The mountain rainforest with its plentiful flora and fauna, plus the everyday peasant life and cultural represented on handicrafts, food and more, make up the set of attractions of Tisey Natural Reserve - The Estanzuela, which has an area of 9,344 hectares of land (more than 13 thousand acres, or 93 square miles). It is located in the north of the country, divided between the municipalities of San Nicolás, Estelí and El Sauce.
Today, the options for nature tourism and rural tourism connect the reserve with local and foreign tourists who come to visit. Some of its most famous visitors have experienced overcrowded from years ago, especially in the holiday season of Nicaragua. But the offer is diversifying and increasingly organized. Birdwatching, hiking, abseiling and community activities are prominent interactions.
The reserve is composed of vast areas of crops, livestock and several areas of protected forest areas where the pine and robledares stand. Here are several mountains, rivers and ravines. The name of the reserve actually comes from two of its most prominent natural sites: Cerro El Tisey which has 1,550 meters, and the river La Estanzuela which has a large and very well-known waterfall under the same name.
In the reserve there are several rural communities and private agroproductive farms. One of the most picturesque farms is the community reserve of La Garnacha, where there are options for lodging, food, purchase of farm products and crafts of various kinds. Another service they offer is to visit surrounding natural points, like the hill Apaguajil, caves and sweeping panoramic viewpoints.
Nearby, the restaurant Rancho Don Luis offers an excellent menu and a great view of the volcanic mountain range of The Maribios.
The Estanzuela the leap is actually the most famous place in the reserve. It is a waterfall of 35 feet high, whose rocky wall are covered by beautiful wetland vegetation. Although it has been attacked pollution due to the massive influx of tourists in the summer, and especially to poor infrastructure and care of the authorities, the waterfall is always an iconic site here.
You can access the reserve by taking the Panamerican Highway, both from the road to the town of San Nicolas and from the town of Estelí. There are some infrequent buses that goes to some of the communities of the reserve from the market town of Estelí.
If you decide to drive your own vehicle, coming from Managua or the Central and Southern cities, you should reach 135 km, which is the junction to San Nicolas. Turn left and take the road to the village, for about 9 miles. There will come to a junction, recognizable by the restaurant Rancho Don Luis. Turn right towards the community of La Tejera, and come to La Garnacha. To go to other parts of the reserve, you should take internal roads heading north.
From Estelí, you must search the area south of the city bus stop where the road begins to the Estanzuela. The waterfall and the neighboring community of the same name are about 6 kilometers from the city. You should continue towards La Tejera to reach La Garnacha and other points of interest.