Just 45 minutes from Antigua (or 10 minutes via 4 x 4 or tuk tuk), Finca El Pilar is a private nature reserve — so private you may feel as if your family has it all to themselves. You can hike up, up, up into the cloud forest or down, down, down a steep trail with wooden stairs. Up or down, you’ll hoof it to the soundtrack of birds singing (the estate is known for its hummingbirds), passing rich and verdant trees twined with succulents and ferns and vines-very Tarzan and Jane.
All trails are immaculately kept, as are the bathrooms at the bottom of the stairs. Close to the entrance are several swimming pools (a couple bucks extra), and a hummingbird watching station. Truly a green, hidden gem away from all the hustle and bustle of Antigua.
Contact owner Juan Rivera (Fincaelpilar@live.com) for information about mountain biking, guided birding hikes, or the peaceful campsite near the top of the property, complete with tents, bedding and bathrooms.