Selva Negra Cloud Forest Reserve
For a truly unique experience, you simply have to visit the Selva Negra Cloud Forest Reserve. Situated at an elevation of more than 3000 feet, this 1500 square acre farm is a modern marvel. Upon entering at the European-style gatehouse complete with red and white stripped bar, you feel as if you have entered another world. Yet, while the reserve and coffee plantation are strongly German, they have also been influenced by the Nicaraguan culture that surrounds them. This little Bavarian-styled farm welcomes visitors with open arms and provides a unique historic, cultural and natural experience that will not be easily forgotten.
The name ‘Selva Negra’ is Spanish for ‘Black Forest’ and, while this may be a reference to the infamous Black Forests of Germany, it is a somewhat fitting description of the foliage that grows in abundance around the farm. While the reserve also acts as a low-key resort, it serves as an organic coffee farm, a nature reserve, a farm and a sort of self-sustaining ‘village’ since all the workers who are employed here live on the property. On arriving at your lodging, you will find 22 brick bungalows, a youth hostel, 14 rooms with a great lakeside view and a restaurant that serves both German and Nicaraguan food. The reserve is just a short distance from Matagalpa, though its owners seldom travel here for supplies. Everything needed to run the farm is produced on the farm – from the plants which are grown in manure and compost made from farm waste-products, to the gas needed to cook. A small dairy farm produces milk and a variety of farm animals provide the meat. What’s more, the more than 600 staff members are well provided for and are able to enjoy free housing, education for both adults and children and basic medical facilities. Needless to say, those that work on the farm are incredibly loyal to the reserve's owners. Most of these workers are employed to help in the harvest of the coffee beans, though there are also several who work as rangers who patrol and protect the surrounding reserve and still others who help to maintain and run the facilities.
Apart from an excellent tour on the many excellent environmentally-friendly methods of farming employed at the Selva Negra Cloud Forest Reserve, guests can expect to spend their time exploring 14 different hiking trails – six of which are suitable for horseback riding – and enjoying the wonders of the cloud forest. There are countless birds and animals that live here and most guests will be able to hear and see them as they make their way along the trails. The afternoons can be spent enjoying light conversation and great cake while the evenings bring with them a scrumptious meal and the most tranquil and culturally enlightening atmosphere. There simply is no other place like it – the Selva Negra Cloud Forest Reserve is a one of a kind experience that should not be missed!