Our Projects

Luz Verde

TreeHuggers is proud to be a non-profit social enterprise based on the simple principle that tourism shouldn’t just benefit the tourists. We’re committed to providing amazing tours that help give back to the communities that we work with on an everyday basis. One way we do this is through an initiative we call Luz Verde.

Luz Verde Projects are supported by the earnings of the non-profit Luna International Hostel, the Cafe Luz and the TreeHuggers Tourism Office. Luz Verde supports local employment and income generation through these three enterprises. It also operates on a non-profit basis, supporting a variety of local social projects with all profits.

Luz Verde collaborates with projects focusing on education, women, youth work, environmental and community driven initiatives. Luz Verde facilitates educational development initiatives in local communities, ecotourism, organic gardens, library access and workshops, volunteers, expedition groups, conservation and restoration support, disaster relief funding, scholarships and music and theatre programs.


painting


The administration of the projects is supported from within Cafe Luz y Luna, sharing resources and offices.

Many generous donors and groups have supported us over the years, without their invaluable support we could not have made it this far! We Thank them enormously.

 



We are official partners with NGO’s Omprakash in the USA and Sustainability Partners in the UK who receive and process donations on our behalf.

Click here to find out more!


The Bibliobus! One of our favorite projects


 

Advertisements

Estelí Mural Tours

The Marvelous Murals of Estelí

A fascinating guided tour of the many varied murals of Estelí, including those related to the revolution and activism, educational murals and children’s murals. An ideal way to learn about the history and culture of the city, past and present, while getting to see some beautiful art.
Tours are possible in Spanish or English.
Morning Tours: 9am 
Afternoon Tours: 1pm
Reserve the day before in the TreeHuggers office for a morning tour. For an afternoon tour you can book the day before or the morning of the tour. Meet at Café Luz at least ten minutes beforehand.

$10 US per person, please pay at Café Luz. Discounts for groups of 5 or more.

Cigar Factory Tours

Nicaragua’s Best Cigars

What is the tour?

Touring the factory is a great way to learn how cigars are being meticulously handmade, the old fashioned way, by skilled Nicaraguan workers. These are some of the best cigars in all of Central America, so don’t miss out on this amazing tour. While you’re there you’ll get to see the detailed work of rolling, shaping and packing cigars, as well as sorting, drying and processing the leaves, and so much more. And of course you’ll get the chance to try a few before you leave! This is a must for any trip to Nicaragua, and especially any trip to the wonderful mountain city of Esteli.

Which factory will I visit?

Currently Fabrica San Luis, Cuban owned boutique factory. (Tabacalera Santiago has recently been sold and changed hands and no longer permits tours, 9/16). We have alternative visits to complement this tour. Plantation visits can be arranged and are very interesting (not available in heavy rainy season). Specialist tours can be arranged in advance, however they do not accept visitors from January thru March.

How do I arrange a tour?

We can arrange a tour 1 day ahead, all by arrangement with TreeHuggers Tourism Office and Cafe Luz. Tours run Monday to Friday, notweekends or holidays. Tours leave 9am or 1pm. Please meet at Café Luz 10 minutes before tour, and pay in advance. You will be met by the guide there.


cigar4


How much does it cost and what does it cover?

Tour costs $8 per person including the guides.  70% of the cost is donated directly to education projects; thru 2011-2016 these tours helped us buy over $7,500 worth of books and education materials. We now have 3,300 books (our goal is 10,000), to loan to the rural schools and children we work with.

How long does the tour take?

Tour takes about 1 to 2 hours, depending on questions, smoking time & buying gifts…

Note: You can buy cigars but not post/mail them afterwards. (Limits are 100 for USA, 50 for Europe/Canada)

To arrange your adventure please come to the TreeHuggers office – just across the road from Luna International Hostel.



 

Canyon Tour Options

Somoto Canyon

“Incredibly helpful for our whole group –   and we were a real range of ages.  He waited for people, and gave full instructions.” 

Tour #1- “Tour Estandard de 4 horas”

Our most popular option!

4 hours @ $25 per person

Includes – Lunch, entrance fees, tours, one-way taxi (either arriving or returning to Somoto), equipment, and arrangements.

Trip involves – A circular route for walking, hiking uphill and down, canyoning (rock scrambling, wading, floating, swimming, jumping & diving (optional) into river (1-2 meters minimum, higher on request up to 20 meters if conditions are suitable.

