Nicaragua was once a destination for the uber adventurer or seasoned traveler. Now, she is making the list for all types of travelers, from students to retirees. With the rich Nicaraguan culture and the aggressive topography, there is something here for almost everyone. Here is our top five list of things to do in Nicaragua.
Hiking Volcano Concepcion on Ometepe Island is one of the most challenging hikes you can do in Nicaragua. Ometepe island is considered the crown jewel of Nicaragua, and is home to one of only two Pacific Coast Rainforests. The island also features stunning waterfalls, petroglyphs, amazing bio-diversity, and the much less demanding Volcano Maderas hike. The island is also the host of one of the most brutal and extreme obstacle courses in the world, the Fuego y Agua Survival Run.
Swimming, Snorkeling, or Diving on Little Corn Island is one of the most beautiful things to do for people who crave crystal blue waters, coral reefs, and a laid back lifestyle. The local cuisine is also some of the most memorable, boasting Ron Don (a local stew or soup with a coconut milk base, local produce, and fresh fish), Ceviche, and coconut bread french toast. In the grand scheme of things, Little Corn is off most people’s radar. So much so that there are no cars on the island and the perimeter can be walked in a matter of hours. It is a must see, if at all possible.
Volcano boarding down Cerro Negro is truly for the adrenaline seeker. Located about one hour outside of Leon, it is easily reached through one of the many tour companies in town. Receiving international attention, Volcano boarding was listed as #2 on CNN’s “Thrill seekers bucket list”, and #4 on Readers Digest “10 Death Defying Travel Destinations.” To date, this is the only place on the planet where you can do something as bold as this.
Surf the beaches of San Juan del Sur (SJDS) and truly find out what world class surfing is all about. Playa Maderas, Majagual, Marsella, and Hermosa are some of the most popular locations for surfing. Southern Nicaragua is fortunate to have a near permanent ocean breeze, which is part of the perfect formula for great waves here. The proof is the concentration of wind turbines throughout the department of Rivas that you will see on your way to SJDS. SJDS is one of the most popular stops for tourists worldwide, and there are always like minded travelers around to exchange surfing stories with. If surfing isn’t your gig, check out the sport fishing in town.
Attend Granada’s International Poetry Festival where you can witness a week long festival that highlights the works of poets from Nicaragua and across the globe. There are a great deal of good reasons to visit Granada, even if you don’t plan on attending the Festival in February. It is the quintessential colonial city in Central America, and has stunning Spanish Colonial Architecture, great Archaeology museums highlighting Nicaraguan Pre-Columbian art, and a happening scene on “the strip” where you have your choice of international cuisine, and beverages to go along with it. Granada is proof that Nicaragua is no longer a scary place, where retirees from all over the world are making Granada their second home. Granada is also a short distance from destinations like Masaya, the famous marketplace, and stunning Apoyo Lagoon, which hosts Nicaragua’s cleanest body of freshwater. Volcano Mombacho is also close by, where there is ziplining, coffee farms, and the other Pacific Coast Rainforest that can be visited.