- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Draped with Spanish moss and carpeted with orchids and lush vegetation, the more than 5,600 hectares of the Reserva Natural Miraflor are one of the most important natural cloud forest reserves in Nicaragua. The area is entirely privately owned and managed by several farmer associations and campesino cooperatives.
This is one of few places in Nicaragua to spot the exotic, elusive quetzal, but up to a third of Nicaragua’s bird species can be observed here as well.
Close to 4,000 square kilometers of jungle pressed between the Indio and Maíz Rivers make up La Gran Reserva, which abuts two additional protected areas, the Punta Gorda Nature Reserve to the north, and the Río San Juan Wildlife Reserve to the south. Together, the reserves are part of the Biósfera del Sureste de Nicaragua, an immense territory dedicated to the preservation of animal and plant species along with their natural ecosystems in the Río San Juan watershed.
The reserve is one of the few remaining areas in the Americas where you can experience virgin tropical humid forest as it was 200 years ago. It is one of the last refuges in Nicaragua for ocelots and other big cat species, but its remoteness has made inventorying the wildlife challenging and little is known about its interior.
Defined as all the cays and small islands found in a 40-kilometer radius from the center of Isla Grande in the Atlantic Ocean off Puerto Cabezas, plus a 20-kilometer swath of shoreline from Cabo Gracias a Dios to the south, the Reserva Biológica Cayos Miskitos has important economic and cultural significance to the Miskito people, who depend on it for fish and shellfish.
The Cayos Miskitos are an ecological treasure whose impenetrable lagoons, reefs, mangrove forests, and swamps are home to marine turtles, manatees, dolphins, and several types of endangered coral species. The mangrove forests give shelter to bird species, such as pancho galán, garza rosada, and the brown pelican. Substantial petroleum deposits lie below the continental shelf in the Cayos Miskitos area, so the management of the region will warrant much caution and a careful balance. In the meantime, the cays’ most immediate threat is drug traffickers, who use the area as a lair.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition