Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge

Nicaragua is a diverse and beautiful holiday destination. Its magnificent wildlife and unique natural landscapes of lush forests and rivers, have led to approximately eighty percent of Nicaragua being protected and its fauna and flora cared for by wildlife conservation organizations. The 4 800 acres of coastal beaches and forests of the Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge were put under the protection of the Richland Centre, Community Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to study the area and assist in its safe keeping.

As the Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge has the biggest area of unspoilt dry tropical forest within its borders; it has become essential to protect its magnificent biodiversity and ecosystems. The beach is one of the main beaches in the Americas where sea turtles are able to nest undisturbed. They even have human security guards protecting their eggs against poachers.

From 2002 until 2007, conservationists conducted studies on the Pacific Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), the Black Turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii), the Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), and other turtles that use this beach as a breeding ground. Ex-poachers have been employed and trained in the protection of these valuable sea turtles, and their knowledge of the poaching industry has made successful and efficient beach patrols possible. Some nests are relocated to a hatchery, while others are monitored and looked after by rangers.

The studies done at Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge have confirmed the importance of the beach as a nesting ground, as turtles that were tagged five years ago have returned to this stretch of beach over the years. The turtles usually arrive during the months of July through to January to lay their eggs. Through the support of the various wildlife organizations the Chacocente Wildlife Refuge has a boat to patrol the waters off the coast of the beach to protect the turtles against fishing vessels that often pose a threat. Conservation efforts have also involved the local communities, assisting them economically and educating them on the importance of this protected area.

Visitors and tourists will find peace and tranquility on this breathtaking beach, and access to certain areas on horseback or four wheel drives is only allowed with permission. There is a campsite for back packers and overnight visitors in the grounds next to the wildlife refuge. Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge and centers like it ensure the survival of rare species on this planet. Their work and selfless sacrifice gives the public the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature the way it was intended to be.