The Apante Hill is one of the highest hills surrounding the city of Matagalpa, and it is located in a mountain structure known as the Cerro Apente Natural Reserve (including also several other hills). The area has been declared national reserve and it is a great place for hiking. The foot of the Apente hill is located right outside the city, less than 10 minutes from the center, which makes it a great trip to undertake when visiting Matagalpa.
Apante means 'water hill' in the native Náhuatl language and this is not without a reason. Many streams and small rivers come down from the top, and Apante even provides drinking water to the city. There are also several waterfalls on the hill. This abundance of water also creates a great setting for lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife. Animals that can be seen include squirrels, agoutis, butterflies, and spiders.
There are nice walking trails that lead to the top of the hill. From here, visitors have a superb view of the city of Matagalpa and its surroundings. It takes about two hours to reach the top and descend again to the foot of the hill (using two different trails). It is also possible to take another trail that takes five hours of hiking. Even more adventurous is the hike that crosses the Apente reserve, ultimately reaching the small town of San Ramón. This hike takes about 7 hours.
Although Apante is situated close to the city, it is not very easy to find the start of the trails without a guide. It is therefore recommended to hire a guide in Matagalpa. There is a small entrance fee that is used to maintain the trails.
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