Smoking Volcán Concepción and her almost perfect cinder cone rise from silvery, pure Lago de Nicaragua to pierce the cloudy sky. 'Land of Lakes and Volcanoes' indeed, you think, as the rolling waves of Cocibolca (an ancient indigenous name for this 'Sweet Sea') rock your suddenly tiny ferry into unspeakable admiration. For these symbols of the nation - wind over water, fire from the earth - convey the elemental significance of Nicaragua's most powerful passions, poetry (don't get them started, unless you want to) and revolution.
If you climb Concepción you'll look out over gorgeous colonial Granada and her hundreds of tiny tropical isletas (islets), across the slender isthmus pockmarked with crater lakes to where the Pacific breaks hollow on sandy cove beaches. Beyond, red-and-black Volcán Momotombo towers above Lago de Managua - its counterpoint is Sandino's massive iron silhouette, conscience of the nation and solemn defining feature of the Managua skyline. Proud León also beckons with its churches and museums, while the cloud forests, frothing waterfalls and incredible coffee of cool, green Northern Nicaragua may tempt you upwards. Here, in the mountains and lakes, Central America's mightiest rivers begin their journey across the autonomous, indigenous-owned rolling hills of the Caribbean Coast, to the sea.
For visitors of a certain age, just the name Nicaragua - taken from a tribal chief of such wisdom and power that he may never fade from this nation's collective memory - evokes grainy footage of camouflage-clad guerrillas, punctuated by gunfire and a 1980s soundtrack. Despite having ended more than 15 years ago, leaving Nicaragua one of the safest countries in the Americas, the Contra War is too often our collective memory of the land of Nicarao.
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Island-hopping down Central America’s Caribbean coast
You don't always need suitcases full of cash to enjoy the Caribbean Sea – cradled in its western corner lie a number of idyllic island groups that are surprisingly easy on the pocket. San Blas Islands, Panama San Blas, Kuna Yala, Panama by Ben Kucinski. Creative Commons Attribution Licence...
Best places to stay in Nicaragua
Nicaragua travel guide
Traveling in Nicaragua is an authentic, nonstop adventure set among majestic volcanoes, enchanting colonial towns, invigorating cloud forests and glorious beaches.
Last-minute holiday getaways from the US
What? You don't know where you're going yet? Well, consider this: travel is bouncing back, but so are prices. USA Today reports that the average domestic airfare in the US is up 13% (United's fare alone are up 25% from 2009!), and the average price of gas jumped 10 cents over the weekend...
San Juan Del Sur
This is the hub for exploration of Nicaragua's toned-and-tanned southern Pacific beaches. And while the once sleepy fishing village doesn't have an amazing beach – you need to head either 30 minutes north or south for that – it does have the best restaurants and nightlife around.
Where to find secluded surf on Nicaragua’s southern coast
Inhaling the salty air, your body pleasantly fatigued from a morning surf, you gawk at the breathtaking, crescent-shaped cove and slouch deeper into your hammock...for surfers, Nicaragua has it all...
Central America on a shoestring travel guide
From clear, turquoise seas to magnificent Maya ruins, lush cloud forests, bustling markets and coffee farms, Central America can be as chilled out or as thrilling as you wish.
Intensely political, buzzing with energy and, at times, drop-dead gorgeous (in a crumbling, colonial kind of way), León is what Managua should be – a city of awe-inspiring churches, fabulous art collections, stunning streetscapes, cosmopolitan eateries, fiery intellectualism, and all-week, walk-everywhere, happening nightlife.
From the crystal-blue ocean teeming with marine life to tropical rainforests alive with jungle melodies, take the road less travelled on this trip through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica with other travellers your own age.
Meet the beat of Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast
Looking for a Caribbean getaway where you can escape the daily grind as well as the crowds? Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast is wild, untouched and thumping to a musical beat...
Nicknamed 'the Great Sultan, ' in honor of its Moorish namesake across the Atlantic, Granada was founded in 1524 by Francisco Fernández de Córdoba, and is the oldest city in the New World.