Personalized Miraflor Tours

It can be a little overwhelming to look at all the possibilities in Miraflor. With over 15 homestay families, 8 separate communities, 3 different climate zones, and limitless wildlife; it’s easy to spend days trying to see it all! To help give you an idea of what’s possible we’ve put together a few ‘model tours’ to help you out in planning your own Miraflor adventure.

Before looking through this, please take a moment to read the Planning for Miraflor page where we have shared some information on the different zones and aspects of Miraflor. A few more things to note are as follow:

  • The majority of the guides live in Miraflor, and will meet you there
  • Guides work on a per-day fee. Tips are welcome if you’ve been happy with their work!
    • $20 per group of 2-3, $15 for only 1 person(+$5 for English speaking guide) Additional guests are $5 per person.
    • Specialist guides are available, all with prior notice, for bird watching tours, botanical tours and coffee tasting tours.
    • Special tours are available of natural medicine plants or organic gardens by the specialist hosts @$8 per tour, for 1-2 people.
    • There are several bus routes, but limited bus times. Two our of three bus routes leave Esteli for Miraflor early morning, then turn around to come back. They return to Miraflor in the afternoon and back again.
  • Due to the bus schedule, tours typically leave in the early morning and return in the afternoon to maximize time in Miraflor

Trip #1 – 2 days / 1 night

Arriving in Miraflor nice and early, you can start your day with breakfast at your local homestay family followed by several hours of hiking or riding with your assigned guide. Lunch is after midday and you can continue hiking or take some rest and relaxation. Finish the day by hanging out with the family and a great home-cooked dinner before turning in for the night. An early rise the next day will give you time for breakfast and more amazing hiking. Enjoy lunch with a homestay family, then head to the bus stop to get back to Esteli late that afternoon.

*Like Horseback Riding? No problem, just swap a day of hiking for a guided horse tour.

Trip #2 – ONE DAY TOUR

Only have time for a day tour? That’s ok, with TreeHuggers we can arrange for you to have a great day of hiking and community tourism.

We’ll help you arrange a trip to whichever zone you want. Generally, you’d arrive on the early morning bus to Miraflor, be met by your local host then have breakfast with a local family. A hiking or horse-riding tour would let you see some of the spectacular sights available in Miraflor. Your unique day would include breakfast and lunch at a homestay families and then return to Esteli on bus in mid-late afternoon.

Trip #3 – 3 days /  2-3 nights

Looking to see ALL areas of Miraflor? That’s no problem. We can help arrange a tour that would let you hike through all three of the diverse zones of Miraflor and visit several different homestay families. In this trip you would spend a day  hiking and exploring, and also have the chance to stay at with different local families. If you’re looking for some adventure then this might be a great option for you!

We hope this can help you in seeing all of what is possible in a Miraflor trip! We’re happy to work with you to design your perfect trip, all you need to do is come into our tourism office and talk to one of our experienced guides to help you out. Tours can be booked on-line through our contact page, or through our tourism office (located opposite corner to Cafe Luz & Luna International Hostel) which is open every day from 8am to 8pm. All tours must be finalized and paid for at the tourism office the day beforehand.

Massage & Natural Medicine

Esteli is a hub of natural medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture and botanical outlets. Primarily at Isnaya laboratory, amking teas, and herbal products that are proven to improve chronic complaints. Also there is Cecalli, another research resource offering outreach into the community and herbal products sold retail locally.

TreeHuggers can recommend local massage therapists, for men and women, with some discounts offered. Most are therapeutic, one chiropractor, no Thai style massage but incredibly well priced, max $25 per hour! SO much cheaper than San Juan del Sur.

TreeHuggers also recommends two homestay families in Miraflor, and one in Tisey, who have trained and offer a tour of their gardens and teas or rubs (pomada). Price is only $8 per person, for their tour of up to 2 hours, offering expert advice, in Spanish, to support your interest or need.

Trpoical Botanical plants are in abundance here in Miraflor and Tisey. We can also offer a specialist guide who offers botanical expertise in the countryside, and speaks English. Please reserve with anticipation for our Botanical Guide.

Somoto FAQ’s

How Athletic Do I Need To Be?