*Tell us or the guide, in advance, if you do not want to jump into the water.  Heights vary 1-2 meters only (more if you ask for higher!)*

Tour #2- “Tour Largo”

5 – 6 hours @ $30 per person

Includes – All of the above with additional hiking and rambling/hiking near the headwaters of the Rio Coco and the Honduran border.

Tour #3 – “Tour Abajo”

4 hours @ $25 per person

Includes – All the features of the Standard Tour with an easier walk there and back, views of the lower canyon but avoiding the jumps and harder scrambling in the upper canyon.

Ideal for children, non-jumpers, and those/or seniors with physical limitations.

Riding Tours are available not in the canyon, but around local viewpoints and across cattle farms in the area.

To arrange your adventure please come to the office – just across the road from Luna International Hostel.



 

Community Based Tourism

Miraflor Tours

Miraflor is one of Nicaragua’s finest Nature Reserves, rich in plant and animal life, it’s a top destination in the lush Northern mountains of Nicaragua. But what makes these tours particularly amazing is the chance to meet the people that live and work in Miraflor. The Reserve is home to over 50 different communities where the people farm and grow Nicaragua’s best coffee, among other things. By booking with us you have the chance to stay with these families, learn how they still make tortillas and coffee by hand – the old fashioned way. Or get a tour of an organic farm, be taught natural medicine from the Doña of the house, check out the nearest mirador to watch the sunset, or simply practice your Spanish with some of the humblest and sweetest Nicaraguans around.

Accommodations

DSC04419You can stay the night in family homestays, or in beautiful rustic cabins in any one of the 3 climatic zones. Conditions are basic, compared to modern “western” standards but the experience is more than rewarding. Local guides are necessary to hike or ride, due to all the trails crossing private land.

Groups are also welcomed, and private transport can be arranged, but local buses are the best way to be taken up to all the communities.

Miraflor is a great experience for everyone (ages 0-80+), and it’s brilliant for children! These are the most welcoming people in the free-est of places in this hemisphere.

How to get there?

Please visit TreeHuggers Tourism Office first. This is essential to learn about all the accommodations across the 8 participating communities (There are 54 in Miraflor) learn about your options and what to expect.  We will give you information in English or Spanish, a map, bus times, names and contacts and an objective assessment of what to expect, the conditions, clothes to take and a reality check outside of what the guidebooks ever tell you. We’ll help you book your local guide, accommodations, and more!

Bring suitable clothing; good shoes and jackets/fleeces for the evenings, it can get windy and very cold, depending on the weather.

Do I need to book?

miraflor guide picYes, at TreeHuggers we work in coordination with the Miraflor homeowners to take your bookings, and arrange your tailor-made trip according to what you would like to see. There are 3 different bus routes, 8 communities to stay in, over 16 families you can stay with, dozens of natural attractions, specialized guides, and much more. It may sound like a lot, but at TreeHuggers we’ll help you design the perfect Miraflor tour for you.

Costs

Here is an idea of what to expect when arranging your trip:

  • Homestays cost only $22 for 3 meals and a night
  • Cabins cost $24 for 3 meals and a night.
  • Private enterprises start at $30.
  • Guides cost $15 per group.
  • Horses are only $10 p.p. plus cost of the guide’s horse & guide.
  • C$30 cords can be charged for some hiking routes across private land.

To arrange your adventure please come to the office – just across the road from Luna International Hostel.

Miraflor Reserve

Miraflor is an extremely diverse natural reserve that is home to a virgin cloud forest, mountains and fertile farming land that sustain about 6,000 people across 50 small communities.

With stunning views, waterfalls, excellent hiking, horse riding trails, birdwatching and organic coffee farming, it is easy to spend at least a few days exploring Miraflor.

We offer tailored guided tours, horseback riding and home stays with local families from eight participating communities. No matter what experience you’re looking for, we can help you find it.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Hiking Tours are from US$15 per day (Groups of 1-3)*

We work directly with home owners and guides in Miraflor Nature Reserve and can help tailor your trip to your specific needs.

Horse Riding Tours – $10 per person plus guide**

Private land owners may charge between C$10-25 (up to US$1) for some hiking routes across private land.

Home Stays US$20 per night, Includes 3 Meals
The best way to experience Miraflor! You can learn about the life and culture of these rural communities, organic farming methods, community development projects, herbal medicines, the war and struggle for Nicaraguan independence, how they have recovered from hurricane disasters, and much more (just to name a few things).


Other accommodation

Cabins cost US$24 and includes 3 meals
Private enterprises start at US$30

 

*Tours of more than 3 persons charge an extra $5 per person. English speaking guides also charge an extra $5 fee for their services.

