Awesome things to do in Nicaragua



Those who have the pleasure to talk to me know that I am obsessed with Nicaragua, the land of lakes and volcanoes. I find it the most interesting, and beautiful country in Central America. I have been there three times, and each time I am fascinated at how many awesome things to do in Nicaragua I can find, and I am far from being done with it. My love for it is so sincere that when friends and acquaintances ask me advice for their future travels to Costa Rica or Panama, I tell them they should visit Nicaragua instead.

There are just many things to do in Nicaragua, something for just about any kind of traveller: beautiful colonial cities; interesting culture and art; a complicated yet fascinating history; very friendly people; lush nature; great wildlife and volcanoes. Besides, Nicaragua beaches are gorgeous and lakes have a magnetic beauty. Corn Island Nicaragua is a slice of untouched Caribbean paradise. Finally, add to this an exchange rate that is very convenient and prices that are very cheap, and Nicaragua becomes the perfect country to visit.

I have thus decided to put together a few tips on places to visit and things to do in Nicaragua and Nicaragua best beaches. But before digging into the fun activities, let me clarify a few facts and make sure I explain how to best prepare a trip to Nicaragua.

things to do in Nicaragua

Visit Nicaragua – photo courtesy of George Kenyon

Awesome things to do in Nicaragua

Essential information

Deciding when to visit Nicaragua

The good news is that the weather in Nicaragua is always hot – at times unbearably so, actually. There are a few places to visit in Nicaragua where the temperatures are a bit milder. I ended up going to some partially because this way I could get a break from the heat that was killing me. The best time to visit Nicaragua is during its dry season, from November to March or April: the sunny days and dry weather, however, attract more people (but Nicaragua is never too crowded). The rainy season starts at the end of March, and this is when the country is as green as it gets. I hardly recommend going between September and November: prices may be much cheaper, but it is the tail of the hurricane season and floods and rain may really ruin the trip.

places to visit in Nicaragua: Cerro Negro

Things to do in Nicaragua: enjoy amazing sunsets

Arriving in Nicaragua

The only international airport is Managua. There is a $10 USD entry fee that all tourists who visit Nicaragua need to pay. Customs is really easy to clear, but some officers may ask a proof of onward travel to a different country. Nicaragua is part of the Central America-4 (CA-4) Border Control Agreement, a treaty that also includes Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and that allows the free movement across borders between the four countries. In practice, this means that when entering one of the four countries visitors get a 90-days visa and in order to renew that it will be necessary to travel outside of them (ie in Costa Rica, Mexico or Belize).

Crossing the border to Nicaragua

It is possible to cross the border between Nicaragua and Honduras at Las Manos, El Espino or El Guasule. There is also a boat service crossing the Gulf of Fonseca and connecting Potosí in Nicaragua to La Union in El Salvador, and there is a $2 USD exit fee. Not many people actually use this crossing, and in fact I tend to discourage those wanting to do it. The tide changes dramatically within a few hours, the waves make the crossing a difficult one, and what is often described as a leisurely trip is infact a bumpy crossing where all passengers get soaking wet.

The border with Costa Rica can be crossed at Peñas Blancas or by boat via Los Chiles. Costa Rican authorities require anybody entering the country to show proof of onward travel, in the form of either a bus or a plane ticket.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: meeting the lovely locals – photo courtesy of George Kenyon

Currency in Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan currency is the Cordoba. The exchange rate is around 27.2 Cordobas for one US Dollar at the moment. Dollars are widely accepted, and in any case they can be exchanged at any bank. Furthermore, money can be exchanged even in the street. At any corner in the centre of cities and near a bank there are men, usually wearing a badge, who exchange money at the official rate. It is completely safe to do so – I usually count how much I need to change and calculate how much I expect beforehand.

Safety issues

People sometimes ask me if it is safe to visit Nicaragua. I can’t hide that I have heard stories of people being robbed, but I have always felt safe there even as a solo female traveller. In fact, it is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Sure, I always keep an eye on my belongings and I avoid walking alone and in the dark in areas that are not considered safe, but other than that, I never have any problems even when taking the bus. Obviously, being able to effectively communicate in Spanish helps. Only the people who work in tourism really speak English!

Transportation in Nicaragua

One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is travelling by chicken bus. Chicken buses are old American school buses that have been driven all the way to Central America, their engine substituted, and they are now used for public transportation. They are very cheap, if only a bit uncomfortable: they only leave when full – and by full, I mean packed to the point that passengers may really feel like chickens in a cage. I still think they are fun: they are a great part of the culture of the country, locals widely use them, and I even saw the odd chicken a few times. And in the middle of all those people, the ticket man goes around to collect the fares, and street vendors get on board to sell whatever goods – from fruit to drinks, from pens to medicines.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: ride a chicken bus – photo courtesy of Alessandro Abis

The buses follow a fixed route, but there aren’t real bus stops. So, as long as on the route, people can get on and off the bus continuously, which means that the bus stops every minute or so and that trips that would normally take 30 minutes may take even over one hour.

Stations are actually fun places to visit in Nicaragua: while the drivers wait for the buses to fill in, the ticket men go around the station calling the destination and looking for passengers. It makes the place very lively and noisy, as well as colourful. It is beautiful to look at the chicken buses. Some of them are actually beautifully restored: newly painted and decorated, the ones that cover longer distances even have flat screen tv and a good sound system (too bad for the choice of movies and music which is never to my liking!).

Taxis in Nicaragua are very cheap, and usually have a fixed price per area. I normally ask how much it will be to go to my destination before getting on board, and if I am travelling long distance I barter a bit, but drivers tend to be honest. Taxis are shared, which means that even if there already are persons on board, the taxi will stop to pick up other passengers, as long as they are going in the same direction. A good way to meet local people.

I even hitchedhiked a few times. I had not intended to really, but when I once missed the bus from León Vieja back to León, a passersby to whom I had asked questions and later on saw me waiting for the bus offered a ride, since he was going in the same direction.

Eating and drinking in Nicaragua

Nicaragua produces some amazing fruit and is actually one of the biggest producers of beef in Central America: in fact beef is delicious here. It is also common to find lamb (locally called pelibuey) and lots of fresh fish and seafood along the coast.

