We visited Nicaragua in May during the dry season and the heat was very intense. The idea of swimming a river exploring the caves and canyons that the water forms on its way down sounded too good to miss this travel adventure.
We packed our water shoes, camera and a dry bag with the essentials and took a shared taxi (with another 6 people plus the driver in the car) to the entrance of Somoto Canyon, in Northern Nicaragua, for a canyoning experience.
We were received by a number of guides offering their services to take us through the canyon. There were 3 different options depending on how much you wanted to explore. A 2, 3 and 5-hour loop. It seemed very easy to find our way and we have experience with canyoning so we politely declined their offer, paid the 2 USD entry fee and set off to explore the canyon on our own.
CANYONING IN NICARAGUA: THE SOMOTO CANYON
We decided to do the big loop, we were up for the adventure. After walking 30 minutes on the road we arrived to the little town of Playa, where the trail to the canyon starts. Once in the water it easy, just follow the water and enjoy the ride!
The water temperature was the best part. Not too cold, not too warm. Simply refreshing! Ideal to fight the heat of the day. Some parts of the canyon were very narrow and the walls quite high making impressive rock formations. Some times we had to swim, others simply walking in waist-deep water and occasionally we had to jump! For the adventurers there is a 10+ meters jump at one point (optional) 😉
WHAT WE LIKED THE MOST
- Water temperature was just perfect. Not too cold, not too warm. Refreshing!
- We hardly saw any other tourists around.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE THAT MUCH
- There wasn’t anything we didn’t like!
EQUIPMENT CHECK LIST
Bring water shoes if you have them. You will be walking in the river most of the time.Sandals that strap around your ankles are fine too. Also, shoes with good grip would be recommended as some rocks can be slippery.
It takes about 5 hours to do the big loop. If you prefer to something shorter there are also 2 and 3 hours options.
We were there during the dry season and the water level was still high enough to swim. So come anytime!
You need to take a bus or taxi from Somoto town to the entrance of the canyon, where you pay the 2 USD entrance fee.
Exploring Somoto Canyon was a great off the bike side trip that gave us a chance to cool off from the heat of the day. The sheer cliff walls along the canyon created impressive rock formations and caves (some of the oldest in Central America).
The canyon offers a variety of activities such as hiking, cliff jumping and swimming. The water was calm which made it safe and easy to venture into the canyon on our own.
Location: Somoto Canyon, Somoto. Nicaragua.
Price: 2 USD entry fee.
Useful Notes: It’s relatively easy to do this adventure on your own, but you should always be careful with the jumps. For less experienced travelers, guided tours are available. You can find the best prices if you go directly to the visitors center.