N ational P arks & P rotected A reas

An Overview
parkmassay.jpg - 22988 BytesNicaragua possesses a system of Protected Areas that shelters a wide range of ecosystems that includes thousands of flora and fauna species. There are about 12.000 vegetable classified species beside another 5.000 not classified yet. Furthermore there are more than 1.400 classified animal species. This is a real biological treasure.

Nicaragua is divided into three ecoregions. These are Pacific, Central and Atlantic. In the Pacific prevails over the volcanoes, lakes, low altitude dry tropical forests and fog forests on higher places. It also includes the Pacific beaches and mangrove systems.

The Central region shows mountain systems, exuberant vegetation, lots of rivers, agricultural and cattle areas. The Atlantic region prevails over the low altitude rainforest going down towards the Caribbean sea where there are marine lagoons, mangrove systems and coral reefs.

Many of these zones offer tourist activities and some tour-operators arrange visits to these zones. The most important and visited are listed here.

Most important protected areas
1. Bosawás Biosphere Reserve
The biggest Central America rainforest area. It occupies 730.000 hectares.

2. Miskitos Cays Biological Reserve
Rich in coral reefs, submarine grasses, sea turtles and manatees.

3. Miraflor Natural Reserve
It is in Jinotega between 700 and 1450 mt high. It offers tropical savannahs, dry forests, foggy forests, arqueological sites, lagoons, wildlife (quetzals, jaguars, mountain lyons, etc.). Weather is wet and can become suddenly colder.

4. Juan Venado Island Natural Reserve
Its dimensions are 22 Km length and 600 mt width. It is part of a mangrove swamp system and its altitude is not higher than 25 mt. You will find a lot of wildlife pecies.

5. Masaya Volcano National Park
Dry tropical forest between 100 mt and 630 mt high. Volcanic landscape in succession stage. Amazing lava formations. Bird's nests living on the crater walls in the middle of sulphuric gases.

6. Mombacho Volcano Reserve
Foggy forest between 850 mt and 1344 mt high. Extinguished volcano with two craters covered with dense forest. You can find lots of orchids, birds and primates. There is a fantastic view of the Nicaragua lake. Weather can become cold and wet.

7. Zapatera Archipelago National Park
Dry tropical forest, dry savannah and swamps. Rich in archaelogical sites and birds.

8. La Flor y Río Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refugee
Dry tropical forest, mangroves and estuaries. The "Paslama" sea turtle arrive to these beaches to lay their eggs. The turtles herd comes eight to ten times per year between July and January. It is possible to camp following the refugee strict directions.

9. Maderas Volcano
Extinguished volcano. It has foggy forests, waterfalls, a beautiful crateric lagoon and an amazing panoramic view of the Ometepe Island and the Nicaragua Lake.

10. Los Gatuzos Wildlife Refugee
Rainforest, variety of migratory birds and mammal species in danger of extinction.

11. Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve
Pristine rainforest. Rivers and marine grasses. You can find Manatees and a wide range of wildlife species.

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