The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is located in the north of Nicaragua, next to the frontier with Honduras. Together with three neighboring protected areas of Honduras, it constitutes the largest protected area complex of tropical mountain moist forest north of the Amazon Basin.
The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is located in the north of Nicaragua, next to the frontier with Honduras. Together with three neighboring protected areas of Honduras: Río Patuca National Park, Tawhaka Anthropological Reserve, and Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, it constitutes the so called 'Heart of the Mesoamerican Biocorridor,' representing the largest protected area complex of tropical mountain moist forest north of the Amazon Basin.
At approximately 20,000 sq km or 2,000,000 ha in size (7,700 sq mi or 5,000,000 acres), the reserve (nucleus and buffer zone) comprises about 15% of the nation's total land area making it the second largest rain forest in the Western Hemisphere, after the Amazon in Brazil. Bosawás is largely unexplored.
The Isabella Mountain chain crosses the reserve from southwest to northwest towards the Atlantic plain. As a cluster of existing protected areas it includes the Saslaya National Park, a complex of old volcanic peaks as 'Cerro Saslaya' and other peaks with 1,594 m (5,230 ft) above sea level.
Numerous small streams cascade from the mountains into the Rio Wani, which is an upper tributary of the Rio Prinzapolka. This is a hilly area, covered with tropical humid forest, tropical cloud forest and pine savannas. The biodiversity is extremely rich, with many rare or endangered species.
There are more than 130,000 inhabitants, mostly farmers, who live in the extensive agricultural frontier areas. The indigenous Mayangna and Miskitu groups live essentially from subsistence agriculture (maize, beans, rice, cacao, tuber), domestic animals raising and traditional medicine practices in their collective territories.