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Nicaragua Nature and Wildlife

  • The browed motmot is the national bird of Nicaragua
  • The scarlet macaw
  • Wild iguana

Nicaragua has often been called the “Land of the Lakes and Volcanoes” due to the various volcanoes and water systems that dot its landscapes. Despite this nickname, these are only a few of the many untouched ecosystems that make up this incredibly diverse country. 

A birdwatcher’s paradise, there have been more than 700 species recorded in Nicaragua.  Some live there permanently, while others are seasonal visitors. A great deal of the birds in Nicaragua are brightly coloured and include many species of parrots, motmots, toucans, trogons and hummingbirds. The national bird of Nicaragua is the guardabarranco, a colourful species of motmot that lives in forests and scrublands. Some of the best places for birdwatchers include the swamps at Cosiguina Volcano and the Rio Istrian Estuary.

Nicaragua is known for its small mammals, providing habitats for unusual species like three-toed sloths, anteaters and armadillos. There are several species of New World Monkeys that call the country home including Geoffrey’s Spider Monkeys and Howler Monkeys. The jaguar is indigenous to Nicaragua while other feline species like cougars, margays and ocelots also live in the country. 

The waters that surround the coasts of Nicaragua host a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Pacific Coast sees many whale species that migrate from north to south. The Caribbean Sea provides habitats for sharks, stingrays and barracudas as well as colourful reefs. Sea Turtles are common and use Nicaragua’s beaches as nesting grounds for their eggs between August and January. Watching the eggs hatch is a truly incredible sight.

There are currently seventy-eight protected areas throughout Nicaragua that cover more than 22,000 square kilometres (8,500 square miles), or roughly 17% of the country’s total landmass.  Many of Nicaragua’s wildlife lives in these protected areas. The Bosáwas Biosphere Reserve located in northern Nicaragua was designated by UNESCO as a reserve in 1997. Largely unexplored and very rich in biodiversity, Bosáwas is the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere outside of the Amazon in Brazil. Another of Nicaragua’s biosphere reserves is the island of Ometepe. Designated by UNESCO in 2010, it houses two volcanoes and is the world’s largest volcanic island inside a freshwater lake. 

Ecotourism is expanding rapidly in Nicaragua as there is so much wildlife, both flora and fauna to experience and enjoy. Hosting 7% of the world’s biodiversity, the country is attracting nature lovers from around the world who come to see unique and untouched ecosystems.  



Extend Your Trip

After your Nicaragua tour, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours? These include a large selection of other exciting countries in Central and South America. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island toursEcuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises, Peru vacation packages which include Machu Picchu tours and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others. 

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