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Authored by Matthew M

What comes to mind when you hear mention of Nicaragua? Civil war and dictators? Revolution and unrest? Well that all finished more than 30 years ago, and now Nicaragua is one of the world’s most stunning tropical destinations, and an absolutely fantastic place to visit or live. Trust me – as an international expat now living here I would know!

Now one of the safest countries in the Americas, whether you’re looking to channel your inner beach bum on one of Nicaragua’s two coastlines (the Pacific’s got the waves and the Caribbean’s got the reefs), hit up a peaced-out surf camp, hippie enclave or remote fishing village, or perhaps even take in the smoking Volcán Concepción and witness “her almost perfect cinder cone rise from silvery, pure Lago de Nicaragua to pierce the cloudy sky”, Nicaragua has something to wow and awe you.

Land of Lakes and Volcanoes’ indeed, you’ve also got the option of colonial churches and museums, cloud forests, tumbling waterfalls, and incredible coffee. Here are 5 reasons to jump on a flight to Nicaragua today. Things to do in Nicaragua what to do in Nicaragua is Nicaragua safe?

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Beaches

Beach lovers who head to Nicaragua are in for a treat. There are many different beaches to choose from, most which are uncrowded and pristine, and with two coastlines you’re spoiled for choice.

From the black sand volcanic beaches of the north, to the Caribbean white sand beaches of Corn Island to the East, travelers searching for some surf can then head south and enjoy the monster waves near San Juan del Sur.

While each beach is completely different from the next, something they all have in common is a surprising lack of company. Unlike the crowded beaches of Costa Rica, Nicaragua isn’t a hot spot for tourist activity, and you essentially have a huge stretch of coastline to yourself.

Not bad in this day and age to be able to find a beach which is barely visited and still largely untouched by men! If visiting with a mobility impairment this post by Age UK Mobility has fantastic tips for what to expect when visiting the beach.

Budget Friendly

Nicaragua is the best option in Central America for those who are backpacking or traveling through on a tight budget.  Far cheaper than other tourist hubs like Costa Rica and Guatemala, Nicaragua still hasn’t really made it onto the map so to speak, and you can find a nice, clean, double room for less than $20 per night.

Dinner won’t cost you more than $10, and to get to the other side of the country on a 3-4 hour bus run won’t put you back any more than $4.

This is a country where you will really see your money go far and receive a lot more bang for your buck than in other Central American destination.

Surf

It’s not breaking news anymore, Nicaragua has great surf spots. The most famous are Popoyo, Santana, Colorado, Hermosa, Panga Drop and the list goes on and on. Anyone searching for brilliant surf in Central America should make Nicaragua their first stop, and as mentioned above, won’t have to share the beach.

San Juan del Sur, a quiet town close to the Costa Rica border, has become the epicenter of the Nicaraguan surf scene, with many surf schools, surf hotels and everything a “gringo” surfer might need to make the most of your surf trip.

Nicaragua has also started to host a number of World Surf Championship events, and in doing so is gaining a reputation as the best new destination for surfing.

Nicaragua surf spots

Lakes and Volcanoes

Nicaragua is called the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, and rightly so! There are 13 volcanoes and many more lakes dotted throughout the country. The most famous volcanoes are the Volcán Masaya, which is a great destination for a day trip from Granada, Volcán Concepción which has an “almost perfect cinder cone rise from silvery, pure Lago de Nicaragua to pierce the cloudy sky”, and Volcán Maderas.

The latter two are located on Ometepe Island, a beautiful and unspoiled island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America where there are still some of the very rare sweet water sharks.

However my favorite lake is Apoyo Lagoon, a quiet little lake inside an extinguished crater where the main draw is unplugging from daily life. And don’t forget the Volcano Cerro Negro – home to a truly unique sport, Volcano Boarding! Does sliding down the side of an active volcano sound like you? If so jump on a plane today!

Colonial Cities

Nicaragua is home to Central Americas oldest city, and as such has some fantastic history to explore. Granada was founded in 1524 on the side of Lake Nicaragua, and has rapidly gained a reputation among tourists as one of the most authentic colonial cities in the world.

The center of Granada still houses original buildings with colonial architecture on display, and restaurants line cobblestone streets where a fantastic food scene is on display. A fantastic day trip from Granada is a tour of the Isletas de Granada, 300 hundreds tiny island just off the coast of Lake Nicaragua.

