Adventures in Nicaragua: Somoto Canyon

Posted by Adam McGeehan on Sep 27, 2016 2:26:05 PM

The popular social media site Pinterest recently released a list of the “20 Most Pinned Places of All Time” and the Somoto Canyon in northern Nicaragua was one of them. With its stunning natural beauty, it is easy to see why this natural attraction in Nicaragua is one of the most frequently talked about locations online. 

Located in the northern region of Madriz, a mere fifteen minutes from the town of Somoto, sits the Somoto Canyon. It is also known to locals by the name of “Namancambre.” This geological wonder was discovered a mere decade ago, in 2004. According to the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) it took this canyon between 5 and 15 million years to form. Almost immediately upon discovery, it was declared a Nicaraguan National Monument, to preserve its beauty and allow future generations to experience it.


Traveling through it is like working one’s way through the membrane of the Earth. The Canyon walls are around 120 to 150 meters tall. They vary in width, usually being around 10-15 meters apart, although at their tightest they get as close as 5 meters apart. The canyon is filled with water, and so travel though it must be done with a water craft. Travelers get their choice of canoe or even inner tube to traverse the canyon waters in.

Once you’ve taken in all the beauty of the Somoto Canyon, you may want to explore some of the other attractions that the north of Nicaragua has to offer. Northern Nicaragua is known for some of the amazing agricultural products that are grown there. Coffee is a big one. You will find probably some of the freshest and tastiest coffee in all of the region in northern Nicaragua.


The Piedra Pintada Museum in Somoto is a good place to stop in and visit. Although it is only a single room, this museum displays an impressive collection of pre-Colombian pottery and other pieces. It also has a collection of photographs which tell the town’s history, dating back to the 20th century. And here’s the best part: it’s free.

The Somoto Canyon is just one of the many incredible natural attractions in Nicaragua. While in the north of Nicaragua you may want to also visit the volcano Cerro Negro. This is the youngest volcano in Central America, having first appeared in 1850. It is famous for its completely black complexion; the surface of the volcano being covered in volcanic ash. After hiking to the top of the volcano, Cerro Negro is not particularly tall at only 500 meters (1640 feet), visitors are greeted with a breathtaking view. And once you decide you’d like to descend Cerro Negro, you can get onto a wooden board and surf the ashes back down.

If you’re a nature lover, you will certainly want to move Nicaragua to the top of your travel list. The abundance of natural attractions in Nicaragua make it the ideal vacation, retirement, or living destination.

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Adam McGeehan

Written by Adam McGeehan

Adam is a recent graduate of Allegheny College. There he majored in Economics with a minor in Spanish. He has always been interested in traveling abroad and is thrilled to have recently taken up residence in Managua, Nicaragua to work as an intern for ECI Development. He is excited to take in all of the culture of this wondrous nation.

Topics: Natural Attractions in Nicaragua