El cañon de Somoto is a 125 hectacre canyon and a National Monument of Nicaragua. Yesterday, St. Andrew’s school spent the day rafting the Rio Coco, which sits at the bottom of the canyon.
The Somoto Canyon is thought to be between 5 million and 13 million years old! Despite its age, this massive rock formation remained mostly unexplored until 2004, when a group of scientists from the Czech Republic made their way through the canyon’s weaving walls as some of its first visitors. The Institute of Nicaraguan Territorial Studies and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have since further studied the canyon, and in November of 2005, the Nicaraguan government declared the canyon a National Monument.
Before its discovery, the canyon was only known by a few close by villagers who used the river to bathe in. Other than that, Somoto Canyon had little importance to the country or the somoteños- people from the town of Somoto, only 13 kilometers away. Somoto’s newfound fame brought three things: tourism, protection, and vandalism.
Now known for its 160-metered walls that tower of Coco river and its flora, Somoto Canyon is a hot spot for any tourists seeking off-the-beaten path Canyoneering. Somoto is still only grazed over by most guidebooks, keeping it one of Nicaragua’s better-kept secrets. The National Park now includes camping sites, and charges an entrance fee, but for a good cause- the protection the park receives helps to vend off vandals and keep the park clean.
Sadly, the canyon has seen its fair share of graffiti. MARENA and groups of teen volunteers have worked to clean the rock walls of graffiti and keep the canyon beautiful.
Today, the SAS group will be in San Juan del Sur, visit a local school, and start their surf lessons!
Further reading and resources:
MARENA: La Clima
MARENA: Flora y Fauna
MARENA: Graffiti y Voluntarios
La Prensa: Nicaragua News Source
La Prensa: Guiaturistica
La Prensa: Noticias Nacionales
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