FEV’s natural cloud forest environment and spectacular views are second to none in Northern Nicaragua. Our five hiking trails, over 10 kilometers of trails in all, give the visitor full access to the entire property; including primary forest, transitional forest, organic coffee fields, look-out points, and community trails.
BLUE TRAIL 1hr. or less/Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
The Blue Trail starts out at the Beneficio (coffee mill) and takes you through our “Cup of Excellence” winning coffee field – Plantillo La Sombra. This type of habitat, with a wide gap between the upper canopy, a second layer of canopy and the coffee plants, is ideal for mixed flocks of Warblers. Down on the lower level of the trail we often see Three-Toed Sloths, Violaceous Trogons, and an occasional group of Howler Monkeys in the trees across the ravine from the trail. The last part of the trail is a little challenging, with steep stairs that lead up to a beautiful waterfall, passing by the territory of a Violet Sabrewing – one of the largest hummingbirds in Central America. From the waterfall, it is a short walk over a bridge then right to the Butterfly House. If you go left at the bridge, just follow the path up to the public trail and turn right to the road or left to head down the loop again.
RED TRAIL 1.5 – 2 hrs/Difficulty: Moderate
The Red Trail is a favorite at FEV. It goes through many different habitat types, including open grassland in the process of reforestation, a riparian habitat along pristine streams, and deep secondary forest. We often hear Collared Trogons calling on this trail, and White- collared Manakins have been seen on the edges of the creeks. The trail starts out on a stem and then loops in the form of a figure-eight and back to the stem. At the start of the trail, there’s a lookout point (Mirador) with spectacular views both North and West. You will pass by the area designated for our dairy farm and horse stables coming in spring of 2015. The main trail passes by Escuela La Chispa, one of the schools for rural children that was built with funds from FEV. The trail has one big descent at the beginning and one big ascent at the end of the figure eight, but apart from those, the ups and downs of the Red Trail are fairly mild.
YELLOW TRAIL 1.5 – 2hrs/Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
The Yellow Trail is about the same length and difficulty as the Red Trail, but the steps are not as well established and the trail is not as wide in some places, giving it a slightly higher difficulty rating. This trail makes a big loop, starting to the left of the waterfall behind the Butterfly House and ending up above on the main road. It goes through some newly planted coffee in the Plantillo La Leona, with big shade trees covered in mosses and other epiphytes. It also passes through thicker secondary forest and goes along the edge of our property for a bit, giving the hiker a glimpse of what a typical local farm looks like. We have seen Three-Toed Sloths and often see Blue-Crowned Mot-Mots toward the end of the trail in the late afternoon.
PURPLE TRAIL 1 hr. or less/ Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
The Purple Trail is our newest trail which has two entrances. One which starts at the yoga pavilion, past the water source (tanks) which supply the hotel with fresh spring water, through a deep secondary forest. In the early morning and late afternoon, we often see Keeled-billed Toucans and sloths in this area. There are interesting types of understory plants, such as small palms and Heliconias, and we also oftentimes see glass-wing butterflies. At the top of the ridge you turn right to reach the Mirador (lookout). From here the view expands over 100 kilometers to the West.The other entrance starts with a steep climb up through the vegetable garden and orchard that will take you directly to the Mirador (lookout). This steep ascent along the newly-cut trail is what accounts for the difficulty rating. Continue to the right after the lookout and you will descend into Plantillo San Antonio and end up back on the main road. Otherwise, if you go left after the lookout it will be a shorter hike that will end at the yoga pavilion.
GREEN TRAIL 1 hr. or less/ Difficulty: Difficult
The Green Trail is a loop that connects the Yellow Trail to the lower portion of the Blue Trail at the bottom of the stairs leading back up to the waterfall. It can be entered from the top near the Butterly Farm or from the bottom of the Blue Trail. This is one of our shorter trails but also the most challenging, with steep inclines and declines and some tricky footing. It crosses a couple of different streams and has been described by our more adventurous visitors as their favorite trail at FEV. We have seen Howler Monkeys as well as some rare and interesting birds such as the Green Shrike Vireo. If you first take the Blue Trail to enter the Green Trail, once on the Green Trail you will be treated to a frog pond that takes you across a bridge to a small waterfall. There you can relax in the gazebo or benches surrounding the pond or choose to continue onto the more challenging steep path up to the big waterfall and swimming hole to finish off with a refreshing dip!