You should be in reasonably good shape in order to go hiking and swimming for the duration of the 4-5 hour tour.

What Should I Bring / Wear?

The water is cold, but the sun warms the canyon. It is recommended that you wear a hat for sun protection, use sun block and take some water with you. Take your bathing suit, be discreet, wear t-shirt and shorts if possible. Take a change of clothes, there is a room provided for changing before and after the tour. Tell the guide or us if you need to borrow ‘wet’ shoes, these are included for free. Hard sandals like ‘Tevas’ or trainers are suitable, but not flip-flops. Guides can provide ‘special soft wet shoes’ for those who don’t have good shoes or don’t want to wet boots/trainers, but you have to ask on booking due to limited availability. Life jackets are provided and must be worn for your own safety. Bring an extra pair of socks if possible to change into after the tour.

Note: Your belongings will be protected in a dry bag, sealed, and carried above the guide’s head. Personal belongings can also be left safely in the care of the family at their house at the trailhead.

What’s Included In My Tour?

The price of the tour includes: Entrance fee, guide, lunch (vegetarian options available upon request), all equipment, tubes, safety kit, life jacket, wet shoes, etc., price of taxi (one way only) to the canyon from Somoto terminal.

How Long Does It Take?

The entire tour takes roughy 4-5 hours, depending on the option you choose. You will typically leave Esteli on the 7:30am bus from the COTRAN NORTE, and return from Somoto by dinner time.

Can I Take Private Transport?

We can arrange a pick-up truck for groups or a 4×4 truck for private arrangements. Includes driver, gas, and truck. Ask for details and prices.

Staying In Somoto?

Homestays –  There are options to stay with local families at the canyon.  Please ask for details.  The price is only $20 per person to stay including 3 meals.  There are up to 9 family homestays.

Camping – Camp overnight at a lookout point for $2 per night.  


Take a trip to the stunning views, pine forests, and hikes of Tisey on the southwest mountains of Estelí.

Breathtaking views of the Pacific coast, the volcanoes by Leon and Chinandega, also looking over to El Salvador & Honduras, and sunsets to dream of!

What to Do

  • Alberto Gutierrez, Finca El Jalacate –Alberto Gutierrez is a chatty hermit who has carved his memories into the cliff-face overlooking the Estelí valley. Tours can be arranged through TreeHuggers Tourism Office, but it can also be visited independently. Allow 2-3 hours. Access and entrance are difficult to find, but we hope they will soon improve! He provides a great tour, Spanish only, please offer to pay him $1-4+ according to your goodwill, he and his family are quite impoverished.
  • La Garnacha – A mountain community with great views, diverse trails, big organic market gardens, and great swiss-style cheese! There are nice accommodations here. You can reserve a local family homestay, Don Reynaldo and Dona Adriana, who include two treehouses, their new open-air dining room between the trees, dorms and great food, plus tours with local guides. They make Swiss-style goat and cow cheeses in the mornings and welcome visitors to the centre. There are also organic vegetable gardens on a big scale for local markets.  Organized by the community and their association (ASOPAN).
  • Eco-Posada – Amazing views, gardens and trails! Another visionary family,with a love for nature and the organic side of life.  They have developed attractive cabins and rustic dorms. They can be very busy on Sunday lunch due to the Esteli 4×4 crowd! Hitch a ride!  


How do I get to the Tisey Reserve?


Note:  NO buses run on WEDNESDAYS

Come to TreeHuggers and pick up a free map!

We can book homestays at EL Carrizo, great treehouses and fun garden planting. You can arrange a specialist Natural Medicine tour with TreeHuggers too!

Take the local bus that runs twice a day early morning and early afternoon. The same bus goes up, drops off and returns straight away.

To make a day trip of it, you should plan to leave early morning and return around 3pm in the afternoon on the bus.

Hiking is far, it’s about 18km uphill, possible but for the more experienced hiker.

You can hitch a ride ‘un ride’, please be courteous and offer to pay ‘ cuanto te debo?’ but you will never be charged. Use common sense and assess your ‘ride’. You will normally travel in the back of a 4 x4 .

