Nicaragua

Framed both by an Atlantic coastline of remote mangrove labyrinths and by a Pacific coast stretch of surf-washed bays and beaches, Nicaragua offers a still-maturing travel industry of chic new hotels, clubs, and restaurants.

The Best of Nicaragua in Two Weeks

Nicaragua has a popular, carved-out tourist route based on its principal, most developed attractions. The beaten path is made up of the Granada-Ometepe-San Juan del Sur circuit, which can be done in about a week. Save another week for volcano-boarding near León, wildlife-viewing in Estelí, and relaxing on remote Big Corn Island. Wherever you head, Granada is a good place to ease into things, with colorful surroundings, wonderful cuisine, and a central location.

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Diving Nicaragua’s Corn Islands

Three distinct layers of reef, composed of more than 40 species of coral, protect the north side of Big Corn Island. The diving and snorkeling are impressive, and divers regularly see nurse sharks, eagle rays, and lots of colorful fish. The wilder Little Corn Island’s delicate reef system is unique for its abundance of wildlife and coral formations, including overhangs, swim-throughs, and the infamous shark cave.

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San Fernando and the Solentiname Islands

Solentiname’s best-known attraction is the creativity of its inhabitants, so don’t expect a lot of tourist infrastructure. Take a fully guided, four-day exploration of the entire Solentiname archipelago and the Río Papaturro in Los Guatuzos, including all its natural, archaeological, and cultural attractions.

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Featured Central America Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Photographer and Moon author Al Argueta

Al Argueta

At the age of three, Al Argueta first traveled to Guatemala with his father and was utterly captivated by the country’s landscape and its Mayan inhabitants. He would later live in Guatemala for two years, allowing him to formally learn Spanish and to experience Guatemala’s culture firsthand. During summers in high school and college, Al often took a month off to travel to Guatemala, exploring its jungles, ruins, and villages.

In college, Al majored in Journalism and Latin American Studies, managing to squeeze in two study-abroad programs—one in Manchester and one in Maastricht—and traveled through much of Europe. After college, he interned with Costa Rica’s Tico Times, getting his first exposure to travel writing and photography, in addition to covering then-President Bill Clinton’s visit to Guatemala. Al worked briefly for a newspaper in the Virgin Islands before moving on to photography school in Hawaii. He also taught English to college students in Thailand for a time, continuing to satiate the travel bug that bit him years back.

Al now lives in Austin, Texas, where he’s managed to stay put for an unprecedented six years. In addition to writing, he does freelance travel photography for clients that have included National Geographic Adventure, Caribbean Travel & Life, Condé Nast Traveler, Outside’s GO, and Continental.

Follow Al on Instagram @alargueta75.