Thursday, June 16, 2016

Selva Negra (Black Forest) , Nicaragua

This is Mike...
We Decided to take a break from Granada and go to the cool mountains of northern Nicaragua, near the town of Matagalpa. Elise did research on the area and booked accommodations at Selva Negra prior to us going up there. This lodge, farm, and working coffee plantation is quite famous and usually books up, so I am happy we had reservations ahead of time. The altitude and weather patterns make this region's average daytime temperatures between 67 and 70 degree Fahrenheit (19 to 21 C) year round. It is easy to see why the German settlers, who founded the plantation, chose this area to grow crops, even if it does rain 98 inches (2500 mm.) per year.
   For North Americans, you might recognize the Selva Negra name as their organic coffee is available at Whole Foods, HEB, and Safeway to name a few stores. This coffee plantation works hard to make organic coffee including mulching all of their organic waste. Among other things, they scoop out algae from their ponds daily for mulching as well as feed their "Mountain of worms" to create rich top soil in their wormery. Additionally, most all of their energy needs for the lodge are provided by solar and in-house hydroelectric plants, hence the ponds. We enjoyed how seriously they take sustainable living here and really demonstrated how one can enjoy a good lifestyle without creating a lot of waste.
   One thing that really bothered us though, a large corporation bought up an adjacent property and uses commercial techniques that are not organic. As such the neighboring plantation's practices have impacted 20% of Selva Negra's organic coffee production which was downgraded to sustainable grade coffee, which fetches a much lower price at the market. We thought it was unfair that the neighbor's pesticides, fertilizers and so on could have such a negative impact on Selva Negra's products. The remaining 80% of the land is certified organic, which is significant as the property measures 3700 acres (1500 Hectares). Selva Negra also takes really good care of their employees, giving them free health care, housing, and meals, in addition to a steady income. In fact, each of our guides were second and third generation farm residents. If you plan on visiting the area, do as many of the tours as you can. You will love it!

Zoe enjoying the fresh air on the drive up to Selva Negra.

A cute guard shack prior to entering the property

"Turn right at the tank" were the directions we were given to Selva Negra.

Peaceful setting on the lake.

Bier Stein and ice cold beer are like hands and gloves

Walking to our cabin for the first time.

Big trees and big swings made for one nervous daddy.

Eine Wald Kirche, (forest church) similar to those one would find in Germany. 

Zoe swinging on a vine in the forest.

A goose coming up to our table for breakfast. His name was Christmas :) 

Zoe enjoying a passion fruit on our tour.

Sierra enjoying a granadilla fruit on our tour.

everybody enjoyed the blackberries.

The lake view from the dam.

Selva Negra's school for the employee's children.

Free community housing for the workers and the owner's house on the hill.

Zoe and Sierra holding quail eggs.

This calf was two days old and was sucking Sierra's fingers.

Zoe likes baby animals.

Some nice people took our picture while we were walking to the restaurant.

Imagine staying here and de-stressing a bit.

Our view from the playground, near the restaurant.

My girls are looking for a rodent in the bushes.

This man collects algae for composting.

The restaurant was as nice as it looks and the food for the meals come from the farm as well.



  1. So glad the kids found some blackberries! I know Sierra had doubted that she'd have any once you left Austin. ;-)

  2. So glad the kids found some blackberries! I know Sierra had doubted that she'd have any once you left Austin. ;-)