Other transport options:

  • Private Truck 4×4, from TreeHuggers office, $50 a trip, can include the Salto Estanzuela Waterfall and La Casita, 2-8 people, ask for other prices.
  • Take return buses from San Nicolas/Empalme Rancho Don Luis, a 30 minute walk, with buses all day to + from Esteli. We can arrange a pick-up with Don Reynaldo.
  • Taxis don’t do the trip due to road conditions

What Should I Bring / Wear?

Weather can vary.  It can be very windy and cold, take jackets, walking shoes, water, layers, and sunscreen.

Cash for all entrance fees/accommodation, no internet or credit cards.


TreeHuggers can arrange a guide from the community, no charge, just the cost of the guide.

How do I make a reservation at La Garnacha?

Reservations are arranged through TreeHuggers for overnight stays and day tours at La Garnacha.

How do I get to La Garnacha? 

Take the Tisey bus, times at TreeHuggers, but remember there are no buses on Wednesdays!  Tell driver / ayudante to stop at La Garnacha junction.  Also look for the sign.  From there it’s easy to reach, just a 15-minute walk off the road.  Well signed.

Accomodation Options (La Garnacha

Type Prices
Cabins w/ water & meals $20/cabin
Rooms $10 p.p.
Local family homestay with Reynaldo.  Includes 3 meals. $20 p.p.

What is the Eco-Posada?

The Eco-Posada is an attractive, rustic, purpose-built centre.  Nica cabins and great food. Great trails on site and kitchen gardens, ask for Franklin.

What are the accommodation options?

Type Prices
Home-stay / Dorm C$150 p.p.
Cabana C$350 (x 1 or 2 persons)


Planning for Miraflor

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.

Suggested List:

  • Flashlight/Torch
  • Spare toilet roll
  • Change of clothes (in case of wet weather)
  • Sunscreen
  • 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
  • Camera/Phone
  • 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.

Enjoy your trip, we wish you many happy memories!

Massage & Natural Medicine

Esteli is the capital of natural medicine research & availability in Central America! Don’t miss the great products and services available here!

Research Centers:

  • ISNAYA – Make teas, syrups, and plant or fruit ointments. You can visit their shop, by appointment their laboratory, and by special arrangement only the gardens which are out of town.

Address: From Hotel Esteli, half a block west, in front of Anexa school

  • CECALLI – Produce syrups, ointments, and micro-dosis remedies. You can visit the centre, have a massage or acupuncture, or enjoy the sauna complex (with mini-gym). Works with outreach training programs in rural communities.

Closes 12-2 and weekends

Address: Next door to La Casita, south of city limits

Alternative Medicine Practitioners:

  • Dra. Alejandra Floripe

8506 0220/ 8604 1336

Address:  From Hospedaje Luna, 2 blocks to the river and 3 blocks north, left hand side

Appointment must be made, for 5pm daytime, or Saturday morning drop-in clinic


  • Dra. Deyanira Chevez Alarcon

Tel: 2713 9606

Cel: 8831 1416 (CLARO)/ 8681 9626 (MOV)

Address: Antiguo Semaforo 25 yrs al Sur


Other stores: ‘BioNatural’ next door to Isnaya shop. There are numerous other natural medicine store located throughout the city, all offering something unique.


  • Natural Nueva Vida

Maria Julia Gutierrez (recommended!)

Sunday – Friday: 2pm-8pm.  Women only.  

Tel. 2713-4618       Cel. 8411 3281

C$200 whole body/ 1 hour, a relaxing massage, and sauna for C$60.

Address: From Luna International Hostel, walk 5 ½ blocks north (2 ½ blocks north of Colegio San Francisco) on left hand side, peach painted house.  Sign painted on home. Sells some natural medicines.


  • Centro de Medicina Natural y Acupuntura Vista Hermosa

Dr. Juan E. Duarte Galeano and Dr. David Hernandez

Monday – Saturday: 8am-12pm/2-5pm

Tel.: 27132116       Cel: 8857 7504 (CLARO) o 8687 0567 (MOV)

C$350 whole body/ 1 hour

Address: from La Colonia, 1 block east (to the Pan-American),from Luna International Hostel, 1 block south, ½ block west

Sells some natural medicines.


