If you want a vacation in a less-traveled place or you’ve already chosen to visit this fascinating Central American country, you’ll be looking for things to do in Nicaragua. Tourism here isn’t massively promoted and it remains down the list for many travelers, but it is a beautiful and amazing country and there are truly some brilliant things to do in Nicaragua. Here’s a selection to tempt you.
Table of contents:
- take a hike on a volcano at night
- explore colonial leon
- visit the markets
- explore granada’s architecture
- chill out at la isla ometepe
- soak up the sun on little corn island
- surf at san juan del sur
- admire the art at centro de arte
- hike in the bosawas biosphere reserve
1 Take a Hike on a Volcano at Night
There are numerous volcanoes across Nicaragua and climbing them is a fun activity. Masaya volcano is a good one to climb and once at the top you will be able to see for miles around. Night tours are organized – there are guides so no worries about getting lost – and as well as the trip up there is a chance to enter the lava tubes and stand among hundreds of bats. It is one of the most outstanding things to do in Nicaragua. If you would rather see volcanoes from a distance, there are also balloon trips that take you over them.
2 Explore Colonial Leon
If you want something that is a little bit out of the ordinary then it will be a good idea to visit Leon. It is a friendly place and has become top of the list of places to visit in Nicaragua. Whether it is an enjoyable stroll around the square or a trip up to the top of Recoleccion Catherdral – make sure to book in advance – there is plenty to do. Enjoy the architecture, stroll around the street markets before stopping at one of the many cafés that are all around. Night time brings live music and a party atmosphere.
3 Visit the Markets
Markets are everywhere and are an important part of life for all. Browsing (and buying) is definitely one of the essential things to do in Nicaragua. Whether it is fresh food or home- made crafts there will be something for everyone. Granada in particular has a stunning market that while mainly selling food, also has lots of jewelry. Mayas has a couple of markets and while one caters more to locals there is another that has well priced artisan crafts. Try to get to the older one as this showcases much less touristy products.
4 Explore Granada’s Architecture
Granada has not changed a great deal over the years and is still very much as it was in times gone by. As one of the greatest attractions of Nicaragua, there are plenty of 17th century museums and outstanding buildings that have been converted into modern stores. To get a panoramic view and some excellent photographs climb the tower at Iglesia de La Merced and if you want to go a little further afield, there is a medieval fort at Fortaleza de la Polvora.
5 Chill out at La Isla Ometepe
La Isla Ometepe sits in the centre of Lake Nicaragua, and of all the things to see in Nicaragua this is one that is certainly worth the travel (it’s about 3 hours from Granada). The journey is half coach and half ferry and once there, it is a perfect place to relax. As with many places in Nicaragua there are a couple of volcanoes and traveling is difficult as few roads are paved. Prepare for a few lazy days as the bus system is not reliable and hire cars are expensive. Accommodation tends to be on working farms and from these bases there are places to hike, plantations to see and the chance to go kayaking.
6 Soak up the Sun on Little Corn Island
The problems you may experience getting here will fade away once you arrive. The island is surrounded by coral reef and the sand is lined with palm trees. This is the place to really relax, as apart from water sports there is little to do. Lessons are easy to come by and there are many shops selling equipment. If you do want to tear yourself away from the beach there is a lighthouse to visit and while it can be climbed a great deal of care needs to be taken. If you risk it you will be rewarded with outstanding views. The island does have a few churches, but in reality there is not a great deal to see in them. It really is the beaches that are the draw card here and few other places to visit in Nicaragua can compare.
7 Surf at San Juan Del Sur
This area is ideal for surfers and those clinging to the peaceful ways of the past. It is a great place to escape, with lots of beaches to lie on, and plenty of bars allowing thirsts to be quenched. Along the waterfront are some top class restaurants and as would be expected of this sort of location, there is the chance to try some amazing seafood.
8 Admire the Art at Centro De Arte
Considered to be the finest of all the art museums in Nicaragua, the Centro de Arte shows artists from around the world including some of the greatest names in South American art. There are a number of Picasso pieces along with works by names such as Dali, Miro and Solana. Nicaraguan sculpture is well represented and as the center is privately owned, they have decided that they will donate the entrance fee to helping support women on low incomes who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
9 Hike in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve
If you love nature, the very best of the things to do in Nicaragua is to hike through the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. As a protected conservation area you have to get special permission to enter, and you also have to go with a guide (who are inexpensive). It is a challenging hike but if you want to see nature at its purest, you will be well rewarded. It is packed with wondrous flora and fauna and a number of species would be close to extinction if they weren’t protected in this reserve. Keep a lookout for jaguars, monkeys and macaws.
I hope you agree there are some wonderful things to do in Nicaragua. Is it somewhere you’d like to visit?
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