Welcome to Nicaragua


Beaches

Whether it's dipping your toes into the crystalline Caribbean or paddling out to the crashing waves of the pounding Pacific, Nicaragua's beaches always deliver the goods. The big barrels of the Pacific coast are revered in surfing circles while the clear waters of the Corn Islands are superb for snorkeling. More sedentary beach bums can choose between accessible slices of sand lined with fine restaurants and happening bars or natural affairs backed by a wall of rainforest. Even the best beaches in the country are refreshingly free of development, so you can experience them just as nature intended.

Outdoor Adventures

Looking for the ultimate rush? Nicaragua's diverse geography, intense energy and anything-goes attitude is perfect for exhilarating outdoor adventures. Get ready to check lots of new experiences off your list including surfing down an active volcano, diving into underwater caves, canoeing through alligator-infested wetlands, swimming across sea channels between tiny white-sand islands and landing a 90-plus-kg tarpon beneath a Spanish fortress in the middle of the jungle. Nicaragua's great outdoors are relatively untamed – at many key attractions, there are no signs and few crowds – making this so-called 'land of lakes and volcanoes' a fantastic place for an independent adventure.

Colonial Architecture

Nicaragua's colonial architecture comes in two distinct flavors. The elegant streetscapes of Granada, Nicaragua's best-preserved colonial town, have been entrancing travelers for centuries with their architectural grace. The town boasts a meticulously restored cathedral, well-groomed plaza and perfectly maintained mansions that shelter lush internal courtyards. Far less polished, working-class León offers a different colonial experience where crumbling 300-year-old houses and churches are interspersed with revolutionary murals, and architectural masterpieces house corner stores. It's a vibrant city that displays its pride in its heritage without feeling like a museum.

Getting Off the Beaten Track

Few destinations have such beauty as Nicaragua, yet remain undeveloped. Before you know it, you've dropped off the tourist trail and into a world of majestic mountains, cooperative farms, wetlands thronged with wildlife and empty jungle-clad beaches. Rent a 4WD vehicle, if you're up for it – it's the best way to access some of the less-traveled corners of the country, or hop abroad an east-coast-bound boat – and forge onward to discover remote indigenous communities, overgrown pre-Columbian ruins and untouched rainforests. No matter how far you go, you'll always find friendly locals willing to share their culture with strangers.


Top experiences in Nicaragua

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Travel guides

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Nicaragua activities

$172 Cultural & Theme Tours

Nicaragua: Catarina, Masaya Volcano, Granada from Guanacaste

After pickup from your hotel in Guanacaste, enjoy a typical Costa Rican breakfast at Rest Toro Negro (or similar) in Liberia, located in the northwest region of the country. Then, re-board your coach to cross the border into Nicaragua.First, stop at Catarina viewpoint, one of the highest hills surrounding the Apoyo Lagoon. Look out across the water to adjacent Lake Nicaragua and admire Mombacho Volcano, which borders the lake.Next, head to the Catarina Craft Market. It’s an interesting place to search for souvenirs, including textile and ceramic handicrafts along with goods made of leather and wood.Continue to Granada, established in 1524, and hop inside a volanta for a 45-minute horse-drawn carriage ride. Learn about the city’s colonial history and architecture as you pass the colorful homes and squares along the palm-lined streets. Pass attractions such as Parque Central, a central park popular with local residents, and admire the 12 stained-glass windows of Granada Cathedral, housed within its borders. Next, enjoy a leisurely a la carte lunch at Rest El Mariscazo (or similar) before heading to Masaya Volcano National Park, Nicaragua's first and largest National Park. You will be able to see the active volcano and the sulfuric smoke fumes spewing from its main crater, Santiago. You will have a chance to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful views of the whole area.Your tour ends with transport back to your hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

$90 Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trip to Granada, Masaya and Catarina from Managua

Although the city was overwhelmed by pirates, destroyed during the civil wars and set afire by American filibuster William Walker in 1856, Granada remains today one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua. You can visit interesting places and appreciate the beautiful architecture of the city. We will enjoy a traditional lunch (included) before finishing our trip with a boat trip to the beautiful islands of Lake Nicaragua and at the end we will visit and way back to Managua we will visit the Catarina Viewpoint that offers impressive views of the Apoyo Lagoon and its surroundings, and a place to take panoramic photos without forgetting that you can find the best crafts in the neighboring town of San Juan de Oriente.

