The Pacific has the waves, the Caribbean has the reefs.

Little Corn Island Brilliant turquoise waters meet snow-white sand in secluded coves on this enchanted isle.

Playa El Coco A spectacular stretch of sparkling sand framed by imposing forest-covered headlands.

Pearl Keys Live out shipwreck fantasies beneath the coconut palms on this group of idyllic Caribbean islands.

El Ostional Charming fishing village with a sweeping brown-sand beach.

Playa Aserradores Long, smooth stretch of sand with a powerful, hollow beach break.

Great Corn Island Often overlooked, Great Corn has several gorgeous expanses of beautiful golden sand beach.

Popoyo Famous surf breaks and miles of practically untouched shoreline make Popoyo a hot spot.


Volcán Masaya Watch lava bubble restlessly in the crater of one of the country's most active volcanoes.

Volcán Maderas Hike up through cloud forest to reach a chilly jade-green crater lake.

Volcán Momotombo Perched regally at the top of Lake Managua, its perfect cone is a symbol of Nicaragua.

Volcán San Cristóbal Nicaragua's tallest volcano and toughest trek, with epic summit views.

Volcán Cosigüina Climb the remnants of what was Central America's biggest volcano to look out over three countries.

Volcán Mombacho Accessible cloud forest with great hiking and even better birdwatching.

Colonial Architecture

Granada Nicaragua's colonial showpiece lays on the charm from the moment you get off the bus.

León Energetic and unpretentious, this gregarious city has stunning colonial streetscapes, awe-inspiring churches and cosmopolitan eateries.

Ciudad Antigua Boasting a remarkable Moorish-influenced 17th-century church, this is one of Nicaragua's oldest towns.

San Rafael del Norte Surrounded by peaks, this charming town is centered around the light-filled Templo Parroquial San Rafael Arcángel.


Matagalpa and Jinotega departments have the pedigree but Estelí and little-visited Nueva Segovia also produce some outstanding beans.

La Bastilla Ecolodge Hike through immense shade-grown coffee plantations before improving your cupping skills at the laboratory.

San Ramón Try your hand picking coffee beans at local farms then visit a community roasting plant.

Eco-Albergue La Fundadora Stay at this epically located hilltop finca, surrounded by cloud forest and coffee plantations

Área Protegida Miraflor Combine your coffee tour with birdwatching or a visit to waterfalls surrounded by cloud forest.

DeLaFinca Cafe If you can't make it out to coffee country, sample Nicaragua's finest beans in the capital.


Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Flor Watching turtles laying their eggs on this beach is one of Latin America's superlative experiences.

Refugio Bartola Head into the jungle to spot monkeys, fluorescent frogs and maybe even a tapir.

Volcán Mombacho Accessible cloud forest with great hiking and even better birdwatching.

Refugio de Vida Silvestre Los Guatuzos Perfectly preserved wetlands with fantastic birdwatching during the day and action-packed crocodile spotting at night.

Islas Solentiname Bring binoculars to spot some of the thousands of migratory birds nesting in this remote archipelago.

Reserva Natural Macizos de Peñas Blancas Clinging to magnificent mountain peaks, this jungle is home to pumas, jaguars and ocelots.

Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado Take a nighttime turtle tour during laying season – July through January – at this barrier island.

Outdoor Adventure

Volcano Boarding Volcán Cerro Negro is a great place to tick this deranged adventure sport off your list.

Kayaking & Canoeing Paddle through the Padre Ramos mangroves, down Río San Juan or around Isla de Ometepe.

Tubing Float with the current down the narrow Cañon de Somoto.

Diving Head to the Corn Islands for cave and reef dives in crystal-clear Caribbean waters.

Surfing Hit some serious waves off Playa Aserradores or Popoyo, or around San Juan del Sur.

Artisan Crafts

San Juan de Oriente Head to the homes of ceramics masters to pick up Central America's most exquisite pottery.

Artesanias La Esquina Pick up a sculpted wooden bowl or ceramic cup at this artisan co-op in Estelí.

The Garden Shop This fair-trade boutique stocks clothing, crafts, shoes, paper goods and gourmet products produced at women's co-ops.

Paseo Salvador Allende On weekends, artisans sell their wares on Managua's newly revamped waterfront promenade.

Mercado de Artesanía You might not take one home, but Masatepe is famous for cane-woven rocking chairs.