One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is having a fresh juice. Needless to say, fruit in Nicaragua is delicious, and fruit juice is always made from scratch: just lots of juice, purified water and ice, a hint of sugar and at most some yogurt. My favourite is limonada (lemonade). It is very common to find fresh fruit stalls in the streets and squares: vendors peel and cut the fruit and sell it for a very cheap price. It’s a really healthy snack! Other common snacks are fried yucca and plantain.

While the local cuisine is not internationally considered one of Nicaragua tourist attractions, I still find it interesting and tasty. Gallo pinto (rice and beans) is the national staple, much like bread in Italy I would say, and Nicaraguans accompany every meal with it. There have been times when I had gallo pinto at breakfast (with scrambled eggs, a corn tortilla and platano maduro, which is a ripe plantain slowly cooked in oil), lunch and dinner (along with some grilled chicken, a cabbage salad and a corn tortilla).

things to do in Nicaragua

Eating gallo pinto for breakfast is one of the things to do in Nicaragua – photo courtesy of Christel Stol

Other local favourites include patacones (fried plantain croquettes, which can be accopanied by queso, a mild local cheese); vigoron, a dish made of a cabbage salad, yucca and chicarrones (pork scratchings) served on a banana leaf. Quesillos are delicious, filling and a real cholosterol bomb: a freshly baked corn tortilla is filled with two thin slices of a mild cheese, similar to mozzarella, then a salad made of onions and tomatoes and seasoned with vinegar is added, everything is wrapped together, salted and a lot of cream is poured on them. They are messy to eat, and thus served on plastic wraps. Not for the health conscious!

Local alcoholic drinks include rum – the most popular and best one is Flor de Caña – and light beers such as Toña and Victoria, which can be found also in bottles of 1 litre. There even is Nicaraguan wine, but I would dare say, as a wine drinker and wanna-be connoisseur, that drinking it is not among the things to do in Nicaragua! Coffee on the other hand is very good.

The cheapest places to eat in Nicaragua are fritangas which are street food stalls usually serving home cooked meals such as gallo pinto and also have a barbecue where they grill meat or chicken. Market stalls are also very cheap. Comedores or cafetínes are the Nicaraguan version of budget eateries. They pretty much serve the same food that fritangas offer, and in fact most of them used to be fritangas which then became popular and expanded their business. A meal in a comedor usually costs no more than $4 USD. There also are some lovely international and fusion restaurants in the country, especially in the most touristy destinations.

Water is supposedly safe to drink in some places, but I normally avoid tap water and opt for bottled one whenever I travel. Restaurants and bars use purified water for ice and to prepare food, so it usually is safe to eat and drink. I never had a problem but that may be just my luck!

Places to visit in Nicaragua

I have been to Nicaragua three times, I have been all over the country, and I can say there are so many places to visit in Nicaragua that it is easy to spend a couple of months there. Although I keep going to my favorite places, for which I feel a special connection, I have found that there are so many things to do in Nicaragua that it is easy to find something different to do every day. However, if one has limited time to visit Nicaragua, there are some attractions that should not be missed.

Granada and things to do in Granada

Most people who fly to Nicaragua go to Granada, which is at about 1 hour drive from Managua, as soon as they land. This is definitely one of the most famous Nicaragua tourist attractions, and for a good reason. The weather here is more pleasant than in other parts of the country because, while incredibly hot during the day, the breeze from Lake Nicaragua (known locally as Lake Cocibolca and through which the Nicaragua Canal should be built) cools it down a bit in the afternoon and evening.

Tourists fall in love with its architecture and splendor; with its bright colours and cobbled streets and with its slow paced life. There are many things to do in Granada, it just is such a beautiful colonial city that will make any photography lover go crazy with its elegance and colours. There also are many out of town adventures that are easily accessible.

Places to visit in Nicaragua

Things to do in Granada: go for a walk! – photo courtesy of Elaine Faith

Among the things to do in Granada, I recommend visiting the Convento y Museo San Francisco. This is the oldest church in Central America: it was first built in 1585, then burnt to ground by pirates and later by William Walker, rebuilt in 1868 and finally restored in 1989. The blue facade is simply stunning. The museum, which is accessed through a small door on the right, exhibits a lot of indigenous art as well as a scale model of the city. I particularly like the murales in the entry patio, which portray the history of the city and the country – of course having a guide helps in understanding the significance. The view of the lake and the volcanoes from the back patio is also a plus.

Things to do in Granada

Things to do in Granada: visit the Iglesia de San Francisco – photo courtesy of Tara Joyce

One of my favourite things to do in Granada is visiting the Iglesia de la Merced, which was also destroyed by pirates and later on by Walker and eventually restored. The church is beautiful, but the best part of it is climbing the tower and enjoying the incredible 360° view of Granada, the surrounding volcanoes and the lake. The best time to access the tower is around 11 am.

The Cathedral of Granada, located in the Parque Central, is what comes to mind when thinking about Nicaragua tourist attractions – not only for the church itself, but also because it makes for a perfect postcard picture. In fact, taking pictures of the cathedral from various angles and points of the city is one of the things to do in Granada. The main square is lined with several other beautiful buildings.

On the side of the Cathedral, Calle La Calzada is the main pedestrian street in the city, packed with trendy bars, restaurants, and the best hotel in town (Hotel Darío, which takes its name from the most famous Nicaraguan poet). La calzada is very lively at night, when street artists and artesania vendors populate it. Walking along it, it is possible to reach the lake, about 1 km away from the centre. When I wander about what to do in Granada when the heat is just about to kill me, I go to the lake and enjoy the refreshing breeze. Besides the view of the city on the way back is lovely, especially that of the Church of Guadalupe.

Strolling on La Calzada is one of the things to do in Granada - photo courtesy of Byron Howes

Strolling on La Calzada is one of the things to do in Granada – photo courtesy of Byron Howes

I generally say to people who are interested in seeing a bit of local action that one of the things to do in Granada is visiting the market. It is so lively, so full of colours and interesting smells. However, it also is very crowded, so my advice is not to carry any precious belongings there: as in any market in the world, pickpockets target tourists and they are very quick!

