It’s incredible to see that this huge, rich natural reserve is located only 30 minutes from Managua. Montibelli is a private reserve that measures more than 160 hectares. The reserve lies on Managua’s sierra and its altitude ranges from 360 to 720 meters above sea level. Most of the area is covered with tropical dry forest, and many different types of animals and plants inhabit the reserve.
What to expect
Montibelli has a very rich birdlife. Not only can you find woodpeckers, hummingbirds, parrots, vultures, hawks, golden orioles, and motmots (the national bird); the reserve is also inhabited by an impression population of trogons. These brightly colored birds are rare in Nicaragua and Montibelli is one of the very few places where they can be spotted easily.
Furthermore, you can encounter mammals, reptiles, and insects. There live opossums, bats, deer, howler monkeys, squirrels, snakes, frogs, lizards, and many other animals. During the raining season tons of butterflies flutter about. There are also some viewpoints from where you have a great view over the reserve and the rugged landscape around it.
The reserve has its own fruit and vegetable production. Pineapple, passion fruit, cactus fruit (Pitahaya), lemon, bananas, and other food is grown ecologically within the reserve. You can therefore get very fresh and uncontaminated juices and meals.
Montibelli also offers comfortable cabins, located within the reserve. For more information, see Eco-albergue Oropendola in our Hotel Guide.
The reserve has been set up well. There is a small tourist center at the entrance of the park, where you can get information on what you can see and where you can go. There are several paths to hike, taking between 30 minutes and 2 ½ hours. It is also easily possible to combine some paths and spend a whole day in Montibelli. Guides are provided by the reserve (you are obligated to walk with a guide), and they all have their specialty and will point out plants, animals, and other interesting things you would otherwise overlook.
To get there in car you should, coming from Managua, take the highway to Masaya (carretera Masaya). When you leave Managua and the number of lanes decreases, you should turn right in the direction of Ticuantepe (there are signs).
The entrance to reach the Montibelli reserve is at the km18 1/2 road Ticuantepe - La concha.
Passing the Park Juan Ramon Padilla (Ticuantepe) first street right hand, move forward one block, and then turn left , you will see a paving road and the you will reach a dirt road. Then, turn right on the path until you reach a limit, now turn left until you reach the enacal well of water. In front of the well is the entry on the right side, and from a 700 meters of distance si located the reserve.
You can also take a taxi or bus up to here, and hike or bike to the park. This can be dusty or muddy (depending on the season), tough, and exhausting, but it’s surely a nice way of getting there.