November 7-14, 2015

Granada, Somoto, San Juan del Sur

A private, customized itinerary exclusively for CFN members

ACTIVITIES

Enjoy kayaking in Lake Nicaragua, hiking in Granada’s central park, rappelling Somoto Canyon and camping, see the smoking crater of the Masaya volcano, & take surf lessons in San Juan del Sur!

Don’t forget to go shopping in Nicaragua’s unique artisan markets and experience the cool culture in the historical town of Granada and make chocolate with your own hands in the chocolate workshop!

YOUR CFN TRIP ITINERARY

Day 1

Arrive managua
San Jose
Managua – Granada By Road

Upon arrival at the Managua International Airport, complete entry formalities. You will then be met by a private guide and transferred by private vehicle approximately 60 minutes to Granada, where you will check into the Hotel Plaza Colón for a two-night stay.

Enjoy an introductory tour of Granada, either walking or by horse-drawn carriage. Founded by the Spanish in 1524, Granada is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Western Hemisphere. Take in the lovely Spanish-colonial architecture as you stroll along the wide boulevards, flanked by Plaza Colón and the shores of Lake Nicaragua.

Visit the San Francisco Church and neighboring San Francisco Convent which dates back to 1529. Now functioning as a museum, the Convent is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art. Continue on to the beautiful Merced Church where you will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the bell tower and take in impressive views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and the Mombacho Volcano. Next, head over to La Polvora Fortress to learn the history of the old fortress and walk through its immaculate courtyard. Conclude your tour with a visit to Xalteva Church, one of the first churches that the Spanish built upon arriving here.

This evening enjoy a celebratory welcome dinner to get to know your group! (D)

Day 2

Granada

This morning you will have a Mombacho Volcano Canopy Tour. You will enjoy views of the Mombacho Volcano and the valley of Lake Nicaragua from a bird s eye perspective on this adventurous canopy tour. Zip through the treetops as you go from platform to platform ranging in height from 10 to 100 feet above the canopy floor. Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve is a cloud forest located just 18 kilometers from the colonial city of Granada. This dormant volcano also acts as a natural reserve; it shelters many species of animals such as howler and whiteface monkeys, the red eyed tree frog, deer, and the endemic Mombacho salamander, and is home to a large variety of orchids. The canopy tour consists of 11 zip lines (in total 2 kilometers/1.24 miles) and 17 platforms.

Each platform provides an ideal opportunity to rest, bird watch or just take in the majestic views of the Mombacho Volcano and Lake Nicaragua s coastline. All guests are accompanied by an expert instructor and provided with high quality equipment, including helmets, pulleys, and gloves. After the activity feel free to walk around the beautiful Hacienda property.

This afternoon enjoy a Las Isletas Kayak Tour. Kayaking among the natural beauty of Las Isletas in Lake Nicaragua is an exciting and relaxing way to explore the area on your own. This 360-island archipelago formed when Volcán Mombacho erupted some 20,000 years ago, hurling its top half into the nearby lake in giant masses of rock, ash, and lava. Today, the islands are inhabited by a few hundred ‘campesinos’ and an increasing number of wealthy Nicaraguans and foreigners. You can visit the islands by motor boat but a tour by kayak suits those seeking peace and quiet enjoy the sound of birdsong as you cut silently through the glassy water. As you navigate through the calm waters with your bilingual guide, with Volcán Mombacho as your backdrop, be sure to keep an eye out for the many species of birds and wildlife that inhabit the lake and its surroundings. You will also have the opportunity to pass by local fishing communities and observe their daily island life. Stop for a drink at the San Pablo fort, built in the 18th century to protect Granada against English pirates. (B,L,D)

Day 3

Granada – Somoto

This morning you will discover Granada by bike! Begin your full petroleum free adventure in Granada’s Central Park and head through the colonial city towards the port. Stop along the way to learn about the Spanish colonial history surrounding the harbor and lakefront an area occupied by pirates for more than 200 years. Continue by bike through several small communities. Stop for a refreshment at the Balneario del Rayo where you have wonderful views over Ometepe’s twin volcanoes before heading back to the city.

