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Birding in Nicaragua Rainforests

Birding in Nicaragua Rainforests

This trip is all about nature and wildlife.  Most of this trip will be spent along the Rio San Juan, which is the river that runs from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean Sea. Parts of this river are the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  The Rio San Juan has a great history and even people like Mark Twain and Cornelius Vanderbilt have traveled the Rio San Juan.  A few of Vanderbilt’s steam ships are still visible along the shores of the river. 


  1. Sitting on the porch of your jungle hut watching flotillas of Herons & Egrets drifting down the Rio San Juan.
  2. Getting to know the local guides and staff at the Sabalos Lodge
  3. Hanging out with Howler Monkeys. 

Printable Bird List
(This is a checklist of the birds that we have seen in Nicaragua)

Travel Dates: Late February, every year, this is an annual trip! Please contact us for specific dates.

Group Size:  6 Travelers plus guides

Trip Length:  11 days

Rates Rate per person = $3,450 (based on double occupancy) Rate for single = $4,350

Rates are: Inclusive:  One round trip domestic flight, domestic transfers within Nicaragua, lodging, meals, scheduled group tours, entrance fees & Allianz deluxe travel health insurance.

Exclusive:  International airfare, immigration fee, alcohol, personal expenses such as souvenirs, expenses relating to personal choices during free time and tips for guides.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1:  Managua 
Arrival in Managua; flights usually arrive in the evening, so we will head directly to the Las Mercedes Hotel for a relaxing evening among the pools and gardens. 

Day 2:  Managua
There are two great birding areas just outside of Managua that we will visit today: Chocoyero - El Brujo Natural Reserve and Montibelli Natural Reserve. These reserves offer great birding and walking and both centers have wonderful porches to sit and wait for the birds to come to you, if you choose.  

Day 3:  Rio San Juan 
It is a one hour flight to San Carlos, which is a small town on the southeast corner of Lake Nicaragua and the start of the Rio San Juan.  From there we catch a boat for a 2 hour ride down river.  We will see a lot of birds along the way.  We will be staying at Sabalos Jungle Lodge where 181 different species of birds have been identified. 

Day 4:  Rio San Juan 
The Sabalos Lodge is a sweet place; completely surrounded by nature with cabins directly overlooking the river.  There are good walking paths for exploring the area and the neighboring village.  There are kayaks at the Sabalos for exploring the rivers and plenty of hammocks. The trees are usually full of monkeys and they will sing you to sleep at night.  We will be taking a boat tour up the Boca Negra.

Day 5:  Rio San Juan 
A short boat ride down the river from Sabalos Lodge is the Monte Cristo River Lodge and Reserve. We will spend the day at this 120 acre reserve where 144 different species of birds have been identified.  There is 5.5 miles of trails here to view wildlife.

Day 6:  Rio San Juan 
Today we will be visiting El Castillo and Reserva Indio-Maiz, via a boat trip down river.  The village of El Castillo began in 1693 when the Spanish built a fortress on the banks of the river, which still stands today.  Further down river is the Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve.  It is the second largest lowland rainforest reserve in Nicaragua at 785,000 acres and is home to over 400 species of birds. 

Day 7:  Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge
From San Carlos it is a 2-hour boat ride to Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge.  This area is one of the most remote and wildest places in Nicaragua.  We will be staying at cabins within the refuge.

Day 8: Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge
There are boat tours and hiking trails here and every day we will be with a local guide.  This area has a high concentration of birds, critters and wildlife.  There are many species of orchids as well. 

Day 9:  Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge
Another day will be spent viewing and exploring the area for flora and fauna.

Day 10:  Managua 
It is a 2-hour boat ride, followed by a 1-hour plane ride and we will be back in Managua at Las Mercedes for the evening.

Day 11: Fly Home 
Flights usually leave in the morning, so getting to the airport and getting home is our only activity for the day.

Please note: The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability.  If we must book with our second choice, the lodging type and style is comparable.