Nestled in the Cloud Forest near Matagalpa, Nicaragua is a beautiful Eco-lodge known as Selva Negra. Founded in the late 1800’s by German immigrants Selva Negra serves as an Eco-Lodge, Nature Reserve, Coffee Estate, Organic Farm, Banquet Facility, and pioneer of many sustainable business practices. Lodging varies from a youth hostel, to hotel, to bungalows and chalets. I stayed in the youth hostel, which was Spartan, but sufficient. Numerous trails head up into the mountains right out the front door of the lodging with opportunities to see a variety of wildlife. We took an early morning hike, and the howler monkeys screaming overhead in the darkness were exciting, if a little unnerving. The property supports a restaurant with a variety of locally grown vegetables, butter, cheeses, milk and yogurt produced onsite, organically fed, free range pigs and cattle, and award winning shade grown coffee. An onsite pastry chef creates seasonal desserts and breads. The property is gated and guarded around the clock for security, though inside you’ll feel like you’re nestled in a rural heaven untouched by the evils of modern society. Prices are reasonable, and there are plenty of places to explore. I stayed here for a week, while volunteering up in La Esmeralda building a medical center.