Taking a boat trip through Las Isletas is one of the things to do in Granada. These islands are really small. There are supposedly 365 islands, which were formed as a result of the eruption of volcano Mombacho, which can be seen from the lake. I recommend to take a boat that leaves around 3:45 pm. This is the perfect time to view as many birds as possible, including the weaving bird and king fisher, as well as the 3 different kinds of monkeys that live in the area, and on the way back the sunset view of the smoke capped volcano is simply spectacular. I am not a very keen birdwatcher, but I must admit that with the right captain who points at the various species of birds the trip becomes a whole more interesting.

Things to do in Granada: tour Las Isletas

Things to do in Granada: tour Las Isletas to enjoy a perfect sunset

When I look for what to do in Granada that is not in the drop centre of town, I head to the old train station, which is about 9 blocks from the centre, and where there are a few well preserved wagons on display. The station is right in front of Parque de los Poetas, which is dedicated to Nicaragua most important poets.

Day trips from Granada

Nicaragua is packed with volcanoes, and one of the things to do in Nicaragua is hiking a volcano up to the crater. Granada is surrounded by volcanoes and I think that hiking up one of them and visiting their parks and reserves is among the things to do in Granada. Volcán Mombacho can be seen from the lake. Although it has not erupted recently, it is very much active. The natural reserve is home to 3 species of monkeys, over 160 species of birds and orchids.

Another really good day trip from Granada is that to Masaya – of all the things to do in Granada which are right outside the city, this trip is perhaps the most interesting. I actually recommend doing this on a guided tour as it makes the various connections easier in terms of transportation and a good guide can explain the facts of the region. A good trip to Masaya includes a visit to the Fortaleza de Coyotepe, built in 1893 on the Cerro de los Coyotes and where political prisoners were held during the Somoza dictatorship. The day tour usually follows with a visit to the lovely Mercado de Artesanías, a stop in a family run pottery farm in Santo Domingo (my favourite is that of Duilio, who shows the entire process of making pottery and has some beautiful pieces for sale) and then goes to the Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: hike volcano Masaya – photo courtesy of George Kenyon

Volcán Masaya is perhaps the most active volcano in the country, and visiting it is one of the things to do in Nicaragua. It actually is possible to walk along the Santiago crater, although smoke and steam come out of it and the sulfurous gases give a funny smell. Access to some of the view points has actually been closed as rumor has it that a few people jumped in the crater! There are various hiking trails and it is also possible to rent a horse.

Finally, one of the best things to do in Granada is hopping on a bus and go to Laguna de Apoyo. In this crater lake wildlife is very active as the area is strictly protected: the waters of the lake are pristine, and no motor boats are allowed, making it perhaps the best place to swim in the country.

Where to stay in Granada

As the most touristic destination in the country, Granada caters for any budget. It is packed with upper scale hotels and good hostels. The best hotel in town is right on the Calle Calzada, and is the Darío. The position has its advantages, although the fact that it is on the busiest street in town means getting quite a bit of noise. Hotel Colonial is very close to the main square and definitely gets less noise. Of the hostels, my favorite is Las Hamacas – not far from the centre, dorms are quite spacious, if only a bit lacking in amenities, but the place is very airy and safe, the personnel is kind and the prices are unbeatable.

Where to eat in Granada

There are many restaurants and budget eateries in Granada. The ones on the Calzada are the most expensive ones. Tercer Ojo is in a very trendy location: it comes highly recommended on trip advisor, food is truly delicious, although definitely not traditional. I also really like Café de las Sonrisas, which is run by a nonprofit organisation and where all the staff is hearing impaired. There also is a lovely hammock shop right next door, where all the profits go to the organisation in favour of disabled children. Finally, I really like the Garden Café: great salads, sandwiches and delicious smoothies are served in a beautiful patio, and there also is a book exchange which to me is always a bonus!

Services

There are many companies that run tours of Granada and its surroundings. I have worked several times with ORO and I really enjoyed Rudy as a guide. He speaks really good English, keeps an excellent pace and knows a lot of interesting facts.

León

Visiting León is one of the things to do in Nicaragua, perhaps the best. There is an all Nicaraguan debate that tourists are often asked to join, in which one has to express a preference for either León or Granada. I do like Granada, but I am a León kind of girl: I am madly in love with it. I was meant to spend a few days there and ended up staying for over 3 weeks.

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Leon

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Leon

At little over one hour by bus from Managua, León is the most intensely political city of the country. It buzzes with energy, it is lively, full of young people (it is a university city and in fact Nicaragua’s first university was founded here in 1912), packed with interesting museums and murales, and gorgeous in a decadent kind of way. León served as the capital of Nicaragua during colonial times.

León is the hottest city in the country, and I don’t just mean politically. Temperatures stay well over 30° C throughout the year, so much so that when at around 6:00 pm the sun goes down I can still feel the heat coming off the walls. No wonder the day start so early here: an air raid alarm rings several times a day, the first one at 7 am, which is when the city comes to full life.

The Cathedral of León is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua. This is the largest cathedral in Central America, and it is said that the church was actually meant to be built in Lima, Peru. It is a massive building, that offers repair from the heat. The tomb of poet Ruben Darío is here. A fun thing to do inside the cathedral is trying to find the hidden eyes, which are triangles (representing trinity) containing an eye inside and which are well hidden with the rest of the artwork. In my many visits, I have only been able to spot 3 but there are 7, apparently. The roof of the cathedral has been recently restored and it can be visited for a small fee. The view from up there is spectacular, but I recommend to wear socks and sunglasses: everything has been painted white and visitors are asked to take their shoes off, and the white paint reflects the light in a blinding way.

Leon cathedral is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua

Leon cathedral is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua

Among other churches to visit in León there is the Iglesia de la Recolección, which has a beautiful yellow baroque facade.

