Until recently, UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network omitted one of the earth’s most dynamic locations; Central America.
Located in Northern Nicaragua, Geopark Rio Coco is the first UNESCO Geopark in Central America (the 8th in Latin America as a whole). Rio Coco, part of the central mountains, features panoramic views of its endless rolling hills, cloud forest, highland springs, and rivers. Where the 680 kilometer long Rio Coco ends, Somoto Canyon National Monument-one of Nicaragua’s most popular tourist destinations-opens into a series of emerald swimming holes and dramatic slot canyons.
Built with Geotourism in mind, Geopark Rio Coco was designed with protection, education, and sustainability at its guiding principles. Local community and authorities are involved at every level, ensuring a more sustainable and holistic outcome for both the community and the land. Stakeholders are empowered to benefit from and evolve with new sources of income and resource availability resultant of this growing tourism niche.
Rio Coco truly has something for everyone. Savvy geo-tourists can experience outdoor adventure, biodiversity, cultural events, and unique gastronomy is a single sprawling landscape. Rich in pre-Hispanic history, the park is home to sacred trees like the Golden Ceiba, and numerous historic settlements as well as preserved cave art. With sustainability and social consciousness at the core of Rio Coco’s existence, intact indigenous communities collaborate to provide valuable educational programs and immersive cultural experiences for park visitors.
Geopark Rio Coco is truly a hidden gem of Nicaragua, and of Latin America in general. With a deep historical presence, rich bio and geo diversity, and an integrated community presence, Rio Coco situates itself as a premiere example of sustainable tourism in action. As Rio Coco undoubtedly gains popularity for its rich cultural and ecological value it promises to boost Nicaragua’s standing as a premier eco-tourism destination.
Nicaragua is steadily gaining recognition for the incredible diversity and range of experiences it offers without breaking a budget. The addition of Geopark Rio Coco can only strengthen Nicaragua’s position as prime tourism destination for travelers the world over.