Just after the border crossing in Nicaragua, we get on while our driver and assistant are having a little siesta.
Except for a dodgy ferry that takes you across the bahia (which is also disputed territory) between El Salvador and Honduras, the only way to get from El Salvador to Nicaragua is by making a 150 KM overland trip across the south western part of Honduras.
While initially hoping to make it across the border in one long travel day, by mid-afternoon we decided it was best to spend the night. The Honduras-Nicaraguan border is technically open for 24 hours, but travel after 6 PM isn’t recommended, and the local buses also stop running after dark.
We spent the night in Choluteca, Honduras - known to be the hottest place in the country, and hot it was. Five buses, 27 hours, and $11 US dollars later (excluding accommodations), we were in the northern part of Nicaragua!
Cañon de Coloradito (Cañon de Somoto)
Our first stop was Cañon de Colaradito. Measuring up to 300 metres deep in certain areas, and located in a lush forest, it was declared a national treasure in 2006. There are three mirador’s from the top, and you can also take hikes around the base itself. Somoto is the nearest town, but the park itself is located closer to the Honduran border .
We spent the night with the family of a local guide, Bayardo Soriano. He lives at KM 230 (between the border and Somoto) on a small lot of land, with three generations of Soriano’s, 4 dogs, 5 cows, 2 cats, and a dozen or so chickens (ask the local bus for KM 230 or take a taxi).
The family offers modest dorm style accommodations for 50 cordoba (approx. $2 US), meals are extra, and tours of the cañon range from $10 to $20 US depending on the length of the tour. The tour includes (or can include) light hiking, floating down the river (and hiking along-side it when the water level is too low) sliding down waterfalls, and a an optional waterfall jump.
A few other families also offer the tour which can also be booked through a travel agency in Somoto - but Bayardo’s prices were extremely reasonable (a hotel would cost about $25 a night). Staying with the family was amazing. Just a note - Bayardo does not speak English but most of it the tour is self-explanatory, so basic Spanish is sufficient.
If you are interested in booking with Bayardo - give him a ring when you arrive in Somoto or a few days in advance:
Bayardo Soriano (Communidad Sonis)
Carretera Panamericana Km 230 - behind the school
Note: On shorter notice, better to call in advance rather than email - he doesn't own a computer or have regular internet access.