Travel around Nicaragua and be surprised about this country with its colonial history, vibrant nature and friendly people. You will visit colonial gems such as León and Granada, but also stroll around local markets and enjoy a refreshing beer at a local bar.
From colonial cities, where you can learn more about the often turbulent history of Nicaragua, you drive down to small villages near the beach, just to relax. After that, you drive to the mountains to hike and swim in mountain lakes. Nicaragua is also known for its many volcanoes, of which the volcano island Ometepe is probably the best known. You will also stay here and you can, for example, explore this special island by bike.
Still doubting to book your holidays to Nicaragua? We promise this is the perfect travel destination. One where culture and nature meet and you can still find unspoiled places to visit.
The city of León has a turbulent history due to natural disasters (destruction by a volcanic eruption in the 17th century). In addition, the town was also the political and intellectual center of the country for a long time after Spanish colonial rule ended.
History has left its mark in the city centre, which is nice to explore on foot. If you’re done with the past, step into the present and glide down on your sandboard from the Cerro Negro volcano! Are you more looking to relax? Visit the hot mud pools at the village of San Jacinto.
Some 20 minutes from the city of León you will find the coastal village of Las Peñitas. This is a well-loved beach destination, and popular by Nicaraguans and foreigners alike, because of its 2 km long beautiful beach. Here you can relax and recover from the heat in León.
Las Peñitas is a lively village with various nice hotels, restaurants and bars. You can take surf lessons or rent a surf board, or just take a dip in the waves. If you fancy a longer walk, you can walk all the way down to the adjacent beach of Poneloya.
A visit to the Isla Juan Venado reserve is a must-do. You will sail through the mangroves by boat where you can spot different species of birds. Furthermore, you can visit a turtle project. Depending on the season, you could even see turtles nesting on the beach.
When the Cuban Revolution broke out in 1959, many Cubans fled their country. Cigar makers ended up in Estelí, attracted by its perfect climate for tobacco production.
Nowadays the town is one of the best-known production locations for cigars in the world. That’s why a visit to a local factory, even if you don’t smoke cigars yourself, is a great tour.
Estelí also has an artistic soul, which you quickly discover from the many murals in the center of the city. Besides, the town loves sports. Nicaragua’s national sport is baseball and Estelí has one of the best teams in the country. If you can score a ticket for a match, a great afternoon is guaranteed!
Granada is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Central America. The rich history of the city is not only reflected in the beautiful churches, but also in the tiled floors of the courtyards and the beautiful colored walls of the houses in the city center. Granada (alternating with Leon) has been the political and cultural center of the country for a long time and well-known Nicaraguan poets and writers were born here.
Although the city also attracts many tourists, you can stroll through the streets at your leisure and drink a delicious iced coffee in the Parque Central and let all the crowds pass you by. Don’t forget to climb the tower of the Iglesia La Merced and if you want to escape from the bustle of the city, take a boat or kayak tour along Las Isletas, the small, often uninhabited islands off the coast of Granada in the immense Lake Nicaragua.
This island in the Lake of Nicaragua is formed by two large volcanoes; La Concepcion and Madeira. Ometepe, therefore, means two (ome) mountains (tepe).
The island has a turbulent history, its first inhabitants were Nahua Indians from Mexico, followed by the Niquirano Indians who built an important settlement. The impressive remains can still be admired. Nowhere else in Nicaragua people celebrate so many religious and cultural festivals.
Take a tour of the island with a guide, visit the museum, the petroglyphs and the beach of Santo Domingo. Another must-visit is the Magdalena farm, a beautiful old farm that produces delicious organic coffee.
La Laguna de Apoyo is a beautiful crater lake about 10 km from Granada and Masaya. Apoyo is a dormant volcano and the Laguna is a flooded crater lake with the cleanest water in Nicaragua.
The lake is a very relaxing and mystical place surrounded by lush jungle. You can spot birds, howler monkeys and squirrels. The water is wonderfully refreshing, where you can swim, kayak or float in it on an inflatable tire.
Your travels around Nicaragua end here. On the day of departure, a taxi will pick you up to take you to the airport in Managua.
We explored Ometepe by car with driver, a very nice guy who showed us the local highlights. He was very proud of the old Dutch ferry “De Brakzand” which served as ferry to the island of Schiermonnikoog in the Netherlands. Together with him we visited the boat and were allowed to look around.
In Moyagalpa that evening a rodeo was planned. The driver brought us here in the afternoon. We had a great evening and much fun with the locals! After dinner we couldn’t find a taxi and returned to our hotel in the back of a pick-up truck…all in all a great experience!
We really liked our hotel in Granada! The volcano trip to Masaya is also really great, we saw lava there and at sunset this was an impressive sight.
For me, the trek to Miraflor from Esteli was the highlight of my trip to Nicaragua! The two families we stayed with were so incredibly sweet and cheerful. Although they worked hard and got up very early every day, ‘stress’ did not exist for them. Using my best Spanish I had some nice conversations with them and helped out in the kitchen, doing dishes as well. Be prepared for really basic accommodations during this trek, but the natural surroundings and the people are absolutely great. To me, it was also a reality-check on realizing again what a luxurious life I lead back home.
In San Juan (Playa Maderas) we booked our first surf lessons. We were not very talented, but had a lot of fun! Our teacher spoke English and tried to teach us a bit of Spanish (besides the surfing!). After all our efforts, our local Toña beers tasted even better!
Make sure you leave some room in your suitcase to take back a few souvenirs from Nicaragua. Along your trip, you will certainly be tempted to buy a beautiful Nicaraguan hammock! They are very colourful and comfortable and a nice addition to your terrace or balcony.
Cafe de Las Sonrisas sells gorgeous items. What makes this place special is that all the staff are deaf or hard of hearing. The owner, Tio Antonio, wants to show other entrepreneurs that you shouldn’t be afraid to work with people with disabilities. He also wants to empower his own employees and already built a successful business with them. Great mission, beautiful hammocks!Want to know more or book this trip?