Charco Muerto, a wide rural zone managed by a peasant cooperative, offers a variety of activities to do in just one visit. For example, hiking the top of a hill and enjoying panoramic views, fishing, enjoying the sandy beaches of Lake Cocibolca´ s coasts and getting to know the rutine of the kind families of the area.
The name of the cooperative is Claudio Chamorro No.2 and it is constituted by peasant families. Its 120 members work in agriculture, livestock and fishing. The 772 acres-farm in which they live has crop and pasture fields, as well as coastal, preserved forest and living areas.
Due to the beauty of its surroundings, the cooperative started a rural tourism project in order to give the visitors an interesting experience. It is possible to stay overnight in this community shelter and do more activities. However, the regular tour can be made in just one day.
Hiking La Lomona
The tour begins at the sandy beach of Casas de Tejas, which is reached by the dirt road to Monteverde, the one that connects with the Granada-Nandaime highway. It is possible to get to this beach without any guides, but the cooperative offers transportation from the city of Granada to this spot (read the How to get there section).
At the beach, visitors are welcomed by the community tour guides, who give all the pertinent orientations. The walk through rural trails begins here, and the first spot is an old indigenous cementery; located in a mound with half burried potsherds, which can be seen closely by the visitors. After this place, the path is divided into two: short and long.
People with physical dificulties must take the 30 minute-short path to the Community House. It goes through flat lands with huge trees, gardens and all the natural and agricultural surroundings.
The long path includes hiking La Lomona. The journey starts going up through trails, shaded by tall trees. When passing by crop fields tourists will find a variety of insects and birds (pointed out by the guides). Further up, the slopes of the hill there will reveal crop fields with few trees, making it possible to have panoramic views of the shore of the lake, the mythical Zapatera island and its islets. Furthermore, tourists can observe farmers doing their daily tasks, wild animals such as squirrels, lizards, and others.
The highest point of the trip is reached after two and a half hours, but the time can vary according to the speed of the group. After that, the descent beings and leads to the shores of the lake. The group goes to Playa Ronaldos, which has black sand and no stones, ideal for a swim on those waters. Los Cocos beach is located next to this beach, with a sandy bay suitable for a swim as well.
Lunch and rest at the Community House
After passing the beaches, the trails and the peasant´ s houses, visitors are guided to the Community House, where lunch is served. It includes fried fish, rice, beans, fried bananas and salad. It is also possible to change the menu for vegetarians, for instance, but it is requiered to do it in advance. After lunch, visitors can rest on the hammocks or go to the beaches.
Artisanal fishing and boat trips
A tourist can have beautiful views of the coast from a boat. The coast is, at some points, flat and sandy or stony and with rock cliffs. One can see lake birds and the Zapatera archipelago. Because of the proximity to this island, the water is often tranquil.
The community guides show visitors how to use a fishnet, a very simple process that takes energy and willingness, because it requires a lot of attempts until getting it right. It is possible to catch a colored mojarra, guapote, milkfish and tilapia. Generally, this is a sport fishing activity and all the fish are returned to the lake. Nonetheless, visitors can choose to keep their fish.
A snack is offered on the boat and after that, the trip continues until reaching Casa de Tejas beach, where the tour started and ends. Here, the transportation awaits the tourists so they can be taken to Granada in case they choose not to star overnight.
The price of this tour is US$35 per person. It includes the hiking, lunch, snacks, boat trip, artisanal fishing experience and transportation from and to Granada. If the visitors choose not to take the transportation, then the price is US$16 per person. The guides offer a Spanish tour, but there is one of them that can do it in English; this should be requested in advance. Each guide manages a group of five people. Despite the fact that the cooperative has a lot of tour guides, they only accept groups of 20 people.
For those who stay overnight, there are other activities available. It is possible to visit the forested areas of the cooperative, fish with hooks, cook traditional dishes (gallopinto, fried fish and others) or do some farm activities in the crop fields and stockyards. In order to know more about the lodging options, read about the Charco Muerto Shelter.
The Claudio Chamorro No.2 Cooperative is also part of the UCA Tierra y Agua organization (a group of agricultural cooperatives). Their office is located in the city of Granada and offers transportation to Charco Muerto. It also can pick up tourists in other hotels of the city for an additional fee of US$5. It takes two hours to go from Granada to Casa de Tejas beach when the road is in bad conditions, and one hour when it is not.
UCA Tierra y Agua office in Granada
Adress: Gasolinera UNO Palmira, ½ cuadra al Oeste, Granada.
Phone: (505) 2552 0238.
When taking private transportation, visitors must go to the 60.5 km of the Granada-Nandaime highway and then take the dirt road that starts in Monteverde (see the signs) until reaching Casas de Tejas beach. It is recommended to drive a high car during winter.