What to Know
Miraflor consists of three distinct temperature and ecosystem zones, with the lowest zone being only a few hundred meters above Esteli and the highest zone rising up to 1400 meters.
Zona Baja/Seca = Lower Zone/Dry
- A few hundred meters higher than Esteli, with great views over the Rio Esteli Valley, and Esteli itself. Good hiking and exploring and riding
- Not much old forest remains, but smaller trees and many crops
- With dry weather and warmer temperatures, this a great place to explore the waterfalls and the river in the area. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit if you plan on visiting!
Zona Intermedia/Semi-Humeda= Intermediate Zone/Semi-Humid
- Much higher up in the mountain, these communities are just below the plateau of the humid zone ,benefitting from the weather of the zones surrounding it
- It has pockets of virgin forest and a lot of secondary forest grown up over the last 50 years. Many families grow coffee and orchids are abundant in the rainy season.
- The region is undulating and lush in the rainy season without remaining damp or foggy throughout the daytime.
- The dry season, January through April, becomes very dry.
- This zone provides great hiking, amazing views across the valley and overlooking Esteli, and the best variety of interest for bird-watching.
Zona Alta/Humeda= High zone/Humid
- Rising up to 1400 m, this region remains green year round, with many larger areas of virgin forest. But also many forested areas for cattle and crop farming.
- On wetter days, the fog/drizzle/rain can stay most of the day. Be prepared, this area is considered a cloud forest!
- There is much bird-life and many areas of interest for nature lovers.
Be Prepared. Know what to take:
As for clothes, shoes, fleeces, t-shirts, and layers. Don’t wear shorts, bring long pants (trousers) for hiking and hanging out at the homestay. Take sandals for night trips to toilet and boots for during the day.
Local thrift stores (known as “Pacas”) sell jackets for often no more than 100 cordobas (US$4).
Nights are cold, the wind gets strong and its rains most nights in the high zone. Local houses have gaps below the ceiling and it becomes cold inside although blankets are provided during your stay.
- Spare toilet roll
- Change of clothes (in case of wet weather)
- Water Bottle- Water (sometimes from clay filters) is available at the homestays
- Day Pack- You can safely store your big backpack and anything you won’t need in Miraflor at Cafe Luz. Free for guests, $1 for non-guests
- Basic First Aid if you have or need it, insect repellent, band-aids, antihistamines, oral rehydration therapy packets for a bad stomach
- Ear plugs (If the roosters are too loud at odd hours of the night!)
- Bathing suit, if you plan to visit the river or waterfalls in the lower zone
Be a Responsible Traveler.
In Miraflor, there is no viable trash disposal. It is best dealt with in Esteli, where there are plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling projects.
Please bring back as much of your non-organic trash as possible. Plastic water bottles, trash wrappers, plastic bags, plastics, cigarette stubs, cans, etc.
Feeling safe and secure…
Personal security is never in question in Miraflor. However, to avoid hassle, steer clear of the drinking groups and youth, mainly on Sundays. Your belongings should always be safe at your homestay/cabin. But we suggest you don’t show off or leave your camera, smart phone, or digital palm-top/music player*, or even fancy flashlight lying around or in other areas, like in schools or pulperias.
*Keep these items close to you on the bus. We are aware of thieves robbing on the “Yali to Esteli” bus, going inside your backpack, or pickpocketing. They’re professionals, so keep your belongings close to you just in case.
All land in Miraflor is private, so please respect that. Do not wander around alone if you have not been told the route. Also keep in mind that while hiking you may be asked to pay a small fee (10-20 cordoba) to pass through someone’s property, so take small cash with you.
There is a lot more to know and learn. Guides and homestay families will help you out and are a great source of knowledge in the area. The historical socio/economical background of Miraflor residents has shaped it to what it is today and they love to share this with you.
Many of the Miraflor families have been working with tourists for over ten years. While they are welcoming, kind, and accommodating, it is best to follow the directions or advice of your guide and homestay family. While theft or other issues are rare on Miraflor tours, it is best to be smart and take precautions as you would anytime during travel.