Highlights of Nicaragua
In this journey through Nicaragua you will discover a land where sleepy countryside lined with pineapples gives way to active volcanoes, wildlife filled Jungles and some of Latin Americas best kept colonial cities. You will also see first hand how modern Nicaragua has grown and moved on from it’s turbulent history but its revolutionary past is still etched in every day life.You will explore the north of the country, Nicaraguas cultural heartland with its untamed landscapes, traditional industry and adventurous experiences offering a contrast to the calmer beauty of the south, with the beautiful colonial city of Grenada, the nature reserve of Laguna de Apoyo and Ometepe Island with its two volcano seemingly rising out of lake Nicaragua, all before you hit the beautiful pacific coast. What brings all of these experiences together however is the people you will meet along the way, the people that will make this trip truly memorable.
This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.
14 Days: Managua - León - Esteli - Masaya & Apoyo Lagoon - Granada- Ometepe Island - San Juan Del Sur
Activities: Sightseeing , culture, nature, volcano boarding, volcano hikes, boat rides, bird watching, waterfalls, swimming, beach time.
Day 1: Welcome to the stunning land of lakes and volcanoes! You will be met in arrivals and taken to your centrally located accommodation in Managua.
Day 2: Drive North along the shores of Lake Managua to the colonial town of León, once of the best examples of colonial architecture in Central America. Your guide will take you on a walking tour through the historic part of town where you will visit murals dating back to the revolution, baroque and neoclassical churches and an art museum with works of internationally renowned artists. It ill also be your first taste of local life as you explore the fruit and vegetable market before the tour ends with remarkable vistas of the nearby volcanoes from the cathedral´s picturesque rooftop. (B)
Day 3: Have you ever boarded down an active volcano? The experience starts with an off-road transfer from Leon, followed by a one-hour hike to the top of the Cerro Negro volcano alongside your guide which will explain everything about this natural marval. Once at the top, safety instructions and a short practical training is given before starting the epic descent on your specially engineered board.(B)
Day 4: Moving further north still into Nicaragua’s revolutionary heartland you will drive to the town of Esteli. Along the way you will bare witness to the incredible forces of nature at the boiling volcanic mud fields of San Jacinto, connected directly to the Telica volcano. In the afternoon you will learn ore about the second thing Esteli is known for, being the epicentre of Nicaragua’s premium cigar industry. It starts at a local tobacco plantation where you will learn about the process of growing the best tobacco leaves before continuing to the factory to watch a live cigar making-process and have the chance to roll your own. (B)
Day 5: Just outside of Esteli you will find a lush green nature reserve, Tisey-Le Estanzuela, home the most beautiful natural attractions in the region. You will explore the forest including passing a 15 meter high waterfall, surrounded by forest and lush farmland. Continue with a visit to a traditional farm, home of the highest viewpoint of the reserve (1300m) and the best place to enjoy panoramic views from Lake Managua to the Pacific Volcano Chain. (B)
Day 6:It’s back down South today as you drive past Managua to the stunning Apoyo Lagoon. Between Managua and Apoyo you will stop to experience the natural and cultural wonders of Masaya. A very rare opportunity awaits you first as you come face to face with an active volcano. Gaze down into the active crater of Masaya Volcano to see molten lava flowing, bubbling and spitting steam that rises to meet your viewing platform. It is then on to Masaya’s colorful artisan market known for its hammock and ceramics.
Its then on to Apoyo Lagoon. This impressive dormant cone last erupted about 20,000 years ago and has been filling with clear fresh water ever since. The interior, where the tropical dry forest meets the crystal-clear waters of the lagoon, is a nature reserve and home to more than 225 species of birds, mammals ans endemic species of fish.(B/L/D)
Day 7: A guided ike through the forest that surrounds the Apoyo Lagoon is a magnificent way to observe flora and fauna. To see as many birds as possible, an early start is recommended. You hike through tropical dry forest and may spot hummingbirds, golden orioles, toucans, and falcons. But you may also encounter howler- and white-faced monkeys, iguana's and the blue morpho butterfly.(B/D)
Day 8: Granada or the "Gran Sultana" is one of Latin America's most beautiful colonial cities. This ancient town, founded in 1524 on the shores of vast Lake Nicaragua, is full of history and Spanish colonial charm and famed as one of the oldest European settlements in the western hemisphere. In the morning you will walk the cobbled streets as your guides you round this wonderful town.
In the afternoon you will leave the city until you reach las Isletas, found at the point where the foothills of Mombacho volcano meet the calm waters of lake Nicaragua. Las Isletas archipelago consists of small forest-covered islands, formed by a volcanic eruption over twenty thousand years ago whcih you will see as you tour this amazing place by boat (B)
Day 9: Have you ever experienced a cloud forest on top of a volcano? The nature reserve you will visit today boasts a wide variety of vegetation, wildlife and the most incredible views over Las Isletas, Grenada and all the way back to Masaya Volcano. Keep an eye out for the howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys, sloths, dart frogs, and the endemic Mombacho salamander. (B)
Take the ferry over lake Nicaragua to the mystical Ometepe Island. Ometepe has served as home to indigenous tribes and cultures for centuries and the sole witnesses of this history are the islands many pre-Columbian petroglyphs. The two volcanoes on the island, Concepción and Maderas seemingly rise out of the water and create the islands iconic image as you approach form the water.(B)
Day 11: Experience the highlights of this enchanted island, visiting Finca Magdalena, a working community-run coffee plantation also home to indigenous rock paintings, Charco Verde Nature Reserve and Chico Largo lagoon, a mystic places that continue to inspired local legend, before taking a well deserves swin in the natural spring of Ojo de Agua hidden in the forest. Finally pay homage to the island's original inhabitants with a visit to the museum of Pre-Columbian artefacts, boasting many well-conserved indigenous statues and ceramics. (B/L)
Day 12: Take the ferry back over to the mainland and a short drive to the pacific coast. San Juan del Sur is one of the most popular destinations in Nicaragua. Once a quiet fishing village, San Juan has emerged into one of the country´s major beach destinations. Fortunately the town has maintained its charm and laid back atmosphere, is a great place for surfing, snorkeling and sailing and also is very close to La Flor beach and wildlife reserve for those wanting to experience hatching sea turtles.(B)
Day 13: Day at leisure to do as you please. (B)
Day 14: Sadly all good things come to an end as you are transferred back to Managua airport for your return flight, leaving Nicaragua with lots of amazing memories!(B)
Prices from: £1995 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide, 24 hour assistance
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.
Best Time To Travel
Best time to visit: December - April
Dec – Apr sunny and dry but cooler than the Summer. Jun – Aug rain showers, hot and humid. Sep & Oct heavier rain, hot and humid.
Nov & May are a mix and great for avoiding other tourists