  • Cecalli, Centro de Naturalista de Medicina Natural

Monday – Friday: 9:30-11:30/2:30-4:30pm

Tel: 860 41336

C$500 whole body

Address: Next door to La Casita, south of city limits


  • Bambu

Elisa Salazar

Monday-Friday: 8am-12pm/2pm-6pm & Saturday: 8am-2pm

Cel: 8947 4717 (CLARO)

$5 – 12 (6 different options)

Address: In front of Los Arcos Hotel entrance

Massage and Physiotherapy


Bike Rentals

TreeHuggers is Renting Bikes!

Stop by the tour office to rent one of our bicycles so you can cruise around town, ride out to some hidden local attractions, or go see the murals of the city at your own pace!

C$120 per day (Bicycle Only)

C$150 per day (Bicycle + Local Route Map)

Bike rentals are per day, you can stop by to grab your bike any time that the office is open from 8am to 8pm. Please bring a copy of your passport with you.

Bus Information

Traveling by bus is the budget option of most travels, but it bus schedules and routes can be confusing if you’re new to Nicaragua. To help you out on your trip to Esteli we’ve put together some information on the buses leaving from Esteli. Please don’t take this as being guaranteed, schedules change all the time due to weather and other unforeseen events, but this should help you with your trip to Esteli.


Phone number: Do Call  +505 2713- 2529

Their office is up the spiral stairs.  Contrary to the name, the office is in fact in the southern part of Esteli. Note: To ensure a seat always arrive at the station 20-30 minutes ahead of departure times. There are no prior ticket sales here. Get on the bus and sit!

Bus Norte.jpg


Phone number: Do call them +505 2713 – 6162

The office is open:

Monday – Friday: 8 am – 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Saturdays: 8 am – 2:30 pm

Note: To ensure a seat always arrive at the station 20-30 minutes ahead of departure times.



Travel FAQ’s

Travel Tips & FAQ’s

Banks and ATMs

Esteli has all the national banks in town. There are several ATMs, four of which are on “Bank Corner”, two blocks from the Parque Central. BAC is preferred with both USD$ and Cordobas.

Bring a spare credit card for emergencies /sudden illness, like appendicitis, etc.

The local currency is Cordobas (C$) but the US Dollar ($) is also valid currency. Use Credit cards to withdraw your money here to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

There are Western Union outlets everywhere for wiring money in emergency.

Internet, Calls and Mail

In the cities, there is good, at times, internet, often free in hotels and hostels, coffee shops, cafes and parks, however there is no internet in rural locations.

Cafe Luz & Luna Hostel is a WIFI zone.

Phone calls can be made from any internet cafe, international or national, from only C$2-4 per min.

Mail can be sent and collected through Cafe Luz itself, please ask at bar. We do have a PO address. The international mail service is quite reliable but not fast.

Send to: Juanita Boyd, (then write your destined recipient), A.P. 40, Esteli, Nicaragua, Central America.

In Cafe Luz, we can offer scanning and fax service in office hours.


In Café Luz y Luna Hostel we offer same-day wash & dry, for $1 per lb of washing.

Luggage storage

Cafe Luz can provide you with luggage storage. For our guests, it is a free service and there’ll be very small charge for other guests in town, but we will gladly look after your backpacks while travelling to Miraflor or Somoto.


Climate change is very obvious in the tropical and developing countries. The rains are becoming more intense in hurricane season. The weather is becoming inconsistent and drought is becoming more frequent.

The rainy season runs from May until Dec/Jan. Heaviest rainfall is in October, sometimes September, with coastal tropical storms bringing heavy rains that last for a few days. Otherwise rain is generally short-lasting, and shelter can be found. The rest of the day stays warm and a little humid.

In July to August there is usually a “veranillo/canicula”, a break in the rains.

Esteli provides much relief from the intense humidity of the coast. The rains provide lush greenery, a cooler climate and precipitation is sporadic not persistent.

The dry season is the verano (summer), and runs from Feb to April. The heat peaks around Easter time. It can be breezy and the nights are cool.


Locals usually use umbrellas. Mud is a given fact, so bring good walking sandals or boots.

In Miraflor and Tisey Nature Reserves, fleeces or sweaters are essential for the evenings and early mornings. It can be exposed, very cold and windy, so be prepared.

