Ecotourism International of Nicaragua, S.A. - EINSA

Nicaragua's geographic location halfway down Central America makes it one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world. It represents the southernmost limit of many northern species, including the southernmost pine forests in the hemisphere. The country contains the largest rain forests in Central America providing habitats suitable to many South American species.

In addition to being the crossroads of North and South, Nicaragua is also divided between the dry Pacific and wet Atlantic by a series of volcanoes and mountain ranges. These two divisions (North/South, Atlantic/Pacific) furnish a wide range of habitat types in a very small area. These habitats range from savanna-like plains to dry tropical forest, submontane tropical forest, rain forest, cloud forest, a variety of aquatic habitats on both Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, volcanic crater lakes, and the largest bodies of fresh water in Latin America. The combination makes the country a diverse and fascinating destination for nature lovers and professional biologists alike. All of the biomes offer rich rewards for those who find wonder and fascination in the details of nature.

The tourism industry in Nicaragua has long suffered from Nicaragua's poor reputation brought about by instability, revolution, and civil war. Even after the general security situation calmed following the peaceful transition to democratic rule in 1990, many of the remote areas that would be of interest to ecotourists remained dangerous. Today there remain some remote areas, extremely high in biodiversity, that are still dangerous. However, most of Nicaragua is now quite safe. The problem is a lingering negative perception of Nicaragua, especially in North America.

Another problem that continues to cripple tourism development, and by extension, ecotourism, is the critical lack of developed tourism infrastructure outside of Managua and a very few places along the Pacific coast. Even in these locations, the choices are extremely limited. For those familiar with Central America, the state of Nicaragua's infrastructure most resembles that of Costa Rica, 20-25 years ago. Most Nicaraguan tour companies eke out a meagre living from add-on tourism or the limited domestic market. Most international tourists (excluding business travelers) come from Europe, with the U.S. running a close second. There are several U.S.-based ecotourism companies that have run offerings in Nicaragua.

This situation means that the wilderness areas in Nicaragua remain true wilderness (deforestation, etc, is another story). It means that the country is an ideal location for small-group, low-impact guided ecotours. It means that with completely new species being discovered practically on a daily basis, there is a chance that a hard-science format tour could be a part of scientific history. However, it also means that the visitor should come to Nicaragua with the knowledge that animals in the forests are well hidden and often quite shy. If you want to see tame wildlife that will pose for pictures while being hand-fed, you had better go elsewhere. The wild animals of the Nicaraguan forests require patience and a keen eye. In addition, it means that touring Nicaragua on one's own and actually seeing anything, let alone knowing where to go, is practically impossible.

The company specializes in fully customizable, small-group, low-impact, off-the-beaten-track ecological tours to locations throughout Nicaragua. In addition, the company offers a selection of fully developed "package", or pre-planned tours that range in difficulty from "soft", with top-notch, comfortable hotel accommodations and air conditioned vehicles, to "hard" with multi-day backpacking expeditions. Our tours have a strong science and natural history component. Each of them includes an in-depth look at a particular ecosystem that allows the visitor to experience the breathtaking diversity of Nicaragua's Pacific slope in a highly interactive, free-form and understandable atmosphere.

We take a global approach to ecotourism and the environment. Our visitors are not just shown the flora and fauna, but learn through hands-on, on-site explanations by internationally recognized biologists and ecologists how all of the components of the ecosystem function together: from mimetic adaptation to primary succession. In addition, our visitors are shown the human impacts - both positive and negative - that affect or modify these ecosystems. Our hard-science, educational format provides a rewarding experience for the biologist, the birder, or the person who just wants to enjoy and understand the tropical environment.

One of the key "special interest" groups is the birders. Nicaragua offers some of the most spectacular birding opportunities in Central America. The company has developed three distinct itineraries tailored specifically for birders, with three different levels of difficulty. Depending on what the ?afficionado? wants to see (and is willing to put up with), we can offer a soft trip based in Managua, with visits to specific birding sites (highlights are wild parakeets, waterfowl, ani, manikin, motmot, etc), a moderate trip which allows the birder to get access to some of our more exotic species (including macaw, amazonia, etc), and a "hard core" trek to what one consulting scientists claims is the highest population density of northern quetzal in Central America.

In addition to our in-house programs, EINSA has established joint venture or add-on offerings that include an active archaeology dig, leadership and organizational development training and seminars, and intensive Spanish language instruction. These special programs are offered through a network of local companies and organizations that "pick up where EINSA leaves off" in our straight ecotourism packages.

Finally, EINSA has developed a comprehensive support package for scientific researchers and academic/student groups, including assistance with site selection, logistics, and on-site backstop. For student groups, we can also provide on-site lectures, seminars and training from biologists with over a decade of experience studying the biota of Nicaragua.

In addition to our "tourism" activities, EINSA is currently working directly on environmental protection. One of our sites has recently come under attack by commercial logging interests. We have had some success via publicising the issue and also through direct badgering of the Ministry of Environment and select members of the National Assembly. We are actively working to halt this illegal activity through public awareness, lobbying, and joint efforts with the concerned landowners. What's more, the corporation has pledged 5% of each tourist dollar to a local, non-profit environmental protection foundation.

Ecotourism International of Nicaragua's multi-lingual (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian) and highly-trained staff (emergency medical service (ems), rescue, SCUBA, etc) guarantees each visitor high-quality, personalized attention and a safe, rewarding trip.

For more information, please contact the address below.

Information Source

Prepared by ...
Mr Tom Fletcher
President, Ecotourism International of Nicaragua, S.A.
Apartado Postal LC93, Managua, Nicaragua
E-Mail [email protected]