Trailing through northern Nicaragua

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Nicaraguan coffee

Nicaragua is one of those countries that you will vaguely have heard off but that’s about it. If you know anything then it could be due to the fact that you are a coffee drinker.

Capitalising on that, the Nicaraguan Tourist Board has developed a coffee trail that allows aficionados to travel through five departments in the northern part of the country enabling you to stop and see different plantations as they go. The idea is that as they travel they will stay in rural hotels and guesthouses as they travel and take part in everyday activities as well.

This type of trail would appeal to two types of people; those that are used to hiking through relatively undeveloped areas and those who like exploring the different foods and cooking styles that people enjoy. Don’t travel in the rainy season because many of the roads will be almost impassable unless you have the toughest of four-wheel drive vehicles.

The common theme throughout is that you will visit different coffee plantations, all above 2,500 feet, and have the opportunity to sample as you go. That means that one department has to be Jinotega which is where most of the coffee production is. It might produce 80% of the countries coffee but the National Coffee Museum is based in neighboring Matagalpa where supposedly the best coffee bean quality is to be found. in addition to these two departments you visit Neuva Segovia, known for its colonial heritage, Madriz where “rosquillas” are said to be the best complement to any coffee and Esteli.

Esteli is the place to marvel at the beauty of the country. Largely in the highlands there are four national parks. From one of them, Meseta Tisey-Estanzuela, you have views across to Honduras and El Salvador in one direction and Chinandega’s volcanoes in another. In another, Miraflor, you can find over 200 types of orchid and, for bird-watchers, seeing Golden Orioles is a treat. Here the climate changes depending whether you in the valleys, the mountains or in between so pack a range of clothing.

You may not like coffee but that shouldn’t stop you taking this trail. You’re going to see such a combination of foods, scenery, wildlife and colonial heritage that you’ll forget your dislike!

For more about Nicaragua, click here The website has broken links on some pages which are being reapaired so you may have to return to the site at a later date.

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