Boots and flip flops can all be bought economically in Esteli.

Longer term accommodation in Esteli

There are many places to rent in town, including private rooms within family homes, unfurnished apartments or houses and several new fully furnished apartments on Parque Central.

It’s recommended to come and stay for a week, and by walking the town and asking an ideal solution is usually found. Rents vary from $50/100 pcm for a room to about $300-500 for a house to share for 3-4 people. Food is relatively expensive to buy here, plus gas and cookers on top but eating out can be cheap in the right places.

Spanish schools

There are several small schools set up in town. The climate is ideal, there are less English speakers than most Spanish school venue cities and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer or chat to the locals in Nicaragua that you’d really never find anywhere else.

Health issues

Dengue Fever  and Chikungunya can be more prolific in urban areas and care should be taken to avoid daytime mosquito bites. Long trousers and insect repellents help. If you get Dengue or Chikungunya, cover yourself at night with a mosquito net to avoid spreading the infection to others close-by.

Dengue is rampant at the end of the rainy season in urban areas. Take care to cover up, avoid shorts, wear repellent on ankles, feet, arms and hands and face at dusk and dawn and when sleeping. These tiny striped-legged mosquitos bite quickly and are unheard.

It is a short and sharp flu-like virus that can deal a subsequent blow to the immune system. The headache is unbearable at first, and you don’t always get the other symptoms of rash, vomiting or diarrhea, so be warned. Just take acetaminophen, as per recommended dosage, and fluids.

Chikungunya is a very similar virus, spread by the same mosquito and more endemic this last year, 2015/6. Fever is pronounced at the start, a rash across the arms and body, and more severe aching joint pains, that can linger for a longer time than the fever. There is no cure, but it is recommended to take freshly squeezed lemons in a glass with fresh honey and bicarbonate of soda, 3 times a day. Plus oral rehydration therapy (suero oral), paracetamol (acetaminophen) according to dose, and  rest. Do not take antibiotics. Local tests can confirm the viral infection.

Malaria is hardly ever found in Estelí and certainly not in the mountain regions. Precautions may be taken for travelling in other low-lying areas, ask your local clinic.

Leptospirosis is present and most likely transmitted in areas of poorer living conditions. It can develop after bathing or wetting feet or open wounds in water infected by rodent faeces. Simple antibiotics can be taken if exposed but are not so effective in later stages.

Parasites and diarrhea are common in tropical countries. Oral Rehydration Therapy (“Suero”) must be taken when fluids are lost at any level. Easily bought at local pharmacies, it is always good to have some on hand. Local laboratories quickly process samples for results between bacterial and parasitical infections, and pharmacists or local doctors can quickly prescribe the remedial drug. Gatorade also helps. Consider where you eat, but drinking water in the cities is good around Nicaragua. We recommend a local cure known as ‘Jarabe de Guayaba’ which is made from guava leaves and is a very effective cure for diarrhea and bad stomachs in general. Ajo (garlic) remedies for parasites are also very effective.

Rabies is rare. Dogs are vaccinated annually throughout Nicaragua, even the wandering street dogs. If working with bats, precautions must be taken in advance.

Bites: Care should be taken and people allergic to mosquitoes and scorpions should take advance precautions. Incidents are rare, but scorpions and snakes do live in tropical countries. Local knowledge is the best remedy.

H1N1 Flu Virus, otherwise known as Swine Flu, has been present in Nicaragua and has stabilised. It has taken hold slowly and is known locally as “Gripe A”. There is vaccine and care is taken for those who live with families and children and pregnant mothers. Symptoms include chest infections and bad headaches. Take a blood test at a laboratory or private clinic and don’t rush to the public hospitals. Symptoms can overlap with common travelling symptoms in a tropical country – temperature, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. But the flu hits the respiratory system.

In general: Bring anti-bacterial gel, use it! Don’t be alarmist. Take “Suero”/oral rehydration therapy sachets/liquids and REST! Don’t rush to the hospital, but be careful.


Health care is free in Nicaragua at public health centers and hospitals. However private consults with doctors, lab tests (for stomach upsets), and more efficient private clinics all charge, reasonable prices. ($2 for tests, to $25-30 consultation with doctor). The central hospitals in Managua are very good, free and private.