Some of the best Nicaragua tourist attractions are in León. I never tire of visiting the Museo de Arte Fundación Ortiz-Guardián, perhaps the best museum of contemporary art in Central America. There are pieces of famous Cuban, Peruvian and other Latin American artists; there are several Picassos, Rubens, Chagalls, Boteros and Diego Riveras. The museum is located in two beautiful colonial buildings facing each other, with lovely patios and fountains. I can get lost in there for hours. The bonus? It is open even on Sundays.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit amazing museums

Right on the opposite side of the main square from the cathedral, the Museo de la Revolución is a great one, and visiting it is one of the things to do in Nicaragua. I got goosebumps my first time there. The museum is entirely run by veterans of the revolution, who for a small offer guide visitors through the exhibit, although they only speak Spanish. For each print, picture and document they have a story to tell, and they often proudly show the scars they got during battles. The building used to be the telecommunication company headquarters that the revolucion forces conquered in battle. It is run down yet charming and it is possible to get to the roof for a great view of León and its surroundings.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit the Museo de la Revolucion, Leon

Another interesting museum is the Museo de Leyendas y Tradiciones. I find this seemingly tacky museum very entertaining and it explains a lot about the culture of Nicaragua. It is located in what is known as La XXI (the 21st Garrison), a former prison, and along with the life size figures of people from Leónese history, there also are murals which depict the methods of torture used by the Guardia Nacional on the prisoners.

Barrio Subtiava is a lovely neighbourhood, around 12 blocks from the city centre, pleasant to walk around and very pretty. There is a market too, and this is where the buses to the nearest beaches leave from.

Day trips from León

Nicaragua is the land of lakes and volcanoes, so one of the best things to do in Nicaragua is going on a volcano hike. I opted for Volcán Cerro Negro, where I went on a guided afternoon hike that offered incredible views of the surroundings, a great sunset and where I could also try volcano boarding. The hike itself would not be hard, were it not for the incessant wind and for the fact that those wanting to try volcano boarding have to carry the wooden sled all the way to the top. I have heard all sorts of horror stories from people who tried it – some fell and got injured, some went down too fast. In my case, it was the opposite: I am so light that I could not really slide down fast enough. But all the same, I got covered in dust!

Things to do in Nicaragua

Hiking a volcano is one of the things to do in Nicaragua – photo courtesy of Diana Facile

León Vieja can be visited on a half day trip from León. It takes about one hour to get there on public transportation. The ruins of the old capital lie at the foot of Volcán Momotombo. The city was founded in 1524 and abandoned a century later after being destroyed by a series of earthquakes. The site isn’t certainly the most amazing one I have seen, but the place is quiet and breezy, a guide is included in the entry fee making the visit more interesting and I think it overall is worth the effort of going.

things to do in Nicaragua

Leon Vieja is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua – photo courtesy of Diana Facile

Some of the best Nicaragua beaches are near León. At about 30 minutes by bus it is possible to reach Poneloya and Las Peñitas. One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is catching an amazing sunset on the Pacific Ocean and these beaches are just perfect for that. I really enjoy toasting under the sun, swimming a bit and looking at people catching the waves. The beach is long and sandy, and very clean too. There are various local restaurants. It just is perfect to relax. The Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado is a also a lovely place to visit, especially for bird watchers. Depending on the season, turtles lay their eggs on the beach so it may be possible to participate in a tour to observe them.

Nicaragua beaches

Nicaragua beaches: Poneloya

From León it is also possible to visit the Flor de Caña distillery: this is where the most well known rum in the country is made and visiting it is one of the things to do in Nicaragua for rum lovers, as they also offer samples!

Where to stay in León

There is an entire street in town that is packed with hostels and backpackers bars. I decided to stay away from it, as I prefer to stay in quiet places. I found Posada La Gordita, in Del Salman, about 1 block away from the recently opened store La Colonia, a great place and a very good budget option. Rooms are plain and simple, the place is kept spotless and very safe, and the host, Monica, is welcoming and kind.

Hotel El Convento, on the other hand, is the most expensive one in town. The spacious rooms are lined around a gorgeous garden. The hotel is actually located in what really used to be a convent, so there is much of a museum feeling to it.

Where to eat in León

My favourite place in town is Asados Pelibuey, a comedor that is a favourite of the locals. It serves Nicaraguan staples in a friendly and relaxed environment. The average price of a full meal is an unbeatable $3 USD! On the more expensive side there is Al Carbón. The house specialty is meat. The food is good, but service is so so, especially with larger groups.

Managua

Most people who visit Nicaragua skip the capital Managua altogether. I say that visiting Managua is one of the things to do in Nicaragua. Sure, I may not want to spend a week there, but I think that it is worth going for at least half a day, maybe making a stop when going from Granada to León.

The centre of town is lined with some huge yellow metal trees, following a project of Nicaragua first lady. There are 100 of these trees in Managua. They are an adaptation of a famous drawing of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Each tree has costed $20000 USD, certainly causing concern in a country plagued by poverty. Yet, they are interesting to see.

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Managua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Managua

Plaza de la Revolución, not far from Lake Managua, is a huge square where the Sandinista commander Carlos Fonseca tomb is located. This is also where the old cathedral is – it is now close to public, as it was shattered by the 1972 earthquake that destroyed much of the city (where in fact there are no buildings which are over two storeys high). The clock on the tower has stopped at the exact time of the earthquake. The Palacio de la Cultura is right next to the old cathedral, and exhibits lots of artifacts from the pre-colonial times.

One of the landmarks of Managua and among the interesting places to visit in Nicaragua is the Parque Historico Nacional Loma de Tiscapa. Right on top of the hill there is a huge statue of the national hero Sandino. The view from the Loma de Tiscapa is stunning.

Managua is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua

Managua is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua

Managua is one of the places to visit in Nicaragua

The view of the old cathedral of Managua, one of the places to visit in Nicaragua – photo courtesy of George Kenyon

Huellas de Acahualinca is a small archeological site in Managua, and perhaps its most interesting attraction. So including a visit during the trip is one of the things to do in Nicaragua. These ancient footprints used to be buried under compacted volcanic material and the tracks have been discovered by some workers in 1874. There are 10 sets of prints, all dated back to around 6000 years ago, and all pace towards the lake – showing that people were leaving the area following a volcanic eruption. It is thought there are many more prints still to be found. The site is closed on Sundays.