$55 Tours & Sightseeing

Half-Day Sightseeing Tour of San Juan del Sur

Your half-day tour starts in the morning just yards from the San Juan del Sur port, where you will meet your guide and learn a little about the history of this colorful beach town. See a hotel that used to be the beach house of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, and then travel a short distance by air-conditioned minivan to a local church, where you'll hear about the revolution that overthrew Somoza in 1979. Enter the church for a look around before heading up to the statue of Cristo de la Misericordia, overlooking the bay, and listen to a story about a local man who made a deal with God. This part of the tour requires a reasonable level of fitness, as you'll climb nearly 100 stairs. The tour will spend 45-minutes here, so there's no rush, and bottled water is provided. Next, move out of town to Las Nubes Adventure Park, where you will take a 15-minute, 1.5-mile (2.5-km) ATV (all-terrain vehicle) ride up through the forest, stopping on the way to look for sloths and birds of prey. Once you reach the top of the hill, you have a choice of views and activities: on one side, you can admire a beautiful view of the Pacific, and on the other, take in an even more spectacular view of Lake Nicaragua and the island of Ometepe with its twin volcanoes. Spend about an hour here, during which you can relax with a cold drink, maybe try some Nicaraguan rum or beer (at own expense) and use the high-speed Wi-Fi to share your photos, if you wish. If you're feeling adventurous, perhaps try some of the park's other activities, such as the canopy tour or the Tarzan swing (at own expense). When time is up, go back down the hill by ATV, and head to Restaurante Vivian, San Juan's best beach-side restaurant, for a free cocktail or Nicaraguan rum. You can then choose to stay and enjoy their all-day Happy Hour or head back to the port, either on foot (a 10 minute stroll along the beach) or in the free shuttle provided. Canopy upgrade: If you select the canopy option when booking, your experience at the adventure park is enhanced with a canopy tour that includes 10 platforms, seven ziplines, and one inclined rappel.

$66.25 Day Trips & Excursions

Cerro Negro Volcano Sandboarding Tour from Managua

After hotel pickup in Managua, begin your day trip with a journey approximately 1.5 hours north to Cerro Negro Volcano. Located in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range, Cerro Negro is one of the youngest volcanos in Central America. Its terrain consists of gravel-type volcanic debris, and it’s often referred to as the 'Black Hill.' When you reach Cerro Negro, your guide will give you a brief overview and safety instruction before leading you on a hike up the steep volcano. Although it's less than a mile to the top of Cerro Negro, the hike up is very steep and considered difficult, so be prepared for a tough but rewarding 1.5-hour climb! Feel free to bring along snacks and water to refuel on this hike. When you reach the top, at an elevation of about 1,640 feet (500 meters), take in gorgeous views of the surrounding Telica and San Cristobal volcanos. Then, strap in and enjoy a thrilling sandboard adventure down the volcano! You'll have the option to sit or stand on your board, depending on your comfort level. After your tour, you’ll have time to stop for lunch (own expense) in León before returning to Managua.

$58.75 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Granada City Tour from Managua with Boat Ride on Lake Nicaragua

After pickup from your Managua hotel, your day trip to Granada starts as you head southeast with your guide to the shore of Lake Nicaragua, on which Granada sits. Begin your Granada tour with a visit to the cultural center of Casa de los Tres Mundos. Created to support and promote cultural projects in Nicaragua and the rest of Central America, Casa de los Tres Mundos is located in a beautiful colonial mansion, which you’ll tour with your guide. Browse through the art gallery that includes paintings from local artists, and learn the history behind the center from your guide. Next, head Parque Central and browse local markets and admire colonial architecture as you make your way to the Convent and Museum of San Francisco, a striking colonial church with a blue facade. Tour the impressive museum inside the church, where you'll see pre-Colombian statues and pottery. Then, visit a nearby colonial-style house for lunch (own expense).After lunch, your Lake Nicaragua adventure begins as you board a boat for a cruise to around 365 tiny tropical islands. Stay on the boat, cruising around the islands and learning about the lush flora from your guide. Marvel at Mombacho Volcano while cruising through the small islands, formed over 10,000 years ago when the volcano erupted. Keep an eye out for native birds like tanagers, hawks, jays and warblers, and listen to your guide’s commentary about the history of the islands and of Lake Nicaragua, which is home to freshwater sharks and sawfish. After your boat ride, you'll be transported back to your Managua hotel.

$70 Cultural & Theme Tours

Leon Day Trip from Managua

After pickup from your Managua hotel, head north to Leon by comfortable coach. On your way, admire the beautiful surrounding landscape featuring Lake Managua (Lake Xolotlan), the Momotombo volcano and the Maribios volcanic chain. Visit the ruins of Leon Viejo, declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Follow your guide on a tour of the ruins and learn how Leon is the second-oldest city in Nicaragua, established in the early 1500s. You'll see foundations of houses as well as some restored buildings.Continue into the city of Leon, founded in the early 1600s. Known for its beautiful churches and stunning streetscapes, Leon is a picturesque colonial city. With your guide, tour the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Leon, one of the largest churches in Central America. Admire the interior filled with magnificent works of art including marble statues. Next, head to a local restaurant for lunch (own expense) before continuing to the Art Center of the Ortiz Gurdian Foundation. Located in two restored colonial buildings, this center houses various exhibits of paintings, sculptures and contemporary art. Tour the center with your guide and learn about various Nicaraguan artists. Then, visit the Rubén Darío Museum, located in the old house famous Nicaraguan writer Rubén Darío once lived in. Ruben Darío was the poet who initiated the Spanish-American literary movement that took off at the end of the 19th century and had a lasting influence on Spanish literature and journalism. Tour the museum and see hand-written manuscripts, as well as photographs. After your tour, you'll be driven back to your Managua hotel.