After our escapades at the Honduras-Nicaraguan border we didn’t have much daylight left to make it to the Somoto Canyon. We did however pull into the town of Somoto where we found an inexpensive hotel (Hotel El Rosario) where we were able to park in the courtyard. Score (I wish we had parking options like this at home sometimes.).
Within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel we were put in touch with a guide to hike the Somoto Canyon the next day. Everything fell into place and we went to bed happy campers hotelers.
The following morning we had breakfast made over a wood fire at the hotel by a wonderful Nicaraguan woman. We carb-loaded with handmade tortillas, scrambled eggs, beans and rice, Nicaraguan cheese, avocado and fresh chili sauce.
Our guide, Francisco, picked us up at eight and we made it to his home near the canyon to pick up our lifejackets. Yes, lifejackets. You know you’re going to get wet when you have to put on a floatation device for a hike. This reminded us of our hike through Wadi Mujib in Jordan we did a few years ago. In retrospect the one in Jordan was probably a little too dangerous for tourists to be trapesing around without a guide, but we’re still alive with stories to tell… so all is well!
After donning our newly acquired lifejackets we made our way through some easy trails for about a half hour before seeing the river. It started easy enough with a walk through the shallow part, but within another 5 minutes we weren’t hiking anymore… it was a full on swim. We swam, clambered up some rocks, and repeated this for another couple of hours before making our way to a boat that was waiting to take us to the main trail back to Francisco’s. Awesome. We chose the 4 hour hike option, but at this point we were wishing we picked the 6 hours. When else do you get to swim so much when you go for a hike?
Our last stop was Francisco’s to drop off the life vests and eat a meal prepared by his wife. The giant plate of chicken curry, rice, tortillas, and pickled onions tasted muy rico and satisfied us for the remainder of the day.
For you overlanders out there, Francisco offers camping at his house and we also noticed a campground in the Somoto Canyon park just after the entrance. You can arrange a guide at the entrance as well as through hotels and hostels in the town of Somoto.