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; Granada is a blossoming ex-pat hotspot.
While the casual traveler can certainly appreciate the familiar comforts between a horse ride among the villas and a homecooked meal in the company of friendly hosts, the majority of Nicaragua travel requires a patient spirit, one willing to make the necessary compromises in the name of adventure. Daring independents–especially those with some conversational Spanish and a willingness to use it–can find some of life’s greatest adventures amongst the volcanic heat and Caribbean cool of Nicaragua’s diverse landscape.
Read the full area overview of Nicaragua, and check out the suggested itineraries, the where-to-gos and what-to-dos we’ve outlined below, because even the most independent of adventurous souls need a good place to get started.
Planning Your Trip
If You Have…
One week: Visit Granada and San Juan del Sur.
Two weeks: Add La Isla de Ometepe and/or a side trip to León and the northwest beaches.
Three weeks: Add the Solentiname Islands and a trip down the Río San Juan. Take the time to hike a volcano or explore the Estero Reál. Or work your way up the Pacific coast, one beach at a time.
Nicaragua Trip Itineraries
Follow in some well-trod footsteps to get started.
Where to Go in Nicaragua
Suggestions for less-structured independent travel.
- Visiting Volcán Masaya National Park
- Visiting Nicaragua: Where and When to Go
- The Colonial Charm of Granada, Nicaragua
- Laguna de Apoyo in Masaya, Nicaragua
- Discover the Charming Diversity of Nicaragua
Recreation in Nicaragua
Relaxation before or after, your choice.
- Boating, Swimming, and Bicycling in Granada
- The Best of Nicaragua in Two Weeks
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
Other Nicaragua Articles
Helpful information from festivals to border crossings.
- Where to Volunteer in Latin America
- Revolutionary Managua Driving Tour
- Festivals and Events in Managua
- Crossing the Border into Nicaragua or Panamá from Costa Rica
- Nightlife in Managua, Nicaragua
- Crime in Nicaragua
- Peñas Blancas and the Costa Rica Border
- Things That Bite and Sting in Nicaragua
- Joshua Berman & Moon Nicaragua on the Travel Channel
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
Photo at top © Robert Lerich/123rf.