In Nicaragua you get the true latino vibe along with exciting attractions, crystal clear Caribbean Sea, amazing surfing opportunities in San Juan del Sur, trekking on volcanos with breathtaking views and the world's best rum. Nicaragua is by far a more interesting and friendly destination than its reputation suggests, so treat yourself to a visit and discover the country's strong traditions.
An overlooked gem in Central America
Nicaragua is still unexplored by most travellers, which is even better for you. This is your chance to experience this small, beautiful and charming country in peace and quiet. The country is one of the poorest in Central America, but is nevertheless very attractive for the adventurous traveller - and much cheaper than neighboring Costa Rica and Honduras.
Nicaragua is especially known for its coffee production, but many believe that the country produces the best rum in Central America. All you have to do is taste it to agree! Try the legendary Flor de Caña mixed with fresh mango juice - hhhmm, a drink does not get better than this!
If you are looking for something even more authentic you should head to the country's Caribbean coast and get close to the life of the Garifuna people's culture and music - but beware, its contagious! Your trip to Nicaragua is not complete until you have visited its beautiful volcanoes, lakes and rainforests.
The capital of Nicaragua, Managua, is usually the starting point for backpackers and adventures in other parts of the country. Managua has hostels, cheap restaurants and an excellent selection of bars and several shopping centres. While you're here, you should visit Parque Histórico Nacional Loma de Tiscalpa, which is probably the most interesting attraction in Managua. We recommend getting around the city by taxi.
Granada is a completely different story. This beautiful colonial town with distinct Spanish history was founded by the Spanish in 1524 and has thankfully retained its charm and beautiful architecture. Here are quaint cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and colorful houses in true colonial style. The town lies by lake Lago de Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Central America, where hundreds of small islands are waiting to be explored. One of the highlights here is a ferry ride to the island of Isla de Ometepe, where you can try to climb the volcanoes and enjoy the lake view and the other islands in the area.
Cultural highlights in Nicaragua
From Managua and Granada it is easy to get to Masaya, which is considered to be Nicaragua's traditional centre of art and culture. Here you can get a taste of how the country was before the Spaniards took over, and you can watch (and maybe buy) the impressive local crafts.
Another highlights is the local volcano, Volcán Masaya, while in Masaya. The town itself is not anything in particular, but an interesting place to experience the Nicaraguan daily life.
Activities and beaches in Nicaragua
A trip to Nicaragua will offer relaxation and plenty of opportunities for recreation. Climb the smoking volcano Concepcion located on an island in the Lago de Nicaragua, and if you're hungry for more of the same adventures you should stop by Maribios, where there is a chain of volcanoes, five in total, all of which can be climbed. Afterwards you may want to indulge in pure relaxation in the area's hot springs and the fascinating crater lake.
If you prefer diving, you should visit the island group of Islas del Maiz in the Caribbean Sea off the Nicaraguan coast. Here you can jump in the ocean and enjoy the company of colourful fish, turtles, sharks and go on exploring the fascinating underwater caves and beautiful coral. Yes, the diving here is truly magnificent. These islands are also famous for their magnificent palm beaches, so you can also easily spend a week or two here.
Travelling around Nicaragua
Like most other places in Central and South America, transportation is by bus. Hop aboard the festive, local buses with locals on the way to market, along with chickens and goats. There are many major bus companies of good quality covering long distances - even to neighbouring countries. If you want to enjoy the beaches or go trekking up volcanoes, we recommend that you avoid the rainy season between May and November.