The wildlife refuge Chacocente is situated in the departments Rivas and Carazo at the Pacific coast. The reserve spreads over 4.600 hectare, which are divided into 84 private properties. The wildlife refuge does not only protect the onshore biodiversity, but also reaches 3 miles into the ocean in order to protect the aquatic flora and fauna. The wildlife reserve counts with 12 kilometers of beautiful, virgin beaches, which invite you for long walks along the coast, for a good surf or to watch impressive sunsets. The area was declared wildlife refuge in 1983, in order to protect the sea turtles and the dry forest.
Chacocente is a secret spot, far from the tourist masses, which feels like paradise. You are surrounded by green vegetation, walk over loamy soil and sandy beaches and mount rocky hills. It is the right place for extended walks and to loose oneself on the trails through the deep forest and along the coastline. Immerse yourself into the wildlife, observe plants and insects, search for birds and unusual mammals or book a horse riding tour along the coast. Chacocente is an extensive refuge which offers all kinds of activities for outdoor freaks in the pure and untouched nature.
The dry forest is one of the most important ones in whole Central America, here you can find 276 different species of fauna. Amongst them are three different types of monkeys, pumas, anteaters and turtles. In the ocean you can observe dolphins and whales. Common birds in this area are Chocoyos, Hummingbirds, Toucans, Guardabarrancos – Nicaragua’s national bird – and Cormorants. The refuge is also famous for its turtle protection. In fact, Chacocente in one of nine beaches in the whole world where you can witness mass arrivals of the Paslama turtle from July to December. You can find four different sea turtles at Chacocente – that is quite impressive regarding the fact that there exist only seven different seaturtle species around the world.
Chacocente lies just north of the famous Tola surf zone, the most popular and crowded surf area in Nicaragua. The beaches at Chacocente are by far less crowded, but are still within the offshore wind zone, with winds blowing from the Nicaragua Lake. The best surf is at Playa de Veracruz. You will find a beach break with lefts and rights and a sandy, sometimes rocky bottom. The waves are fast, so it is recommended for experienced surfers. This is not a typical surf spot. You should take care of the environment and biodiversity, as it is a wildlife refuge. Furthermore, you will not find any surf shops, surf rentals or restaurants here. So bring everything you need: enough water, food, surfboards, surf wax, etc. as otherwise you need to head back to your car and get it.
The best is to drive there with your own 4x4 car. If you rely on public transport, take a bus from Rivas or Nandaime to El Astillero, which is the closes town to Chacocente Wildlife Refuge. Take a note, that during rainy season there is absolutely no access to Chacocente. So, check out the road conditions before heading to the refuge.