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Nicaragua - with Texas Association of Biology Teachers


July 26, 2014 - August 01, 2014

  • Introduction
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
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The tiny nation of Nicaragua is characterized by a remarkably high level of biodiversity for its size. One fifth of the country is designated protected land, including 78 reserves and a variety of habitats including mountains, lakes, rainforest, and volcanoes. Its cultural offerings are just as abundant — Granada is a city in restoration mode with emerging musicians, poets, and artists, while León showcases its Spanish colonial past and intellectual leanings through impressive architecture and art. Led by Alton Biggs, we invite you join the Texas Association of Biology Teachers to learn about the natural beauty and energetic spirit that are inseparable from Nicaragua’s identity.

Experience Nicaragua’s spectacular natural beauty and power at Masaya Volcano National Park.

Explore the Spanish colonial architecture of León.

Witness the ancient petrified footprints of Acahualinca near the shore of Lake Nicaragua.

Learn about the importance of rum production during a visit to Flor de Caña Rum distillery.

Observe the flocks of Pacific Parakeets at Chocoyero El Brujo Nature Reserve.

Enjoy a boat trip in the Juan Venado Nature Reserve, home to one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the world.

Look out for the endemic Mombacho Salamander and a variety of bird species in the cloud forests of Mombacho Volcano reserve.

July 26 - Managua

Upon arrival at the airport in Managua you will be met by a local guide who will accompany you to the hotel. Today is a travel day and no meals or program activities are scheduled. Located on southwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua, Managua is the country’s capital city and the second most populous city in Central America. Overnight Holiday Inn Select Managua

July 27 - León

This morning is an orientation and overview with Ivan Ramirez, followed by an excursion to the archaeological footprints of Las Huellas de Acahualinca, estimated to be over 7,000 years old. Located near the shore of Lake Nicaragua, the tracks are said to be the petrified footprints of a group of Paleo Indians who were walking to collect water or food that were preserved due to volcanic activity in the area. Take a short city tour and lunch before departing for León. The liberal counterpart to conservative Granada, León is known as the intellectual and academic center of Nicaragua. The city’s buildings serve as fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture. Despite León’s importance as an industrial and commercial center, it is surrounded by lush natural beauty and is only 11 miles from the Pacific coast. Overnight El Convento Hotel (BLD)

July 28 - León

This morning learn about the importance of rum production during a visit to Flor de Caña Rum distillery. Enjoy an afternoon boat trip in the Juan Venado Nature Reserve, home to one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the world. Dinner out on the town to explore the local fare in León. Overnight El Convento Hotel (BLD)

July 29 - Ticuantepe

Depart for Montibelli, a private nature reserve that boasts more than 150 varieties of resident and migratory birds, more than 30 species of bats and terrestrial mammals, numerous frogs, toads, and reptiles, along with a noisy dawn and dusk chorus provided by several troops of vocally competitive Golden Mantled Howler Monkeys. The complement of native trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants is equally diverse. Check in before heading to the Chocoyero El Brujo Nature Reserve in the afternoon. One of the main attractions here is seeing the chocoyos, big flocks of bright green Pacific Parakeets that nest communally in cavities in a huge rock wall within the refuge. They depart at dawn for distant feeding areas and return shortly after 4 p.m. each day in such numbers their raucous vocalizations drown out all other noise. Overnight Montibelli Nature Reserve (BLD)

July 30 - Granada

Early morning hike through Montibelli nature trails. Mid-morning check out and transfer to Masaya Volcano National Park. The volcano is one of the most active in the country with gaping craters and a continuous stream of sulfurous gas visible from far away. The Chortegas, who most of the area’s present day inhabitants trace their ancestry back to, feared the volcano and understood the grumbling eruptions to be signs of anger that required sacrifices — often human. Visit the Volcanic Interpretation Center and explore the scenic roads and trails, leading around the two impressive volcanoes and five formidable craters. Upon arrival in Granada, take a short walking exploration of the colonial city. Granada is one of the oldest cities in Central America, and played host to William Walker and others intent on taking control of the nation in the 19th century. Present day Granada offers copious amounts of charm. Dinner at an area restaurant. Overnight Plaza Colon Hotel (BLD)

July 31 - Granada

This morning explore Mombacho Volcano, beginning with a drive to the summit where the Biological Center is located, towering at over 4,400 feet. Discover the unique ecosystems of this active stratovolcano before setting off on a hike along the trails to see the flora and fauna firsthand. Of Nicaragua’s 78 reserves, this is one of the most important due to its cloud forest elevation. Enjoy the opportunity to watch a variety of birds, many species of orchids, insects, butterflies, the endemic Mombacho Salamander, and if the group is lucky, possibly even Orange-chinned Parakeets. Lunch at Santa Catarina overlook and afternoon excursion to the Masaya Market, home to some of the best craftsmen in Central America. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Plaza Colon Hotel (BLD)

August 01 - Farewell!

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the United States. (B)



Minimum 8 travelers. With the maximum group size of 16 the price will be $1,575. Does not include tips/gratuities or international airfare, estimated at $750 from Dallas-Fort Worth. Other departure cities are available.

For more information contact Debbie Sturdivant Jordan at 866-748-6146 or

Email Alton Biggs at