Somoto canyon or El Canon de Somoto ...and also known as Namancambre is a beautiful gorge with the lenght of 2.5 km..is the highlight attraction here in Somoto.
The canyon used to be known by only locals and remain untouched until 2003 that this gem being discovered by European scientists working for Nicaragua institute for territorial studies. Since then the place start to have some visittors.
To get there some people who has own vehicle can go by themselves.It's only about 8-10 km or 10 minutes drive west from town.I heard that some drove in small rough road crossing 2-3 times small streams until car can't pass ,then start to walk, but I think we shouldn't drive in like that,we should keep nature far from vehicle as much as possible.It's better to go with local guide.A guide book gave some information that we can find guide at the site and can rent the inner tube for floating in canyon from there as well.
For me I feel that this is not tourist place yet, so I was afraid that I may be dissappointed if I go there at the site and find out that no one there,so I need to get a guide before going.
I tried to check around town looking for a guide from few hotels in town.Most hotel can provide a guide for you ,that I think it may be themself or their friends who want to do as a part time job.I asked from hotel Colonial ,they said they can provide a guide with price of 20$ per person for 5 hours walking including inner tube.When we hesitate he said 15$ but only 3 hours but without inner tube.
We didn't decide yet until we went back to our hotel and find out that the guide that we are looking for actually base here,he is the one that I'm looking for from the place name "Marena"
His name is Mr.Reynel Mendoza Gradiz.He is the BEST guide ,actually the only guide here I think.Some other guide may bring you to canyon but Mr.Reynel is really professional one,he showed us his guide certificate and showed some of his knowledge about geography and ecology about the area,he's really good.He asked 20$ per person but at the beginning he didn't mention about inner tube,so I have to confirm that it's including the inner tube as well.
Now I know MARENA that I was looking for actually is Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources Department.It is in charge of environmental protection and of the study, planning, and management of the Nicaragua's natural resources. The ministry was created in 1979 by the Government of Nicaragua .It was formerly known as the Nicaraguan Institute of Natural Resources and the environment.MARENA gets the support from many countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Soviet Union, France, the Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, the Organization of American States, the United Nations Environment Programme, and individual United States citizens.MARENA manages programs in reforestation, watershed management, pollution control, wildlife conservation, national parks, and the conservation of genetic diversity.So by now I think they won't allow any vehicle approaching too close to the site.
There's no office of MARENA in Somoto but Mr.Reynel himself working for MARENA.He always carry his document file showing that he is a professinal one.So ne need to look for MARENA but ask for Mr.Reynel.After we talked a lot with him,we know that he also call himself a freelance guide,and normally he'll be at hotel Pan americano cuz it's kind of most famous hotel in town ,so it'll be convenience for tourist to find him.
In the very early morning ,it's hard to find place for breakfast so be prepare about the food for morning and pack lunch too.
Mr.Reynel was waiting in our new hotel lobby..Hotel Colonial ,he just called a taxi by phone to pick us up.I thought he has his own vehicle but he just simply call taxi (that actually is his friend.)
We past a gate that I mention that we can hire a guide from there but Reynel didn't use this entrance ,he brought us more to the west to use different route further upstream and will lead us through the entire length of the canyon.
1-3 pic ..the beginning of the walk ,we walked along the stream ,sometime cross the stream,sometime walking on slip rocks ,so wear an appropriate shoe.
4-5 Whenever we want to swim ,Mr.Reynel will wait.. with pleasure...
Somoto is a sleepy town.During day time there're almost no people walking around in town.I wondered how people make their living,cuz all doors were closed,look like no business running at all.. including restaurants.Some place may having a siesta and open again in the evening.I tried to find a place "Marena" where some information told that we can hire a freelance guide (to Somoto canyon)from there.I couldn't find it,cuz all shops were closed.The town is so small so I walked around it so many times.
Here are some pictures of the town.
On the 4th picture ,you'll see people start to come out to walk around town and see each other in the evening.
I started journey to Somoto from Granada,so it'll be my long day to reach Somoto.First we have to take the bus back to Managua.I got some information to take express bus but I noticed how the big bus drive..they drive like crazy,very fast..,sometime proceed the mini bus (express bus),so it'll be fast ride on that big bus and I don't think we need to take express bus,the time should be more or less the same.I walked from down town Granada to north west side of town ,quite far walking ..like half an hour.They said 10 blocks so I think it's should be 15 minutes walk but because I didn't know where exactly it was and people along the way that I asked seem not to know where it was either.It's a bit surprise for me cuz it's the terminal to Managua,it should be a place where many people heading to and should be crowded and should be able to see clearly but no...it's even looked a little isolated.I guess that becuz people don't want to walk this far so they choose to take express mini bus from down town instead.
Anyway I paid only 16 cd. to Managua ,bus will leave withing 10 minutes so I have time to buy some coffee and banana my favourite breakfast.
Bus ride was only 1 hour to Huembes station in Managua.
From Huembes we have to go to Mayoreo station.When bus stop at Huembes station there were many taxi drivers tried to get customer ,some came on the bus try to get me to Mayoreo with the price of 8 $ !! but I've checked that it should be only about 20-30 cd. per person.Many of them gather around us ,I gave price of 50 cd.per ride ,finally one said yes.From the map it's 5 km.but I felt that it was farer,cuz I was in taxi quite long.
At Mayoreo station luckily that I didn't waste time looking for info,I just asked.Some told me to take express bus,but it will leave within 2 hours!! almost hopeless but I heard some conducter calling the name "Somoto Somoto" That's the big bus and will leave within 3 minutes...yes!! I was just in time,sooo lucky.Actually I never found any info that there are direct bus to Somoto or not,now I know .They have only 2 times each day with this big bus ..at 11 am and 2 pm. price 60 cd. per person and take 5 hours to Somoto.