The Nueva Catedral is not exactly the most beautiful church I have ever seen, and while one may not include a visit among the things to do in Nicaragua, I admit I kind of like it. It is a very big building, colourful inside and very airy thanks to the many windows and 63 domes that supposedly provide structural support in case of earthquakes.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit the brand new cathedral of Managua

Isla de Ometepe

There is no way one can visit Nicaragua without planning to go to Isla the Ometepe. Visiting this impressive island is among the things to do in Nicaragua. Located in Lake Nicaragua it can be reached by ferry from Granada, San Jorge (near Rivas) and San Carlos (on the border with Costa Rica).

Ometepe is an 8 shaped island which hosts two active volcanoes (Concepción and Maderas). Vegetation is lush, there are nice small beaches, a lagoon, archeological sites, and incredible wildlife. And most of all, it just is so relaxing. The two biggest settlements in the island are Altagracia and Moyogalpa, both located at the bottom of Volcán Concepción. They are more geared to tourism than the rest of the villages. However, I think the best part of the island is that around Volcán Maderas.

Things to do in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Isla de Ometepe

Balgüe is perhaps the smallest village on the island, yet the most charming, no more than a few houses along the main road, no internet access, no ATM and only a few local shops. Life is slow paced, people are welcoming.

One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is going on a volcano hike, and Isla de Ometepe is perfect for that! Both volcanoes can be hiked. Maderas is less challenging, but still a tough 8 hours hike due to the muddy terrain and the thick vegetation of the cloud forest. It is always recommended to get a guide. Hiking trips usually leave from Finca Magdalena, in Balgüe. Volcán Concepción is even harder to hike (10 to 12 hours) on trails that start either in Altagracia or Moyagalpa. I also hiked to the 35 meters high waterfall of San Ramón, leaving on a bike from Balgüe.

Where to stay and where to eat in Ometepe

On my last visit of Ometepe, I stayed in Balgüe, at Finca Magdalena. This is off the main road, at about 1.5 km which I had to hike, backpack and all, because no cars or buses get there. It is a good idea to carry a torch as it is pitch dark at night. The Finca is a huge wooden hut with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. All around there are coffee plantations and it is possible to take a guided tour of them. The accommodation is very basic, but the location makes it perfect. Just chilling in one of the hammocks on the porch I was able to spot monkeys, and the view of the volcanoes is really nice. Meals are available too.

A better place to stay in Balgüe is Totoco Ecolodge, which has spectacular views and a fantastic swimming pool to hang out and relax.

The best restaurant in the area is Café Campestre. The English owner is a really great host, who has brought some variety in what is otherwise available on the island. I was delighted to find falafel and curry dishes there.

San Juan del Sur and the best Nicaragua beaches

As far as Nicaragua beaches, San Juan del Sur is hard to beat. What used to be a fishing village has developed into a bigger place that is well geared to tourism, with lots of accommodations and restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. San Juan del Sur is a favourite of surfers and backpackers and is also a great place to catch a wonderful Pacific sunset – definitely one of the things to do in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua beaches

Unmissable: Nicaragua beaches near San Juan del Sur – photo courtesy of Alessandro Abis

Tola beaches are among the best Nicaragua beaches, and they retain that feeling of a lost paradise. Playa Maderas, which is North of San Juan del Sur, is one of the most stunning Nicaragua beaches. It is a lovely sandy beach perfect for sunbathing and has rocky expanses that offer great tide pooling.

Nicaragua beaches

Nicaragua beaches are stunning – photo courtesy of Alessandro Abis

South of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua beaches can’t really get much better than Playa El Coco, a great stretch of beautiful sand and cliffs.

One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is experiencing its great wildlife. About 20 km south of San Juan del Sur the wildlife refuge Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Flor is where turtles lay their eggs – between 9 pm and 2 am, between July and January. It can be visited on a guided tour leaving from San Juan del Sur.

One of the best places to stay in San Juan del Sur is the Rancho Chilamate Horse Ranch. The surroundings are just amazing!

Corn Islands

Caribbean paradise couldn’t get much better than this. Visiting the Corn Islands is one of the things to do in Nicaragua. The very best of Nicaragua beaches is actually 70 km away from the east coast, on two small islands that have little bays, coves and underwater caves. Great Corn is the biggest of the two and is populated by Creoles living in colorful wooden houses. Little Corn is tiny, only 500 people live on this small island where there are no cars and which is a real jewel for diving enthusiasts.

Places to visit in Nicaragua

Things to do in Nicaragua: visit Corn Island – photo courtesy of Brian Johnson and Dane Kantner

Life is slow in the Corn Islands: these are the places to visit in Nicaragua to relax, snorkel, dive (including with dolphins!), lay at the beach, eat some amazing seafood and feel in paradise. Most people tend to opt for the quieter Little Corn but during the high season it may well be the case that there are more tourists than locals. There are some guesthouses, hotels and bungalows on the island – my favorite is Yemaya Island Hideway & Spa – and restaurants (the most popular one is Habana Libre) offer great fresh seafood and fish as well as some of the Nicaraguan staples. Tranquilo café has great burgers!

In order to get to Great Corn Island, it is possible to catch a flight from Managua via Bluefields or a boat from Bluefields. Another boat (locally called panga) is then needed to get from Great Corn to Little Corn: it may get really rough on the way there, and often passengers get soaking wet so it is a good precaution to carry garbage bags to cover the luggage.

Río San Juan

The river that signals the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica runs for almost 200 km from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean sea. Río San Juan has often been a cause of tension between the two countries. Visiting Río San Juan is one of the things to do in Nicaragua for anybody that loves nature, wildlife (including caymans) and bird watching.

Places to visit in Nicaragua: Rio San Juan - photo courtesy of Chiara

Places to visit in Nicaragua: Rio San Juan – photo courtesy of Chiara

The best starting point to visit Río San Juan is Boca de Sábalos, a town set at the confluence between Río San Juan and Río Sábalos, where there are various accommodation options. This can be reached by boat from San Carlos, on Lake Nicaragua. The duration of the trip depends on the kind of boat available.