In Esteli the city hospital is called the Hospital Juan de Dios, situated 1.5 km south on the Pan-Am highway (“La carretera”).

The city drop-in health center, “Centro de Salud Leonel Rugama”, is situated 1km south on the Boulevard /Calle central, before “la salida”.

The recommended Private hospital is currently “Hospital Adventista”, a small but efficient place, good for quick service and to have friends to be at your side (barely allowed in public hospitals). It is situated opposite the ‘Hospital Viejo’ on Calle central.

Laboratories: There are several located throughout the city and this is where you need to have blood, sputum or stool samples taken to get results for local doctors or even basic self diagnosis. We recommend most UltraImagen, opposite Hotel Chico, and Laboratorio Central, adjacent to the Hospital Viejo (actually now a renovated social security wing /’provisional’).

Dentists are everywhere and prices range, they are private, but the best are good.

Natural Medicine and chronic complaints; Esteli is a research centre and haven for natural medicine. There are two research labs, Cecalli and Isnaya, and their products can be found at their centers or also across the city’s many ‘Botanical’ stores. Try Botanica Miraflor,  next to Pali, Calle Central.  Excellent cures for stomach disorders, diarrhea, anemia, stress, anxiety, coughs and sleeplessness etc. Highly recommended. Many homestays in Miraflor have expert knowledge in natural medicine and provide remedies.

Travel risks in Managua

Please note that there have been less reports in the last year, and we believe that the situation has been controlled.

This is a desperately unfortunate reality which has occurred in two known areas of Managua with dodgy taxis. At the Roberto Huembes bus terminal and the UCA Managua (the university microbus stop).(Very few) tourists have been taken hostage and forced to submit cash from the ATM’s, by force, when thinking they were boarding a taxi with local women and other national travellers. No one has come to real harm, and it’s very hard to deal with. Try to get off your buses before arriving in Managua, prior to these terminals. We use the MOVISTAR (Cell phone head offices) bus stop, on the highway as you come down to Managua. It’s small and open, on the highway and from there you can get any passing taxi, who are unlikely to be part of a scam.

In case of any incident, you should try to contact any Managua police, it cannot be reported out of the city itself. Also please report any incident to INTUR, the tourism offices. If you are targeted it is important not to resist. Your personal safety is paramount. Money is only money.

Safety in Esteli

Esteli is a fairly safe city. You should still take a few precautions, though, like staying out of bad areas, not walking alone in the night and keeping an eye on your belongings. As petty theft does happen to anyone, don’t carry around more money and valuables than needed, and try to keep it in a safe place where you are staying.

Keep a copy of your passport and visa entry stamp at all times, you are obliged to have this when travelling anywhere in Nicaragua, and not just on your phone, what if your phone disappears?

If you feel that trouble of any kind is emerging, just walk away. Seek help from anyone nearby you, locals are very friendly and can try to help.

Life is undoubtedly less hassle-free if you are a young woman here. The more skin you expose (shorts, sling-tops etc) you will get jeered at, whistled at etc. Very rarely you will be physically touched, just eyes down avoids an interaction. More conservative clothing can help that, but don’t be hostile to it, just smile calmly or ignore it.


Citizens of U.S.A, Canada, most European countries, and most other countries will receive an automatic 90 day tourist visa, on arrival, that costs $10. Through over-land borders, the entry fee is $12 plus local authority fees. This visa is valid for Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

A few nationalities need to apply for a visa in advance, though, so you need to check that before you go. You should also check well in advance whether you will need a visa in a transit country. If your flight is passing through the U.S.A. you will need to have a current ESTA visa which you can apply for online ( and is valid for two years.

Visa Renewal “Prorroga”

If you are staying for more than 90 days, you can easily renew your visa for another 90 days, in country, at the migration office in Esteli or Managua. Always say you are a tourist, even if you are volunteering for us.  After 6 months total stay you will need to leave the country and re-enter to start the process again. Since Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have a common visa program (C4), you have to go to Costa Rica to get a new three months stay. You cannot do it in the C4 countries.

Do you have more questions? For example about pharmacies, supermarkets, hairdressers, exercise in Esteli or other things?  Please contact Treehuggers Office.