Birding in Nicaragua Rainforests

Birding in Nicaragua Rainforests

If you are interested in Birding in Nicaragua Rainforests, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

We love Nicaragua, we have spent more time in Nicaragua than any other country and we have been traveling to this wonderful place since 2005.  It is our home away from home, so why not travel with us! 

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.  Traveling through the Lake Nicaragua area and along the Rio San Juan is slow going, nothing happens fast, which makes this trip very mellow, enjoyable and plenty of time to see all the birds. 


  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:  Tours by request, February is the best time to visit.
  • Group Size:  2 - 6 Travelers plus guides
  • Trip Length: 14 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $4,150 ($1,200 charge for single occupancy)
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, park entrance fees and basic travel insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance.
  • Adventure level:  Adventurous, please check the "Welcome" page for definition

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Birds of Nicaragua” second edition by Lilliana Chavarria-Duriaux, et al.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds of Nicaragua. 

To view a photo album from a photographer who was on this tour, click here:  Ersten Imaoka’s Photo Album (opens new page)

Map of the travel route here:  Nicaragua Map (this map will enlarge when clicked on, opens a new page)

If you would like to see recent photos click here:  Newsletter Archives (opens a new page)

More photos can be found here:  Photo Gallery (opens new page)

Basic Itinerary

Day 1:  Managua 
Arrival in Managua; flights usually arrive in the evening at the Managua Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport (MGA), 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:  San Carlos
From Managua it is a 5-hour drive to San Carlos, a small village located at the southeast corner of Lake Nicaragua and the start of the Rio San Juan.  We will be making several stops along the way to visit reserves and look for birds.  Across the water from the village there is a small fishing lodge, which is also a good place to watch birds and we will spend one night at this location.

Day 4:  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 5: 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 6:  Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge
Another day will be spent viewing and exploring the area for flora and fauna.

Day 7:  San Carlos
From Los Guatuzos, it is a 2-hour boat ride back to San Carlos where we will spend 1-night at the same fishing lodge across from the village.  

Day 8:  Sabalos 
From San Carlos, it is a 2-hour boat ride down the Rio San Juan to the village of Sabalos and Sabalos Lodge.  We will see a lot of birds along the way.  Our lodging will be at the Sabalos Jungle Lodge where over 300 different species of birds have been identified.  

Day 9:  Sabalos 
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 10: Sabalos
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 11:  Sabalos 
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 12:  Managua 
It is a 2-hour boat ride back to San Carlos, followed by a 1-hour plane ride, and we will be back in Managua at Las Mercedes for the evening.

Day 13: Granada and Masaya 
From Managua we will take a day trip to visit the historic colonial city of Granada (founded in 1524), the artesian city of Masaya, and the small artesian village of Catarina located atop the Apoyo Crater.  These areas are the cultural center of Nicaragua and are excellent birding areas as well.  

Day 14: 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.  Details of this trip are a little vague as it is VERY flexible. Destinations throughout the trip are based on the desires, ability, and goals of the group.