Once there you will enjoy a chocolate workshop. For this workshop, you will head for the ChocoMuseo, where you can learn everything about chocolate and cacao. ChocoMuseo has its own factory where chocolate is handmade daily from 100% Nicaraguan organic cacao beans. You can see the chocolate artisans making chocolate and also make chocolate with your own hands in the chocolate workshop!

Nicaragua is one of the last great places in the world for rare cacao hunters. Within Nicaragua, you could lay out 10 different beans that have 10 different aromatic notes. This workshop covers the entire chocolate making process, starting from the cocoa bean (organic and from Nicaragua). It includes the preparation of cocoa-based beverages, such as a Maya drink and a 19th century recipe. And you will leave with a bar of your handmade chocolate! After this workshop, you will understand that there is more to chocolate, and that it has as much depth and complexity as wine.

This afternoon drive approximately 5 hours to Somoto, a small mountain town surrounded by green hills, is located just a few kilometers from the Honduran border. In the active center of Somoto you can find one of Nicaragua s oldest churches, an impressive colonial building from 1671. The town is also famous for rosquillas, hard Nicaraguan biscuits. In this city, modernity meets with old brick buildings and tradition, which gives the city a special charm. There are many things in and around Somoto which are worth a visit. One of them is the stunning canyon, known as Namancambre. These 4km long rock formations can be discovered by walking or kayaking. Its clear mountain water is a perfect refreshment after a hike. Also the city itself has some attractions besides the church. The Piedra Pintada Museum is home to a collection of archeological pieces that had been found in and around the city. Upon arrival you will check into Hotel El Portal del Angel for one night. (B,L,D)

Day 4

Somoto Canyon Excursion

Today you will visit Somoto Canyon and overnight in an outdoor tent camp. The canyon of Somoto is breathtaking. Begin your tour with rappelling down the canyon. After this we will be passing the river and eventually we will arrive at the meeting point of the two rivers Tapacalí and Comalí. This is where river Coco starts and also where you enter the canyon, in the river you can find a lot of fish, crustaceans and other water creatures. You will see the majestic rocks of 250 meters on both sides where it will be possible to see parakeets, hawks as well as a great variety of flowers. From this point on, you will partly have to walk and partly have to swim. Life vests are available, if desired. Anything valuable or that cannot get wet will be packed away in waterproof bags. You will overnight in an outdoor camp. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Somoto – San Juan Del Sur
By Road

Today you go south to the beach, along the way visiting the Masaya region. First off, you visit the Masaya volcano. It is still active and the only volcano in the western hemisphere where you can drive to the rim from where you can see the smoking crater. If you are lucky, you might encounter the extremely rare Green Parakeets (Chocoyo) which, strangely, call the volcano their home. After visiting the volcano you go to Masaya’s famous artisan market. In this very diverse market you can find many unique Nicaraguan products. The Masaya market is a very colorful experience. You have lunch in the romantic village of Catarina from where you can enjoy spectacular views over the enormous crater lake of Apoyo which is said to have the clearest water in Central America.

Continue on to San Juan del Sur, one of the most popular destinations in Nicaragua. It used to be a quiet fishing village and has now emerged into one of the country’s leading coast destinations, but has still maintained its charm and unique culture. The beaches are great for surfing almost all year long; also snorkeling, diving or sailing trips are offered along the coast. You can do a canopy tour just outside the town and enjoy nice views of the surrounding landscapes. Also the protected La Flor beach and wildlife reserve should not be left out of any itinerary, especially for those who are keen to see turtles. You will check into Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa for three nights. (B,L)

Day 6-7

San Juan Del Sur

These days will be dedicated to surf lessons in San Juan del Sur! This is a great opportunity to learn to surf if you have never surfed before, or for more experienced surfers the breaks go up to professional level. If surfing is not of interest, this area also boasts exceptional sailing and fishing, and depending on the season whale watching and turtle nesting! If you don’t want to spend as much time in the water, there is also another canopy close by to explore. On Day 7 we will host a farewell dinner to reflect on your wonderful journey! (B)

Day 8

San Juan Del Sur – Managua
By Road
depart Managua

Today you will be transferred to Managua International Airport for your international departure flight. (B)

PRICE: $1550 per person for 7 nights

* All CFN Trips do not include airfare

Please note: all members must be screened first to obtain a travel badge to participate in all CFN travel events.