From Boca de Sábalos it is possible to visit the Reserva Biológica Río Indio-Maíz, one of the most impressive rainforests in Central America. It is also possible to reach El Castillo, a fortress built by the Spaniards in 1675 to stop the pirates going to Granada. The reserve is hardly penetrable until the village of San Juan del Norte, a small town that is surrounded by lagoons, dense rainforest and some great Nicaragua beaches on the Caribbean coast. This is a great starting point to visit the indigenous communities or to explore the ruins of Greytown, a British outpost across the bay that has been abandoned and has been swallowed by the jungle. Definitely one of the places to visit in Nicaragua.

Have you ever been to Nicaragua? What did you like the most about it? Let us know in the comments below.

If you need assistance in creating a personalised itinerary in Nicaragua, you can contact me in private through my contact form.


 

 

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74 Comments

  • Emma Hart
    24 June 2015 at 21:51

    What an interesting article! I’m particularly fascinated by the chicken buses! How do you know how long it takes to get to somewhere? It seems like a fairly laid back lifestyle to me, which sounds great!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      25 June 2015 at 9:26

      Well, there are rough estimates for the chicken buses, and they are usually right. The thing is, once on board you get to see that if the bus had real stops and did not just stop anytime someone wants to get on or off in the middle of nowhere or right in front of their door, it would be much faster. But the thing is, who cares? It is so much fun, there are so many things to do in Nicaragua, that this is literally an attraction too 🙂

  • Tim
    24 June 2015 at 22:57

    The food, colors, history, and your photos really bring this little country into the fore-front. I have never been but it looks spectacular. And how can you not pine for Corn Island.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      25 June 2015 at 9:27

      So many places to visit in Nicaragua. It just is an incredible country and I can’t wait to go back. I will, for sure. And will most likely end up stuck in Leon again, because I love it there 🙂

  • Debbie
    25 June 2015 at 1:14

    Lovely post! You definitely hit the highlights of Nicaragua. We live on Ometepe Island. Your photos are gorgeous and very representative of our beautiful and diverse adopted country. Thanks again. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    .

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 11:12

      I am jealous! I loved it there. Loved the pace of life, loved the people. I was caught in a thunderstorm on Christmas day in Balgue. I ran to seek refuge and the only thing I could find was actually someone’s home. Everybody was sitting around in the patio, playing guitars and singing to celebrate Christmas. I walked in and just said “Feliz Navidad!” and they welcomed me with a chair and kept doing what they were doing – having a blast! It was amazing. How often do you get to do this? Imagine the same happening in Italy – my family would call the police!! Yes. Ometepe is definitely among Nicaragua tourist attractions

  • Simone
    26 June 2015 at 13:09

    Wow your photos are stunning! I’m wanderlusting bigtime after Nicaragua now 🙂
    Simone

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      26 June 2015 at 13:11

      Not all of them are mine!

  • Ben
    26 June 2015 at 16:23

    We were in Nicaragua a few months ago and to our surprise we really liked hanging out at San Juan Del Sur. The nearby beaches are beautiful and so much less crowded than a similar beach in Costa Rica for example. Besides you can’t beat $7 for lobster or around $10 for a huge plate of seafood rice for two people.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      26 June 2015 at 17:05

      I agree! It just is an incredible country – so many things to do in Nicaragua, some of the best beaches in Central America… volcanoes, lakes, jungle… I love it.

  • Claude
    27 June 2015 at 10:39

    I love what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 11:13

      Hey Claude – it’s only me actually 🙂

  • Jen Seligmann
    27 June 2015 at 10:50

    This is such a great resource and I am definitely bookmarking this for someday. Honestly I have seen so little written about Nicaragua and know so little about it. I’d heard of beautiful beaches and coastline but not that the country has such a rich and interesting history. I’d be especially interested in visiting the archaeological sites as they completely fascinate me how, without modern machinery, they put these places together hundreds of years ago.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 11:19

      There aren’t many archeological sites, but there are many places to visit in Nicaragua that would interest you. I agree, there isn’t much around in terms of blogs and online resources on Nicaragua, not as many as for other places. I went there almost unprepared and not expecting much, and I ended up falling completely in love with it. My favourite country in Central America, for sure!

  • Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers
    27 June 2015 at 11:27

    A very thorough guide as a basis for planning a visit. Leon looks beautiful, love the architecture you show and because hiking is always high on our list of things to do it looks like the area has some excellent spots for that.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 11:32

      Hiking is among the things to do in Nicaragua. Leon is like a second home for me. I just… love it! I have friends there <3

  • Fiona @ London-Unattached
    27 June 2015 at 12:06

    what stunning beaches. I’d love to visit Nicaragua – and I’ll definitely be back to research my trip more through your site.

    xx

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 12:09

      Nicaragua beaches are amazing indeed!

  • TammyOnTheMove
    27 June 2015 at 12:28

    I am dying to go to Nicaragua. All these colourful houses and that beach on Corn Island look awesome. As do the volcanoes. Great summary.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 13:06

      I am dying to go back!!

  • Leah
    27 June 2015 at 17:31

    Such a helpful, informative post! I need a re-do in Nicaragua because I had such terrible luck there, I didn’t fully enjoy my experience or make the most of my time. My visit to Granada was particularly disappointing because I had a nasty case of food poinsoning. Ah, well, one day I’ll return!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      28 June 2015 at 9:44

      That really ruins it, I know. I feel the same about Panama. I think you should go back – there are so many places to visit in Nicaragua that I am sure you can have a great time next time around!

  • Mansoureh
    27 June 2015 at 20:42

    I can’t wait to travel to Nicaragua. It seems so cheap. can’t believe that a meal for $3

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      27 June 2015 at 21:35

      Time to visit Nicaragua then 🙂

  • Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    27 June 2015 at 22:38

    Wow. This is an epic post Claudia! Bookmarking in case I go to Nicaragua anytime soon. 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      28 June 2015 at 9:44

      🙂 yay!

