Nicaragua is slowly becoming one of the most popular countries to visit in Central America. It was always under the radar in the past, because most travelers focus on all that Costa Rica has to offer. Don’t be fooled! Nicaragua has just as much adventure in store, and it’s much cheaper! If Nicaragua is on your overseas travel list, make sure and hit these 10 destinations while you’re there.
Lake Nicaragua and the Islands
The massive Lake Nicaragua is the ninth largest lake in the Americas and the 19th largest lake in the world. This freshwater lake has more to offer than sheer size, however. It has islands! The islands are sparsely populated and offer pristine beaches, wildlife, and a handful of archaeological sites as well. You can climb the volcanoes, stay in the local bed & breakfasts, climb the volcanoes, and even swim in the natural springs.
If you’re going to head to the lake and its islands, be sure to visit Ometepe Island while you’re at it. It’s been called the “oasis of peace,” and it’s considered one of the greatest rock areas of the world because of its petroglyphs and stone carvings grated into its boulders. So, make sure and visit the lake and the islands, but more specifically, make sure you get to step foot on Ometepe Island!
So it seems Nicaragua has a lot to offer in the way of island hopping, right? Well, the Corn Islands have a unique story of their own. There are the Big Corn and Little Corn Islands, and Little Corn Island is more peaceful and quieter than its bigger neighbor. There aren’t even any cars allowed on it! There are dive shops, though, and these islands are the perfect places from which to dive and snorkel.
San Cristóbal Volcano
Nicaragua is certainly a country for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s even known as the “land of lakes and volcanoes.” While you’re there, you absolutely must visit the volcanoes, if not hike them! The San Cristóbal Volcano is the highest and most active volcano in the country. It’s got the cone-shape and it is constantly smoking, so it’s just what you’d picture a large, active volcano to look like. It’s considered one of the hardest climbs in the country, so if you’d rather go for something a bit more forgiving, you can try hiking the Masaya Volcano instead, where you can drive up to the smoking Santiago Crater. There is a national park and bat cave at the top.
The city of Leon is near volcanoes where travelers go for volcano boarding but end up falling in love with the colonial-style city itself. It’s full of old architecture in the form of churches and other colonial buildings. There are art collections and the city is less touristy than that of Granada, which is famous for the same type of preserved, old style.
This small, active volcano is the spot to go for volcano boarding in Nicaragua. It’s just outside of Leon, and it begins by strapping a board or sled onto your back and heading up the volcano. Hike to the top in less than an hour, and then have fun sledding down! You’ll wear goggles and jumpsuits and other protective gear, so don’t worry about that. Experience volcano boarding at least once!
Granada is a well-preserved historical city, similar to Leon, but even more preserved. It’s full of pastel-colored buildings, historic churches, and cobblestone roads. You can ride horse-drawn carriages around town, but most everything can be reached by foot. The Mombacho Volcano is just outside of town, and from there you can do canopy tours, hikes, and visit hot springs. You can also take a boat tour over to the Granada Islets!
These miniature islands are scattered off the coast of Granada and are covered in greenery. You can take a boat tour around the islands and appreciate the sights, including the bird populations. The monkey island is the one that’s most popular, since there’s a monkey population that loves to interact with people. They are said to be gentle and friendly, and the tourists are able to fully enjoy their company.
Whether you’re visiting Nicaragua to learn more about the country, to move there, or to invest, a visit is absolutely necessary. You should always know exactly what you are getting into, and being familiar with the country in question is the best way to do that.