**Horse tours are a great option to see Miraflor. The price of a horse tour is $10 per person plus the guides fee ($15) plus the guides horse ($10). For example, a horse tour for 2 persons would cost $45 ($10 per person + $15 for the guide + $10 for the guides horse)

 

Somoto Canyon

Somoto Canyon is a stunning natural wonder best explored via tours involving hiking, swimming and scrambling through the canyon as the sheer rock face ascends 100 metres above you. Release your inner daredevil and jump off the 5-meter, 8-meter or the massive 12-meter ledge (optional of course) and plunge into the deep emerald pools of Somoto. At the end of the tour you can hop in a boat or lazily float in a tube downriver.



Somoto Canyon was first “discovered” by European scientists in 2004 and declared a national monument the following year. Since then, a local guide organization has been established and Somoto Canyon has become a vital source of income for the community that runs tours to the canyon.

We work closely with experienced local guides who are trained by Intur, the national tourism agency, and the community to book you the best tour possible. The money from the tours provides income for up to 15 families in Somoto.

To get there: Take the 7:30am bus from COTRÁN NORTE, north terminal in the south of Esteli. The trip takes 1.5 hours to the town of Somoto. Your guide will meet you at the terminal. The express return bus leaves at 3:15pm and the last bus is at 5pm.

008sFour hour Standard Tour or Five hour Large Tour, US$25/US$30 per person

Included are local experienced guides, lunch, life-jacket, wet shoes, a large group waterproof dry bag, entrance fee and transport from Somoto bus station (but not return). Lunch is provided after you finish the tour.

Bring: Water, snack, camera, hat, suncream, shorts and trekking sandals.

Tour Abajo, Four hours, US$25 per person
This takes you on an easy walk to the lower and most stunning section of the canyon and is ideal for children, non jumpers, or those with physical limitations.

Included are local experienced guides, lunch, life jacket, wet shoes, a large group waterproof dry bag, and transport from Somoto bus station (but not return). Lunch is provided after you finish the tour.

Horse Riding Tours, US$26.50 plus the price of the guide’s horse005s
Riding tours are available around local viewpoints and across cattle farms in the area but it is not possible to ride through the canyon.

Home Stays, US$20 per night
There is home stay accommodation near the canyon. The price includes 3 meals.

Camping form US$2 per night available at a look out or near the River Coco.

Ongoing travel to Honduras
The guides will arrange taxis to the bus terminal in Somoto or to the Honduran border at Los Espinos and buses for you. They can even organize and make reservations for most major tour company coaches to stop at the trailhead if you are travelling to Honduras and beyond. Just ask even if you already have your tickets or reservation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cafe and Hostel

We work closely with Cafe Luza friendly, stylish and relaxed place to enjoy healthy food (Nica and international) sourced from local gardens and coffee growers and staffed by a team of Esteli locals. Together with Cafe Luz and Luna International Hostel, we are driving forward a new movement of socially and environmentally responsible tourism.

???????????????????????????????

The Cafe and Hostel are informational hubs to help learn your way around Esteli. Besides being a unique social enterprise, the Cafe Luz and Luna International Hostel are some of the most social places in town!

  • Free wireless internet (Wi-Fi)
  • Open every day 7am-10pm
  • Conveniently located opposite Hostel Luna and TreeHuggers Tourism Office
  • Lounge atmosphere with sofas, chilled music and healthy, delicious food from Nicaragua & more
  • Interested in meeting some friendly locals and practicing your Spanish? Well Cafe Luz is a buzzing bar and restaurant full of locals and travelers all day long
  • Funds community development projects, many donations to local initiatives and is an excellent model of local employment with the fairest of working conditions


 

Eco Tourism in Estelí

Experience The North With Esteli’s

Tourism Experts


No trip to Nicaragua is complete without visiting Estelí, a region of culture and history and some of Nicaragua’s most biodiverse ecosystems.

Whether you want to spend a day exploring the famous Somoto Canyon, visiting traditional farm families in the wildlife-rich Miraflor Reserve, or learn all about how some of the best cigars in the world are made by hand in Estelí; you can do it all here with the help of Treehuggers Tourism Office!

We arrange for YOU: (click on the link for info)

OPEN EVERY DAY 8am to 8pm. Opposite Luna International Hostel and Cafe Luz Restaurant

Call us on (505) 8496 7449 or (505) 8405 8919

or email  treehuggers.ecotours@gmail.com / info@cafeluzyluna.com

Questions? Please contact us!