Montibelli Nature Reserve
One of a few privately owned nature reserves in Nicaragua, the Montibelli Nature Reserve is well known as being one of the best places to go for great bird watching. It is located just 30 minutes from Managua and covers a large section of the Pacific basin, so there is plenty of tropical dry forest to explore. The reserve is rich in plant and animal life and you will find birds such as mot-mots, trogons, hummingbirds, golden orioles, hawks, parrots, vultures and woodpeckers in abundance within the protective confines of the property. The Montibelli Nature Reserve covers some 160 hectares and has altitudes ranging between 360 and 720 meters above sea level. Thus, the vast majority of the park is naturally covered by tropical dry forest though there is some variation on the edges of the park.
Upon entering the reserve you will find a small tourist center that will provide you with information regarding the various attractions available in the reserve. You can hike a variety of short trails that range from 30 minutes to two and half hours, or you can choose to combine a few trails and spend the entire day amongst the tranquil vegetation of the forest. However regardless of what choice you make, you are required to walk with a trained guide who will be able to point out plants, animals and birds that will give your walk a whole new dimension. In addition to the variety of birds mentioned, you will be able to see deer, howler monkeys, opossums, squirrels, bats, frogs, snakes and lizards as well as many other animals.
The Montibelli Nature Reserve is also a haven for butterflies which emerge in massive numbers during the rainy season. At this time of the year the reserve often holds a number of butterfly festivals to further encourage the public to come and look at the wonderful varieties of butterfly that live in the reserve. There are roughly 90 different species of butterfly here – a true delight to see for those who love this delicate little creature. The reserve also grows a variety of fruit and vegetables which are used in the food sold on the property, so you can always be sure that your food will taste great. The park is easy to reach and you can catch a taxi or bus, drive or hike or ride a bike to the park - though more manual methods of travel can be somewhat exhausting.