Although only a small country, Nicaragua packs in a lot of variety. On this eleven day tour, learn about the country's sustainability efforts while enjoying cultural experiences and fun outdoor excursions. Hike a volcano in the middle of a lake, visit an organic farm, and try your hand at pottery, weaving, and traditional cooking in a series of local-led workshops.
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Bet your vacation days on Nicaragua, and you'll be mightily rewarded. Expect perfect surfing beaches on the Pacific coast, beautifully preserved colonial architecture in Granada, and opportunities for truly out-of-this-world adventure—think underwater cave diving and hikes to hidden jungle fortresses. With a tourism infrastructure that's still catching up, Nicaragua still feels like a hideaway—book your trip before the secret's out.
When is the best time to visit?
Nicaragua's high season runs from December-March, but November and April may actually be the best time to visit. During these shoulder season months, you can expect mostly dry and sunny weather with a fraction of the high season crowds. Most travelers will want to avoid the rainy season, which usually lasts from May through October—rough roads and stormy days can make logistics tricky, though you'll score bargain hotel deals.
Where should you go?
Nicaragua may be a small slice of Central America, but it has an impressive diversity of outdoor and cultural options. Tola and San Juan del Sur in the southwest are perfect for surf-happy beachgoers and travelers looking for the perfect wellness retreat. Head north to Estelí and Matagalpa for a dose of local culture, while western León has it all: nature, crumbling colonial history, and adventure are at your fingertips here.
The intrepid traveler will also want to consider a visit to Ometepe Island. Formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua and connected by a low strip of wetland, Ometepe is one of the largest freshwater islands in the world—and the only island with two volcanoes in a freshwater lake. Designated a biosphere reserve, the area offers plenty of untouched nature to explore—but it's also a historical gem. The influence of ancient aboriginal tribes can still be seen in petroglyphs dating back 1,700 years.
How many days do you need?
In just 5 days, you can see a number of Nicaragua's highlights. Start by exploring León with a private guide, check out Granada, take a Las Isletas boat tour, and finish the trip with a day at Masaya Volcano and Pueblos Blancos. With a week or more, you should consider adding two nights at Ometepe Island and some leisure time on the beaches of Tola. In 2 weeks, you can complete a true grand tour, with unique opportunities to engage with local culture. Take a coffee farm tour in Matagalpa, check out the Indio Maíz Nature Reserve, snorkel off the coast of Corn Island, and so much more.
On this relaxing 10-day tour of Nicaragua's best beaches, you'll explore the surf and sand from coast to coast, with a dose of local culture along the way. Unwind on stunning white-sand beaches, kayak around Caribbean cays, and tour the massive Lago de Nicaragua and its hundreds of islets. You'll also gain insight into culinary traditions in the colonial city of Granada, spot marine wildlife like sea turtles, and visit a tropical cloud forest reserve.
Retrace the old pirate routes on this kayaking adventure in Nicaragua. Your journey will start in the 500-year-old Spanish colonial city of Granada. You will then fly to San Carlos and paddle the San Juan River from Sabalos to San Juan de Nicaragua. See exotic fauna such as the rainbow-billed toucan, visit the fort at El Castillo built to fend off pirates, and camp on the banks of the San Jan River. Finish your trip with a free day in Nicaragua's exciting capital, Managua.
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