Penas Blancas in the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve. Photo © Rebecca Ore (Own work), licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.

Hiking Bosawás Biosphere Reserve

North of Managua, Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is the largest uninterrupted tract of primary rainforest north of the Amazon. Any trip in Bosawás is a serious backcountry undertaking and should not be attempted without proper supplies, some wilderness experience, a tolerance for dampness and discomfort, and a basic survival instinct. Guides are both obligatory and absolutely necessary.

El Brujo Waterfall in Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve. Photo © Tomas Benavente/123rf.

Spend a Night at Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve

Less than 28 kilometers away from downtown Managua is a little pocket of wilderness so vibrant with wildlife you’ll forget the capital is literally just over the horizon. The Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve a naturalist’s paradise; among hardwood forests and pineapple farms, you’ll find waterfalls, hiking, and camping alongside numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Rio Celeste Valley in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica. Photo © Joerg Hackemann/123rf.

Hiking Tenorio Volcano National Park

Volcán Tenorio, rising southeast of Upala, is blanketed in montane rainforest and protected within Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. Local hiking is superb, albeit often hard going on higher slopes. Cougars and jaguars tread the forests, where birds and beasts abound.

Crystal-clear stream on Cerro Chirripó. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Hiking Chirripó National Park

Chirripó National Park protects hundreds of thousands of acres of of high-elevation terrain surrounding Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica’s highest peak. No guides are required for hiking the Termómetro trail, but they are compulsory for the Herradura trail.

Peccary at La Selva Biological Station. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to La Selva Biological Station

One of Costa Rica’s premier birding sites, La Selva Biological Station offers guided nature walks with phenomenal wildlife viewing. There are a handful of tours offered, including an early-bird walk and for those who choose to overnight in comfortable dormitories, a nocturnal tour.

Hikers running along the crater of Acatenango Volcano. Photo © Al Argueta.

Hiking and Biking Antigua’s Volcanoes

Antigua’s setting is spectacular, flanked on its southern extreme by the towering 3,750-meter (12,325-foot) Agua Volcano. The colossal 4,235-meter (13,044-foot) Acatenango and active Fuego Volcanoes lie to the west. The surrounding hillsides provide wonderful views of the valley and the volcanoes, and are excellent terrain hiking and mountain biking.

Suspension bridge at Mayflower Bocawina National Park. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Planning a Visit to Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Mayflower Bocawina National Park in the Belize Cayes comprises more than 7,100 acres of Maya Mountain wilderness set aside to protect and showcase the area’s five waterfalls and green-fringed Mayan ruins. A trail system offers excellent independent hiking with guides and tours offered to enhance the experience, and plenty of other adventures.

A woman crosses a hanging rope bridge amidst lush green trees.

Exploring Monteverde’s Cloud Forest

Monteverde means “Green Mountain,” an appropriate name for one of the most idyllic pastoral settings in Costa Rica. The Monteverde cloud forest is home to more than 100 species of mammal, 400 species of bird, and has eight miles of trails to hike either on your own or with a guide; expect to spot more wildlife with a guide. Here’s what you need to plan a fulfilling visit.

Jaguar lounging in Belize. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Hiking Cockscomb Basin in Belize

The main draw of the Cockscomb Basin is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, commonly called the “Jaguar Preserve.” The area is alive with wildlife and hiking opportunities, from an easy hour-long stroll along the river to a four-day Victoria Peak expedition. Here’s how to get to the preserve, the best hiking trails, and necessary preparations for staying overnight.

A small river runs in the foreground while the near perfect triangle silhouette of Mount Arenal rises in the distance.

Visit Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, Costa Rica

Inside Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal is Costa Rica’s most active volcano and a must-see on any tourist’s itinerary. Hiking here is incredible, but heed the warning signs—while your chances of seeing an eruption are slim, the volcano is totally unpredictable.