Another fantastic colonial city is Leon, and with a vibrant nightlife, thriving restaurant scene and famous Cathedral de Leon which is now protected under the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites, it would be a pity to visit Nicaragua and not spend time here. Leon boasts a range of nice beaches, Las Peñitas y Poneloya being one of the best, and it’s here where you can enjoy some of the countries freshest and finest seafood!

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Matthew M moved to Nicaragua around 6 years ago, and while he was originally only meant to spend a year, the lure of the country was just too much and he and his wife fell in love.

They now share the beauty of Nicaragua via Nicaragua Yes Travel – a website dedicated to the beautiful sites they have seen.

Photo credits: Surf photo by Kanaka Menehune. All other photos by Nicaragua Yes Travel.

    25 Comments

  1. Love how the article was posted, thank you! This website is absolutely inspiring for travelling around the world. I’m happy to answer any question related to the article and travelling to amazing Nicaragua!

    • Thanks for the great guest post!

  2. Great article! It gives a nice overall picture about Nicaragua. Thanks! We visited in Nicaragua for a month last year (in July) and we absolutely loved it, too. Such a versatile country! We especially loved Ometepe, Reserva Biológica Indio Maíz, and the volcano boarding down the Cerro Negro!

    • Great choice. Which part of the Reserva did you visit? Today we are travelling down to Los Chiles de Nicaragua. Rio San Juan has amazing scenarios.

    • We visited in Canta Gallo and hiked to the Rama pyramids deep in the jungle. We traveled about 8 hrs by boat from Greytown into the Reserva. Really fascinating place!

    • That s sound like a wild trip! You should tell more about it to our readers on nicaraguayestravel.com !!

  3. Great write up on Nicaragua Matt! While I was down in the hustle and bustle of Costa Rica, I met a backpacker who came from Nicaragua who said great things about it as well. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to visit (particularly for their surfing reputation). Glad to see there’s even more to it to enjoy! :)

  4. Wow! Thanks for putting Nicaragua on my radar. You are speaking my language- beaches, nature, not too overrun with tourists, affordable… will definitely be putting this country on my list of places to visit! :)

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, Nicaragua is still a destination you can lay down on a beach basically with no one around! Most of the beaches, except the famous surf spot are desertic. You would enjoy it!

  5. Great photos! Nicaragua looks wonderful! I would love to check out some of the lakes and volcanos!

    • Sure come on over and have a look!!!

  6. Before reading this I barely knew anything about Nicaragua. Thanks for highlighting this beautiful destination.

    • happy to share something of this beatiful country…!!! stay tuned!

  7. Great photos! Nicarauga is a really awesome yet underated destination. Volcano boarding is one of my top 10 favourite activities to do!!!

    • yeah volcano boarding is amazing! if you have been here and you want to write about it we do accept guest post on our page!

  8. We have many friends who go on and on about Nicaragua, we can see why someone would want to live there. Thanks for sharing!

    • yep it is a great place to leave. Thanks for reading it

  9. A friend of mine lived in Nicaragua for a couple of years and I still regret not visiting. It sounds like it’s a very upcoming place to travel and should have gone before it becomes overrun by tourists. Could you actually be able to climb any of those volcanoes? That really would be some kind of adventure!

    • yep defnately you can climb all those volcanoes and also do sand boarding riding down …!

  10. I was about to write exactly the same comment as Antonette, and we even talk about the same friend! I was this close to visiting her and don’t even remember now why I didn’t but reading this article I regret not going there big time! Hopefully the chance will appear again, Central America is more and more tempting to me recently!

    • come and visit Nicaragua then ;) ! just checked your nice blog!!! we shouls work some how together

    • do you accept guest post on your travel blog?

  11. Nice post. Just got back this week from an amazing trip to Nicaragua. Im still mentally there and trying to comprehend how great this country is. Reading this post has truly brought me back to those places I visited. Loved Leom and its rustic and youthful vibe. Yes, boarding down Cerro Negro was a highlight along with camping at the base of the recently erupted Telica. Granada is just pretty with that gorgeous Catedral as its backdrop. Ometepe is simply magical. I can move to that island now. So raw, lush and full of mysterious charm. Lastly, Laguna Apoyo was a great way to end my trip. Quiant little lake town but so much to offer. Truly enjoyed my time in Nica, something I will cherish for a long time. Thanks for this post. Couldnt agree more. Ciao!

    • Hi Tony I m happy you like the post. I agree Nicaragua is a great place to live! me and my wife moved here 7 years agos and we loved it.
      here you can find out some more news http://www.nicaraguayestravel.com/san-juan-del-sur/
      and if you want to write something abut you Nica-experience for us you are very welcome!!

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