  • Sophie
    28 June 2015 at 3:20

    Great informative post – lots of information for when we all visit! Great photos too – really brings the country to life. I can’t say it’s top of my list but I really should get there at some point. I’ve heard it’s a really friendly country.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      28 June 2015 at 9:45

      Nicaragua never is on anybody’s bucket list. Then, they go and fall in love with it! That’s been the case for me 🙂

  • RaW | Ramble and Wander
    28 June 2015 at 11:05

    Wow! I’m impressed! This could easily have been a complete guide in an e-book format at least! Some lovely photos too! I especially love the one of Leon Cathedral and the one that is right below it!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 June 2015 at 8:34

      Mmmmm. E-book? Now you got me thinking!!

  • Natasha
    28 June 2015 at 13:15

    Thank you for this post. I am heading to Nicaragua in November. I have been to Central America 4 times and I cannot get enough. I am glad that I am finally going to make it there!! Thanks for a detailed post.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 June 2015 at 8:36

      I understand you – it is addictive. You will love it there – so many things to do in Nicaragua that you can easily spend months 🙂

  • Travelwith2ofus
    28 June 2015 at 17:53

    Nicaragua kind of reminds me of Colombia. Even the chicken bus bear resemblance to the Rumba bus in Colombia. This is a really comprehensive article. Great job!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 June 2015 at 8:36

      I don’t know. I have been to both and no, I don’t think they look alike actually. But I love them both 🙂

  • Francesca @onegrloneworld
    29 June 2015 at 6:17

    What a thorough and wanderlust inspiring post!! Thank you for all this information! I will definitely pin it for future reference

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      29 June 2015 at 8:37

      Thank you!!

  • Laura @Travelocafe
    19 July 2015 at 13:19

    What a great guide on Nicaragua! I also have a friend from Nicaragua that appreciated it, too.

  • Gemma Two Scots
    2 August 2015 at 5:59

    Wow this is very extensive. We are going in Feb 2016 so going to bookmark it and use it as a guide for when I can picture our route. Thanks for this post – a lot of hard work has went into it obviously.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 August 2015 at 17:42

      I hope it shows my love for the country!

  • Nicole r
    1 September 2015 at 4:50

    For the best time in Nicaragua which international airport would I want to arrive in? Staying about 7 days there.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 September 2015 at 19:33

      There only is one international airport in Nicaragua – which is Managua. It actually is a small country.

      • Andrew
        13 June 2016 at 10:22

        Hi Clauida!
        Brilliant piece! Such quality information! Thanks so much.
        My girlfriend and I are heading to Nicaragua in July for 10 nights (unfortunately not long enough, after reading your blog!!!!) and we are thinking Leon, Granada & San Juan del Sur, is this too much domestic travel for only a short stay? Would you suggest Leon first, then continue further south? Any advice given will be greatly appreciated! Thanks heaps!

        • Claudia Tavani
          Claudia Tavani
          13 June 2016 at 10:37

          I am so jealous you are going!! 10 days is a good time to get a decent idea of the country. If I were you, though, I’d go to Leon, from which you can reach the beaches of Poneloya and Las Penitas, then to Granada, and finally in Isla de Ometepe. Ometepe is simply a MUST! I mean, if I had to pick between San Juan del Sur and Ometepe, I would go to Ometepe for sure 🙂

  • Mike
    15 October 2015 at 19:22

    Greetings Claudia and thank you for sharing this article. Very nicely done! As more people come to visit Nicaragua, short guides like yours are helpful to folks planning their vacations. I’ve been living here for almost five years now, and I see lots of improvement in infrastructure and a wider arrange of lodging and tour options than ever before. For example, back in the day, the idea that there would be at least one and possibly more real five-star resorts in Nicaragua was sort of far-fetched but now here are even offerings for those looking for luxury travel experiences!

  • Yasmine
    12 November 2015 at 16:29

    Hello Claudia, I would like to ask you some advice. I can only allow myself 10 days in nicaragua, I love hiking, visiting cities, surfing and diving, how would you recommand me to plan my trip ?

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      12 November 2015 at 17:06

      Hello Yasmine,

      thank you for contacting me. 10 days in Nicaragua aren’t many but still sufficient to get an overview. However, most of the diving is on the Caribbean side and with the limited time you have I am not sure you will manage to get there.

      In terms of cities, stick to Leon and Granada. I think 3 days are sufficient in Granada, and on one of those days you can go on an out of town tour going to Masaya and another on the Laguna de Apoyo. Then 3 in Leon and you can use one for Cerro Negro and one for surfing at Las Penitas. And then, if you like hiking, do go to Isla de Ometepe.

      The way you structure the itinerary depends on where you land/how you arrive in the country!

      Let me know if you have more questions,

      Best,

      Claudia

  • Greg
    24 November 2015 at 18:01

    Hey Claudia,
    You touched on the English a bit, but I’m wondering, with my very limited Espanol, are there certain areas i should avoid? Or will it be tough to get around the country?

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      24 November 2015 at 18:07

      You will be absolutely fine! Anybody working in the tourism industry speaks a bit of English and if they don’t… it is time to practice your Spanish!

  • Ernest
    2 January 2016 at 5:33

    This was very informatiive Claudia! Thank you so much. I am going to Nicaragua for 6 days very soon. Am I being too ambitious by wanting to visit Leon for 2 days, Granada for 2 days, and being in San Juan del Sur for Saturday and Sunday? According to your article it sounds like I should skip San Juan del Sur all together and head to Isla de Ometepe. Ahhh choices!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 January 2016 at 10:55

      I don’t blame you for wanting to visit so much! But if I were you, with only 6 days available, I would stick to Granada (and surroundings) and Leon (and surroundings). Otherwise, you would end up spending too much time moving from one place to the other! Have fun and let me know how you get along ok? 🙂

      • Ernest
        5 January 2016 at 20:29

        I definitely will update you! Thank your for the advice.

  • Armand
    2 January 2016 at 7:48

    We are planning to retire to Nicaragua this year, why is permanent residents so difficult to obtain thank you Armand veilleux.?

