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Chocoyero Natural Reserve

Chocoyero Natural Reserve

The clock is telling us that it’s almost five in the afternoon. We wait patiently in front of the waterfall. When time passes more and more Chocoyeros (parakeets) are finding a place on the branches of the trees around us. Then, just if somebody has given a sign, the start making their way to the rock wall in front of us. Two by two they find a little whole. Sit in front of it for a bit and disappear inside. This is where Chocoyero Natural Reserve gets it’s name from: these hundreds and hundreds of parakeets.

The hike to this amazing spot is almost as special as this rock wall and waterfall. It all starts with the turn of from the highway. From there on it’s just an unpaved road of a kilometer of seven, with on both sides plantations full of pineapple, coffee, and banana, taking you to the visitors center.

The whole area is protected, but the most ‘cared’ for area starts after the visitors center, where different track take you through different types of forest and vegetation. When we are walking, it’s dry season, but where a lot of trees have lost their leaves outside of Chocoyero, inside the park the trees are still green, thanks to the abundance of water. Rare for Nicaraguan standards.

Every few minutes we stop to see another rare bird, simply because Chocoyero Natural Reserve is home to 113 different species of birds, including toucans,hummingbirds, and green Pacific Parakeets, who are known as Chocoyos. Next to these birds there are 29 species of mammals and 21 types of reptiles and amphibians. Among mammals and amphibians some species regularly spotted include tigrillos, agoutis, and deer.

And one more mammal: one we hear throughout the park, but we only spot it when we take a little rest :the howler monkey. It’s sound comes closest to that of a broken car. When I spot it, it’s way more sweet than it sounds: a little mamma howler is learning her baby to climb and jump from branch to branch. She goes first, the little one has to follow. He doesn’t look to sure of his case when his mum takes a big jump, but after she encourages it a few times, he jumps as well, misses the branch and land a meter lower. There he stays seated and doesn’t move anymore, waiting for his mamma to pick him up.

Twenty minutes later we are standing at one of the two waterfalls in the park: the Chocoyero one and watch the green parakeets returning home to their houses just next to the waterfall. When we have seen numerous going home, we decide to do the same and make our way back to the ranger station and the car.

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