Dec. 23: Selva Negra Ecolodge

On Christmas Eve Eve/Festivus/Dec. 23/day 53, Danielle and I awoke at the El Castillo Hotel in Matagalpa and spent the morning enjoying our included breakfast and hanging about the hotel until check-out. We then drove a few minutes up steep roads to the coffee plantation where we were to spend Christmas: Selva Negra. The history of the plantation dates back to some of the first German immigrants to the area who brought with them coffee. Today, the plantation is run by a German-Nicaraguan couple, who run the farm and hotel with a very sustainable and Eco-conscious mentality, employing and even housing local Nicaraguans. If you're interested in the place, I encourage you to visit their website as it can explain better than I can.

Danielle and I found Selva Negra because we wanted to do something 'special' for Christmas. Originally Danielle and I pondered flying to Jamaica or visiting the Nicaraguan Corn Islands. However, after exploring these two options, we found the price highly restrictive. Another desire that Danielle had expressed was to visit a coffee plantation while we were in Central America, and I was very on-board with this desire. Thus, instead of spending Christmas in Jamaica or the Corn Islands, I suggested we try to find a coffee-related place to spend Christmas. And so, a quick Google search returned Selva Negra.

On Selva Negra's website, no prices are listed; instead one must submit a form and wait to hear back from a booking representative. I feared the accommodations would be well out of our price range, but was pleasantly surprised to hear back that while on the more expensive side, we could afford to stay over Christmas in one of Selva Negra's 'Hotel-style' accommodations. We had the reservation booked while we were still in Mexico visiting the ruins of Palenque.

Anyway, upon arrival to Selva Negra we checked-in a bit early but were shown our room without problems. The room was very nice, and dare-I-say-it, the location up in the mountains was actually cold (for us, at least). Surrounding a small lake, containing many walking and hiking trails, and housing a small museum and stone chapel, the property is gorgeous. We spent the 23rd getting settled in our room and booking a coffee tour for the next day. We also did a shorter hike around the small lake and along the mountainside.

Our room at Selva Negra in one of the 'Hotel Style' accommodations.

Although I'm very disappointed how my photos of the chapel turned out, the building is too cool not to include.

Sights along our Festivus hike.

Coffee berries growing alongside the trail.

A very photogenic goose.

And then there's this guy, also photogenic.

Selva Negra by night; restaurant on the right, just out of frame on the left was the building we stayed in.

Hell of a tree.