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 January 2016 at 10:57

      I am not sure what your question is, Armand. I am not from Nicaragua. I have just visited several times. You may want to consider reading some other blogs of expats who may be able to provide the information you need 🙂 Let me know how you get along!

  • Travelsito
    6 January 2016 at 9:53

    Thanks Claudia for this post. I must put Nicaragua on my bucket list of future travel destinations.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      6 January 2016 at 10:00

      Put it on the top of your list, it is unmissable!! 🙂

  • Lorena Arce
    21 January 2016 at 22:34

    I LOVED this article!! You did an excellent and thorough job discussing Nicaragua. I am glad you feel in love and speak so highly of my beautiful Nica! I wish you much success and hope to one day be able to travel and blog as well and as much as you!! For now, I’m just starting out 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      22 January 2016 at 10:57

      I could not do otherwise. I love Nicaragua. I can’t wait to go back and explore more!

  • susan
    27 January 2016 at 20:33

    The obsession you have with Nicaragua I have with Colombia, but Nicaragua is next on my list! So I will bookmark this article for future plans 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      28 January 2016 at 10:03

      Colombia is a great country to be obsessed with!! Let me know what you think of Nicaragua when you visit 🙂

  • Erika
    18 February 2016 at 22:40

    I stumbled across your site and love this posting. My hubby and I went for our first trip to Nicaragua 2 years ago while celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and absolutely fell in love with Leon. We’ll be heading back because we want to do Granada and the Caribbean side. You’ve done a really nice job here of being descriptive, helpful and exciting enough to make me want to move up my trip (plan to go back in 2017). Well done.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      19 February 2016 at 11:01

      Make me jealous, first thing in the morning – will you? I was hoping I’d be able to go again this year, but it looks like I have to postpone a bit 🙁

  • Adam
    23 February 2016 at 7:01

    Hi Claudia,
    I am looking to go to Nicaragua in early May for my honeymoon – you mention best timeto go is November through April – hoping it will still be ok – any intel you have would be greatly appreciated?

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      23 February 2016 at 18:52

      Hey Adam! Thanks for your comment. At that time of year the weather in Nicaragua is hot, very hot. But… that is always! You may get some showers, but that is still not the peak of the rain season which usually is around September. It should be ok to travel, I think!

  • Fuji
    23 February 2016 at 18:28

    Hi Claudia! Thank you so much for your amazing and detailed write up. I’m planning to go visit Nicaragua in March, though I have only 10 days to do so. I see that you recommend sticking around Leon and Granada for short trips and although I love this kind of cities (I’m a latin american myself), I’m looking to get a little lost in nature mostly. I’m an amateur photographer looking to get some good shots of this beautiful country and it’s volcanos and nature. Are there any particular places you can recommend to me? Given my limited amount of time I’ll probably rent a car so I can move around faster and with more freedom, so if you have any favorite spots even if they are far from Granada I’d love to hear about them! Also, what do you think about camping? I’d be prepared for heat and mosquitoes but besides that do you think it is feasible/safe/convenient ?
    Thank you so much!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      23 February 2016 at 18:54

      If you love nature, you should not miss Isla de Ometepe. Two volcanoes on one island, lots of rain forest, wildlife, a lagoon… can’t get better than that! Re. camping: I haven’t done it myself. I think some hostels there do rent some places where you can pitch a tent. I wouldn’t go about pitching randomly, and not just in Nicaragua: anywhere in the world! Jealous that you are going!!

  • Jenny
    9 May 2016 at 4:02

    Hello,
    I appreciate your blog, as I am hoping to be in Nicaragua for 3 weeks this July. I need a little help, though. I would like to travel from the Pacific to Caribbean coast and stop along the way, but can’t seem to find accommodations. I usually use AirBNB, but they only list on the Pacific or Caribbean side, but nothing in between. Are there really no hostels, homes, rentals in the interior of Nicaragua? Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      9 May 2016 at 8:55

      Hi Jenny, I am not sure where you are going to stop so I can’t tell for sure. But there normally are lots of places where travelers can stay. May not be an apartment, but surely a hostel! Why don’t you tell me where you are going and we can see what’s available?

  • Kate
    18 May 2016 at 17:10

    How Claudia, I am going to Managua on a business trip next week for 5 days. I am a bit concerned about Zika virus. Have you seen many mosquitos in Nicaragua? We mostly will be in the city, but I know that there will be at least one trip to a rural area and I am quite worried.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      18 May 2016 at 18:11

      Hi Kate, I am not a doctor so I can’t comment on technical issues. My friend Mike Huxley at Bemused Backpacker is a nurse specialized in travel medicine (and a great blogger) and he can comment on the specific issue in a more appropriate and professional way. My experience is that there aren’t lots of mosquitos in Nicaragua. I have only seen a few in Granada. I have traveled through malaria areas and I generally find that wearing long, light pants, closed shoes and even a long sleeves light t-shirt is a good way to keep mosquitoes away. And I spray whatever skin is exposed with DEET or a good mosquito repellent. I know that it is possible to get clothes treated so that they keep mosquitos away, even if the clothes get washed. You may want to look into that?

  • Gracy
    4 August 2016 at 5:06

    Hi Claudia,

    Thank you very much for the great information, what a wonderful blog. I am going to Nicaragua in November with my family (my parents and my 2 kids: 4 years old and 18 months). We will be there for 10 days and spending 5 nights in SJDS at pelican eyes and then 2 nights at Morgan’s rock. We have 3 nights left and I would love to go to Ometepe but I was wondering if that would be too much travelling for 2 nights? and then we would head to Managua for our last night to be close to the airport for an early flight. Or, we could either go to Leon or Granada for 3 nights and leave directly from there to go to the airport. Any advice on the last part of our trip ? Thank you so much !

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      4 August 2016 at 8:28

      That’s a tough call I would say! Ometepe is GORGEOUS, but so are Leon and Granada! I think I would perhaps just go to Granada and explore the city (which is darling) and the surroundings and book a taxi or a shuttle to take me back to the airport early in the morning and thus avoid sleeping in Managua. It all really depends on what you guys like doing though. Hope this helps!

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