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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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.
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.
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.
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!
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!