Climb Mogoton - Break the Myth !
Leon Travel Blog› entry 102 of 103 › view all entries
As Sergei Lubensky, my dear friend from
First - getting licensed on Utila is really cool. I read a lot about the backpacker's island but could never guess that the spirit is so amazing. Julia and I were working on our First Aid and then Rescue Diver Licenses whereas Sergei was making his first steps in diving.
Their pricing is one of the best on the island - $241 for the Open Water License. That includes 4 free nights at their room or dorm (whatever you prefer) - an equivalent of $20 if it's a room or $12 if it's a dorm, 2 fun dives - an equivalent of $60, and 4 days of Reef Access Fee - $12 value. Getting your license on Caye Caulker in
Then in La Ceiba we did a 2-day white-water rafting adventure on Rio Cangrejal with Jungle River Lodge. Go for that option! It is a high-adrenaline adventure with lots of category IV sections. Their normal 4hr package is nice and exciting but I would never call it an adventure.
One trick they might do to you is to charge some 16% tax. Not to get "robbed" - agree on the price beforehand and pay in advance. The manager Oscar who comes across as an amicable guy would be telling you "No-no-no, pay after you return". Once you hear that - know that the sonuvabitch is setting you up. If you are paying afterwards chances are high that he will say "and there's 16% tax on the tour and food". Laugh into his face and say "We agreed on the firm price and no tax was mentioned." If he insists - bring any other "one-day" customer and ask him how much he paid. I am sure the answer will be $40 for the 4hr tour and NO TAX.
A day of hiking in the jungle in Rio Cangrejal canyon was outstanding. Sergey and I did it on our own reaching an immense waterfall crawling up in a riverbed, soaking in a pool right under the roaring cascade and getting lost on our way back :)
A week-long stay in Casa Kiwi near
And then I jumped into another "aventura". Peak Mogoton, the highest point in
The truth is here. Go with the guides who KNOW the safe trail to the peak. There are two people who live in Ocotal and own coffee fincas on the slopes of Mogoton and neighboring mountains. Their names are Roberto Castellanos and Bayardo Jimenez. Roberto was my guide. He also appeared to be a young local artist. I saw his wonderful impressionist paintings and even received a little masterpiece as a gift!
Their contact phones are: Roberto Castellanos +505 653-36666 (cell) +505 732-0317 (home), Bayardo Jimenez +505 833-1149 (cell) +505 732-2267 (home).
Roberto put a short description of their services and their contacts on
When contacting them at least basic command of Spanish is essential !!!
If you go with one of them (and I only recommend going with Roberto or Bayardo) you'll be picked up at your hotel in Ocotal at 5am or 6am.
Here's what you should see there.
Why is it important to know. Some locals who want to get your money will try to trick you saying "Sure, I can bring you up there!" They will bring you up some other peak that is not Mogoton and charge you tons of money for nothing making you terribly afraid with idiotic stories of people being killed by old mines that are everywhere. Once you hear those stories, once they quote price over US60 per person for the transportation and guiding services, once they cannot tell what exactly there's on Mogoton summit - you should know the people take advantage of you.
By the way, the exact coordinates of Mogoton summit are: N13° 45' 46.
Roberto and Bayardo won't charge you more than $60 per person for the round-trip transportation and the guiding services. They will never scare you with stupid stories because they know the safe trail. And, of course, they will tell you what you are going to see on the summit!
Last year over 30 Nicaraguans climbed the peak. Most of them were students from
I did three attempts to reach Mogoton. My second attempt was with a guy named Manuel Gomez, an indigenous local from
The good thing was that following Manuel I met Roberto who happened to be at his finca that day. So my third attempt was successful.
There's a 40 person unit of Nicaraguan military who are cleaning the old mine-fields. They work Monday through Friday. Every day they combine their "findings" into bunches of 4-6 mines and detonate those "toys" in a series of 3-5 explosions. So, if you are climbing on a week day you will hear a series of explosions that sound very close - like 100m away from you.
Mogoton is a beautiful mountain covered with cloud forest, with beautiful views both in the river and on the upper part of the trail. Go with Roberto or Bayardo and enjoy the magnificent peak!