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“Consider spending a few dollars more”

Reserva Natural Miraflor
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Overnight: Somoto Canyon and Miraflor Natural Reserve from León
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Esteli
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Consider spending a few dollars more”
Reviewed December 11, 2013

When booking this adventure at the Treehugger agency near Hostal Luna/Cafe Luz, we thought we'd save a bit by stepping down a notch in price from the most expensive lodging at Neblinas del Bosque (which turns out not to be a home stay, but more of a guest house run by a German couple, just inside the Miraflor Reserve). So we chose 2 nights at the Finca -- Sonata which included 3 meals. First hint of our error came when met at the bus stop by a young man who walked some distance ahead of our shorter, older legs as we hauled our luggage for over 1 kilometer along a slippery, uphill path, (past the cute German property mentioned above) 'til we arrived to find Corina waiting for us. Corina speaks only Spanish. We were shown to a 7 bed bunkhouse, complete with one light bulb, thanks to solar panels on the roof. (Not sure if the 2 small cabins and other bunkhouse had lights as well) We were right next door to the separate baños building equipped with flush toilets. There was a workshop taking place, so our first dinner in a cold dining hall was shared by the leader who spoke English, and a group of other locals. But the second night, we were the only two remaining for dinner, then breakfast, in the dimly lit, leaking-roofed room. On a positive note, once the morning rain stopped and fog (think "cloud forest") lifted, we enjoyed a wonderful 4-hr birding hike with guide Nelson, who's a master with bird calls and info, also learning to speak English! (Pay extra for this guy, he's your best connection unless you speak Spanish.) AND . . .You'll need SERIOUS bug spray. We learned later that chiggers are microscopic, so the area wasn't really free of insects, as we'd assured ourselves when mosquitoes failed to make a showing.
Nelson later negotiated with Corina and her crew to put us on an earlier bus the next morning which stopped much nearer to the farm, thus shortening our return hike. This lengthy description is just to point out that rustic means primitive - not cozy or quaint. The campasiños opening their farms to earn a few tourist dollars are not in the hospitality business. We were left to entertain ourselves between meals, definitely no internet or electrical outlets. Bring a headlamp, good book, bug spray and your sense of humor! Once your daily admission fee is paid, you can use trails throughout the Reserve, regardless of whether you stayed overnight. As others have said, you will need a guide!

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Kathie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Manchester, Connecticut
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Simplicity at it’s Best”
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We read that the roads to Miraflor were unpaved and difficult to drive on, so we rented a 4-wheel drive. I definitely recommended this option or travel on a local bus. It was a crazy-difficult road to drive on but it was well worth it! Our plan was to rent horses to see the reserve. We received directions from our hotel to an information station but we think we took a wrong turn off. Therefore, we stopped at the first house for help. To our delight, they were able to accommodate our plans. Fairly quickly 3 horses and a guide arrived. Our guide, Ali, was amazing! My husband speaks fairly fluent Spanish, which came in extremely handy. Ali was very patient and helpful. He was easy to talk to and very knowledgeable about the reserve. Our horses were tremendously responsive and well trained. The horses walked up steep inclines of mud and rock; they walked on a rocky river bed, and across a river. One of the highlights of the trip was the waterfall. It was difficult to get to but well worth it. We got off our horses and walked down a steep, winding decline. Hanging onto sturdy tree limbs, we slowly descended down the path. Once we reached the bottom, we jumped into the clear, refreshing water. Ali, our guide, climbed up the waterfall and entertained us with his diving skills. Ali took us on a 3- hour tour. We saw different types of cacti, agave, pepper plants, and so much more. When we returned, we were greeted with a local, healthy lunch. Miraflor is a peaceful and beautiful community. The farmers work together and enjoy a simple life. We only saw a small portion of this amazing reserve. Next time we plan on staying in Miraflor for a couple of days and really exploring.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Kirsten D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Be careful”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

Don't try a hike in Miraflor unless you have a guide and a specific route because the area is very large. Go see an agency perhaps, or stay in one of the lodges. The bus up there is dreadfully slow and the road is hell!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank centroja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Go with a guide”
Reviewed August 6, 2013 via mobile

Even if the staff of the hostel sonati say you can go alone you should go with a guide! They cost 15USD for 1-3 people! We went there by our one but its very difficult to find the right way and the realy nice spots is not possible to find them! Most guides only speak spanish but just ask around the town for an english speaking guide! Realy dont go alone its worth to hire a guide otherwise its a bit waste of time i think

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Uolam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A sojourner's paradise”
Reviewed June 11, 2013

I traveled throughout Nicaragua for five months and the two places I fell head over heals in love with are Ometepe and Miraflor. Miraflor is captivating. It is stunningly beautiful, embedded with rural mountain culture and rich in history and lore from the Contra/Sandanista era. Women own their own coffee cooperatives in Miraflor. People organize for community development, including bringing solar panels up the mountain for electricity and increasing micro-agricultural enterprises for an improved local economy. Youth play a valuable role in Miraflor and figure prominently in maintaining the traditional way of life in the mountains. The people who live in Miraflor embrace tourists, so you will feel at home here. But Miraflor is not for everyone. It's rural, isolated, and poverty is apparent. Expect outhouses, lack of electricity, simple eating, rustic lodging and no frills. Expect a long bus ride from Esteli in an ancient, non-air-conditioned school bus that is packed with everything from people to huge sacks of rice, live chickens and even pigs. It's not uncommon for the buses to break down. Expect long walks from where the bus drops you off to the destination you intend to visit, so take plenty of water, dress comfortably and wear sensible footwear that's designed for hiking and climbing. Arrive early at the bus stops, and expect to wait for the buses. Also expect to get stranded on the mountain if you miss the last bus connection. For someone like me, all of these characteristics add to the adventure and charm of Miraflor, and they enrich the experience of truly living the way the locals live their daily lives. That means a lot to me because I travel like a pilgrim, not a typical western tourist. Miraflor leaves a lasting impression in the heart and mind. It tugs at your soul and beckons you back. I found it to be a magical spot on Earth.

Visited July 2012
3 Thank Jeanette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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