The Wawashang Natural Reserve is a huge area encompassing 350 thousand hectares of in three different municipalities (Pearl Lagoon, El Tortuguero, and Kukra Hill). In this natural space inhabit countless of flora and fauna species which can be appreciated during the tours between different paths or in wooded areas, where the tourist can also enjoy the scenic beauty.
Towns and villages are situated within the boundaries of the reserve and part of the protected forest has been cut and used for agricultural purposes. Nevertheless there are several areas where beautiful tropical forest still dominates and where tourists can enjoy the superb natural surroundings.
One of these areas is located not far a small town called Pueblo Nuevo, located on the shore of the Wawashang River. This forest can be reached after an hour-long hike crossing an agricultural region. This area was strongly hit by Hurricane Beta at the end of 2005, and traces of this disaster are still visible along the way to the forest. Many fallen trees can be seen along the path, especially close to the river. The forest itself has also fallen victim to this tropical storm, but the vegetation remains spectacular and full of animal life.
If the visitant prefers to stay more in contact with nature, the day tours offered will be the best choice. During two hours the tourist can go hike in the paths which has resting areas and if you have luck, you can bump with monkeys, deers, butterflies, among others. Also, in the reserve are offered some social activities. To know more about them, you can visit the different projects developed by FADCANIC (Center of Environmental and Agricultural Education).
Through FADCANIC three projects have been acquired. This projects promote local development and sustainability of the area. The first initiative is the School project, which is intended to provide technical as well as environmental education to the children of the workers. The purpose is to encourage the younger people to disclose in their communities the importance of conserving the natural environment. Also, this initiative works as a boarding school. While making the tour around the area, you will notice the children's houses, distinguished by the names of each region of the Southern Caribbean.
The second project is agroforestary and consists in elaborate organic products using their own resources. Some of the goods produced are dried fruits, which are harvest and subsequently pass by a dehydration process. As well, chocolate, banana vinegar and Borojo jelly are produced. All the processing is done with solar energy and water, which is purified through a plant.
In the Wawashang Natural Reserve you can take the tour around the areas where the different products are made as well as the place where the final goods are. The best of all is that you can actually taste them if you like. Moreover, you can also explore the two nurseries where is worked with organic fertilizer. In the first harvest area are found plantations of pejibaye, coconut, passion fruit, granadilla and cocoa. These products are distributed to the municipalities and sold locally.
Furthermore, the second nursery was created to retrieve the varieties of citrus fruits such as lemon and tangerine. Also, there are plantations of pineapple, hearts of palm and four varieties of hibiscus flower from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nandaime and the local area.
The third project consists in a carpentry section where students of 7th to 9th grade receive carpentry classes. Furnitures are made for the FADCANIC project. If you are interested in getting some of the products, you can request a contract to make an order. It should be noted that the wood used is from dry fallen trees.
Besides the projects, the accommodation services are offered in a guesthouse. This two floor lodging is located near the classrooms and the students rooms. In the second floor are distributed the guests rooms and in the first floor is found a conference area. The accommodation per night costs C$200. Further more, the cost of the meal service can vary from C$50 to C$70.
In the area are different indigenous villages available for the tourist to visit. The price for the tour consists on a fixed rate for the boat rental and a fee per person for food and other services. The price for the boat rental, with capacity for up to ten people, is approximately $220, depending on the price of gasoline and the rate per person is about $5. This trip can be arranged in Pearl Lagoon with one of the hotels or with the fishermen.
For more information about the services and activities available in the Natural Reserve Wawashang, contact the central offices. The opening hours are from Monday to Sunday at 8 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 6 PM.
To reach the Wawashang Natural Reserve from Bluefields you must take a commercial boat that only comes out on Sunday and Wednesday at 7 AM. The cost per person is CS$300.
You can get here from any of the towns that surround it. You can contact any of the fishermen of the area to guide you. Tourists usually enter the reserve by traveling on the Wawashang river, which is reached from the town of Laguna de Perlas. You can organize the trip with a hotel of this area or with local fishermen at the pier.