. Chocolate has been one of the most representative products for Central American cultures throughout history, and Nicaragua has some of the best. Learn about the outstanding history of the product at the Choco Museum of Granada.
Here follow the making process from beans to bar as you roast, winnow, grind, mix, conch, refine, and mold your own handmade cup of chocolate. This workshop takes approximately two hours. At the end of the day, you will return to your hotel and have the reminder of the evening free.
Day 8. Local food and volcano.
Following breakfast, meet the cook at Hotel Dario, and go together to the local market. Here inspect the stalls and select all of the fresh ingredients in order to create a traditional Nicaraguan meal. Go back to the hotel, and cook together with your instructor, learn trade secrets and traditions of the local cuisine. At the end of the lesson, enjoy the feast you have prepared.
Later in the afternoon go with your guide to the Reserve of Mombacho Volcano. This area is considered as a cloud forest, due to its low-lying cloud layer. It is teeming with lush vegetation that has been reestablished to the reserve after centuries of activity of the volcano. Drive together with your guide about 45 minutes to the base of the volcano and meet with park keepers who share their vast experience and knowledge of the area with you as you load into a 4×4 and continue on to the peak.
Enjoy the ride up through tropical flora, passing by captivating views of this rare ecosystem. At the peak, spend approximately two hours wandering along the trails of the volcano, while you learn about its biodiversity, history, and ancient inhabitants. Later we will go back to Granada, the rest of the evening is free to eat, relax and rest.
Day 9. Return home.
Unfortunately, today marks the end of this extraordinary experience in Nicaragua. If you would like to customize your trip, contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.
9 days & 8 nights
$2,200 per guest
Private transportation, door to door service
8 nights accommodation: hotels carefully selected
Local certified onsite guides
All park entrance fees
4 traditional lunches
Not included: international flights, personal, travel and cancellation insurance and other expenses than indicated.
9 days & 8 nights
11 days & 10 nights
14 days & 13 nights