Río Escalante-Playa Chacocente
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One of the only Nicaraguan Pacific beaches where the Paslama turtle lays its eggs, Escalante-Chacocente Wildlife Refuge (tel. 505/2532-3293, www.chacocente.info) is a protected wildlife area whose beach provides habitat for numerous other species as well, including white-tailed deer, reptiles, and many interesting types of flora.
There’s lots to do, including guided wildlife tours, sportfishing, scuba diving, and projects with various local communities.
Getting to Chacocente isn’t easy which, for the sake of the turtles, is just as well. One early morning bus leaves Diriamba daily for Chacocente, spends the night, and returns to Diriamba before dawn the next day. Campers can bring their own tent or stay in the visitors center’s wooden bungalows for only a couple of dollars.
To get there, the turnoff from the Pan-American Highway is just south of the Río Ochomogo bridge, or take a taxi from Rivas (about $20 for the 90-minute ride).
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition