A monumental mountain formation, known as the Peñas Blancas Massif, located between the northern departments of Jinotega and Matagalpa, is one of the most amazing places that few people have heard of mentioning. However, this area has multiple and varied attractions for tourists, including a beautiful rainforest, large waterfalls, fantastic landscapes and interesting rural communities. The Peñas Blancas Massif is part of the largest mountain range in Isabelia, which stretches through the department of Jinotega, forming a natural separator on one side of the Bocay and the Coco Rivers (and its tributary) and on the other side the tributary from the Tuma River.
The Peñas Blancas Massif is very notorious for the sheer cliffs-like walls that arise from the earth’s crust. The presence of calcium gives some of these walls a white color, which explains the name (Peñas Blancas means Piedras Blancas). Due to these particular geographical formations, the ecosystems that are present are quite enclosed and therefore capable of harboring endemic species of animals or plants.
One of the main attractions of the area is the spectacular state of nature. It is not just the fact that there are pristine forests in the massif, but there are also other aspects that make it a natural area of importance. The Peñas Blancas Massif is part of the huge Bosawás Biosphere Reserve that is the largest protected area in Central America. Therefore, the preservation of the massif has an important role in protecting the biodiversity of the Bosawás reserve and in guaranteeing the survival of species that live in the habitats found in Peñas Blancas. Streams, streams and waterfalls are very common here, and the water in this area feeds several of Nicaragua’s most important rivers, such as the Coco River and the Rio Grande, which flow into the Caribbean Sea.
The vegetation that can be found in Peñas Blancas includes trees such as Black Oak, Granadillo, Walnut, as well as arborescent ferns, orchids, bromeliads, heliconias and palm trees, thus forming the typical appearance of a rainforest.
As for the flora and fauna, many species of mammals have been reported, such as howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys, jaguars, tapirs and blankets, among others. Several species of birds have been identified including flycatchers, hummingbirds, parakeets, goldfinches, tangaras, reigns and charraleros.
Thousands of years ago this area was inhabited by indigenous tribes (mainly Mismits and Mayagnas), but during the colonization these tribes moved to what is now the RAAN (Waspán, Siuna, etc.) and the area was inhabited for a time. However, families from Jinotega and Condega migrated to this region and there are currently about 280 families living in the Peñas Blancas Massif.
Since 2000, communities have gone through a process of forming cooperatives, with the support of organizations operating in this area. There are 5 communities and each community has its cooperative. These cooperatives are characterized by being commonly organized and sharing responsibilities, seeking the benefit of the community as a whole, involving each family in different activities.
The abundance of water and well-preserved nature have turned this place into a sanctuary for Mayan people. In the beliefs of this ancient tribe, water is one of the main elements, and every year people from several Latin American countries (mainly Guatemala) travel to the Peñas Blancas Massif to perform ancient rituals, honoring this sacred area.
Knowing the rural population of the Peñas Blancas Massif is certainly an interesting option for visitors. The local population knows a lot about the area and local customs and practices, which can certainly be of interest to foreign visitors.
This is a package for lovers of intense walks and pure nature. Walks are made through virgin forest, on steep paths and camping in the middle of the thick vegetation. The end of the tour is to relax in a charming mountain hotel with a natural and family atmosphere.
Managua, Granada, Masaya or León: 8:00 am
Departure from Matagalpa to the Reserve: 10:30 am
At the end of the activities of the fourth day return to Matagalpa, and then to any of the cities of Managua, Granada or León.