La Chota Community
The Chacocente Reserve is one of the 7 turtle nesting sites in all Latin America and one of the major dry tropical forest reserves in the country. It´s a natural reserve of 4,650 hectares divided among 84 private owners located on the Pacific coast.
You will find a rich fauna with 47 species of mammals like anteaters and armadillos, 4 species of big cats and 3 species of monkeys. You’ll also find 86 species of birds like Toucans, Golden Oriole, Urracas, Guarda Barrancos, sea birds, Pelicans, Cormorants and Egrets. The reserve includes 3 miles of protected sea area where whales, dolphins and sharks can be seen. During the dry season, you can observe different varieties of lizards, geckos and iguanas, and in the rainy season (from April to November) it´s turtle time! On the Chacocente Beach you´ll get to see 4 out of the 7 sea turtle species in the entire world (Paslama, Tora, Torita and Carey turtle). Each turtle lay a hundred eggs which hatch 45 to 55 days later.
Six communities (La Chota, La Palma, El Papalón, La Poma, Escalante and Veracruz de Acayo) in the area are linked by dirt roads which are easily traversable in the dry season. These communities choose tourism as an ecological alternative to development. The locals are welcoming and authentic; you´ll discover the real definition of hospitality here! The roads of the reserve are full of birds and preserved vegetation, so you´ll enjoy great hikes or mountain bike rides!
Once in El Astillero and between two swims in the Pacific Ocean, you can stop at “Las Mujeres Tejedoras” (women’s weaving cooperative). This cooperative is a union of women who collect plastic bags from the beach in order to make nice colored hand bags. A great initiative that deserves support.
Once in the reserve, you can horse ride, bike ride, walk or run in the park; you´ll be able to pass through a lot of different communities who will greet you warmly.
You can do bird watching (look for Urracas, Guarda Barrancos, Kingfishers, Great Kiskadee, Nicaraguan Grackle, Vultures…) so don´t forget your tropical birds guidebook!
Besides birds, you’ll also be able to watch howler monkeys, cows, horses and maybe some turtles if you come on the right season (between May and February and especially between August and November).
In Chacocente you´ll enjoy 12 km of heavenly beaches where you can go for a walk, swim or watch the turtles you can finish your promenade on the preserved beach of Chacocente and admire a Pacific Ocean sunset!
If the turtle nesting is your major motivation, the best season, is from July to September. The turtles arrival is a fragile natural event we can´t plan certainly, but in this period you´ll have great chances to admire this natural show, mostly at night, that is why the guides will wake you up, by the moment they come.
The community of La Chota offers various attractions and tours such as:
– Tour to the beach and discovery of the marine turtles
– Excursion to “Los Tres Sombreros” hill where you´ll admire a splendid viewpoint over the Pacific Ocean and the entire reserve
– Beekeeping and honey tasting tour
– Tour of the birds and mammals
All theses tours cost U$ 10
You can also rent horses in order to ride between the research center and La Chota community. It’s a 3-hour walk where you can traverse the reserve slowly and observe the fauna and flora accompanied by the sound of your horse’s hooves. The prices are U$ 20 for a small group (- 3 persons) and U$ 15 for a group of 4 or more.