07/08/2015 – 07/11/2015
Gringo In Nicaragua – Tisey Estanzuela Natural Reserve
We visited the Tisey Reserve several times during our trip to Nicaragua. It’s very close to Esteli, our home base during our trip to Nicaragua. Esteli is about a 2 hour drive north from the capital city of Managua.This posting contains photos and information from all three visits. The reserve name is a combination of the Cerro El Tisey nature site and the river La Estanzuela. The area is a mountain rain forest containing wildlife, hiking, crops and livestock. Instead of just going to Tisey, we will make the trip into a loop so we see a little more of Nicaragua.
Below is the basis route we will cover on this post.
- NIC 1 Highway (Pan American Highway) south from Esteli
- Left on NIC 45 Highway towards San Nicolas
- Left on the dirt road at the restaurant Rancho Don Luis
- A visit to the Salto de la Estanzuela Waterfall
- Continue on the dirt road back to Esteli
A view of the drive on NIC 1 after leaving Esteli (driving south toward Managua). This was at 5:30 in the morning, so traffic was light.
This incredible view was about 10 minutes after turning onto NIC 45. This panoramic was captured after pulling of the right side of the road.
Most people think of Nicaragua as a tropical country, but they also have cactus! This was spotted along the highway growing over a rock wall a few minutes after the photo above.
Where we turn off NIC 45 onto the dirt road, is at the Rancho Don Luis (follow the sign for La Garnacha). This is the view you are treated to if you take the short walk from the Rancho Don Luis. A purchase at Don Luis’s restaurant or paying a small fee per person is also required. This image was captured in the afternoon. In the distance is the town of San Nicolas (see below under Optional Side Trip). The “El Rancho de Don Luis” was created in 2004 by Don Jose Luis Lopez Alfaro and his wife Odili Gutierrez.
Another view from Rancho Don Luis showing a volcano in the distance.
This gives you an idea of the dirt road on the drive back to Esteli. On this trip having the 4WD (four wheel drive) wasn’t a requirement, but depending on the weather it can be.
This is a Blue-crowned Motmot. The Motmot is Nicaragua’s national bird. One of many different species of birds found in the reserve.
The Salto de la Estanzuela Waterfall is probably the most famous place in the reserve. To get to the waterfall you need to pass thru a local farmer’s land, which requires a small fee. The fee should be less than $1 per person. The road to the waterfall requires a 4WD, or you can wall the short .6 km (.4 miles). Below is a view from our 4WD headed down the road to the falls.
Here is the view you will be greeted with once you reach the base of the falls. The waterfall is over 10 meters high (35 feet), and yes that is a swimmer in the photo.
After leaving the Salto de la Estanzuela Waterfall we are back on the road to Esteli. The waterfall is only about 6 km (3.7 miles) from Esteli. The image below is one of the several farmer we passed on our trip.
Optional Side Trip
A great little side trip is to the small town (around 9,000) of San Nicolas, which is mostly surrounded by rivers and mountains. To get there you just stay on NIC 45 instead of turning onto the dirt road at Don Luis. A festival is held there on December 15th, in honor of ‘San Nicolas’. There is view of San Nicolas from the Rancho Don Luis overlook pictured above. The image below is from a farmer selling chicks on one of the streets in San Nicolas.
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