A monkey in a tree on Monkey Island. Photo © Paul Schlindwein/123rf.

The Natural Beauty of Nicaragua’s Las Isletas

The 365-island archipelago of Nicaragua formed when Volcán Mombacho erupted some 20,000 years ago, hurling its top half into the nearby lake in giant masses of rock, ash, and lava. The natural beauty of the isletas is spectacular there is plenty for history buffs to enjoy as well. The islanders themselves are interesting and friendly, maintaining a rural lifestyle unique in Nicaragua: Children paddle dugout canoes or rowboats to school from an early age, and their parents get along by fishing and farming or by taking camera-toting tourists for a ride in their boats.

City street in Granada, Nicaragua. Photo © Dreamstime.

Planning Your Time in Granada and Masaya

All within an hour of the capital Managua, Granada, Masaya, and Carazo contain a taste of Nicaragua’s must-sees. Both Granada and Masaya make excellent bases for your excursions around the country, or you can make day and overnight trips from the capital. Either way, you’ll find quaint colonial towns, smoking volcanoes, lagoons, traditional artistry, coffee farms, and the crashing tide of the Pacific Ocean.

Reserva Charco Verde. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Where to Go in Nicaragua

Unless you have a few weeks to dedicate to your travels, it’s impossible to see everything Nicaragua has to offer–even then, you’d have a tight schedule. The best way to tackle the country is to learn about each region, then plan according to your interests and favorite activities. From vibrant nightlife to exploring history to outdoor adventures, Nicaragua won’t disappoint.

Moon Nicaragua, 6th ed.

Moon Nicaragua

This full-color guide to Nicaragua includes vibrant photos and maps to help with trip planning. Nicaragua expert Elizabeth Perkins teaches travelers how to best experience the wonders of this Central American destination, from hanging out on the Pacific beaches of San Juan del Sur and shopping for crafts in Masaya to partaking in the ever-evolving […]

A bicycle parked on the street in front of a stucco building.

Boating, Swimming, and Bicycling in Granada

If you start early before it gets too hot, a bike ride down the Peninsula de Asese can be excellent, and getting out on the water is another fun option. Author Amber Dobrzensky shares a few ways to enjoy this beautiful corner of Nicaragua.

The view from La Garnacha's mirador. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

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.

moon granada & dan juan del sur cover featuring a cathedral

Moon Spotlight Granada & San Juan del Sur

Moon Spotlight Granada & San Juan del Sur is a 101-page compact guide that combines Nicaragua’s best culture and history with outdoor recreation. Nicaragua expert Amber Dobrzensky offers her firsthand advice on must-see attractions, as well as maps with sightseeing highlights, so you can make the most of your time. This lightweight guide is packed […]

Trees dot a courtyard running between colorful buildings with a yellow, colonial style church rising a block away.

The Colonial Charm of Granada, Nicaragua

Arguably Nicaragua’s most picturesque town, Granada is an easy place to love. If the large businesses and the international airport aren’t keeping you in Managua, Granada is a handsome alternative hub for travel within the country.