Nicaragua Bucket List: Amazing Places to Visit in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is never on many people’s minds when planning their next vacation, except those who admire the charm of the off-beaten paths and budget travel. Unlike many travel destinations in the region, such as Panama and Costa Rica, Nicaragua is quite affordable and less touristy.
But this slowly changing as the country is increasingly becoming a popular tourist spot for many international visitors.
Nicaragua is truly an ideal destination for adventure-seekers and history buffs with its stunning landscapes, appealing architecture, and rich history. It offers everything, from surfing, hiking up active volcanoes, and exploring the lumbering colonial cities.
15 Best Things to Do in Nicaragua
Try volcano-boarding at Cerro Negro
Cerro Negro is among the youngest volcanoes in Central America. Its name is derived from the character of its landscape – dark sandy slopes. It is pretty active, too, having been erupted several times in recent years.
Visitors can climb the hill and enjoy the top or board-slide views down the slopes for one of the most exhilarating activities in the country.
Discover the highest lake island in the world
A long time ago, two volcanoes erupted to form the Ometepe Island at the center of Lake Nicaragua. The beautiful landscapes serve as a one-day getaway for travelers looking to escape the rut and try something new.
The island is also an important archaeological site for Nicaragua.
Besides learning about the island’s rich history, visitors can admire the beautiful beaches and diverse wildlife.
Check out Granada
This Spanish-inspired settlement has some of the most impressive and well-maintained architecture on the island.
You can just wander around admiring the many churches and buildings with Renaissance-style architecture.
After admiring the beautiful architecture, take a traditional boat to the neighboring islands.
Admire Leon Viejo
As the only world heritage site on the island, Leon Viejo is an old Spanish colonial settlement in Nicaragua and the only place to learn and experience its colonial history.
Surf at San Juan del Sur
Nicaragua is a well-known surfing destination in Central America. The best place to enjoy the waves is at San Juan del Sur, a designated island’s designated tourism city.
This small, southwestern city also has beautiful beaches and infinite things to do, including shopping local products and sampling traditional food.
Lounge on island’s silver sand beaches
The Emerald Coast between El Astillero and Tola is considered the most beautiful on the island. Straddling the Pacific Ocean, the beach is home to two of Nicaragua’s most famous surfing spots – Popoyo and Colorado.
Despite facing the ferocious Pacific Ocean, the waves here are gentle and calm.
Take a day trip to the Corn Islands.
The Corn Islands off the Caribbean coast are notorious for their beauty and serenity.
They offer a perfect escape from Nicaragua’s everyday life and explore the amazing marine life as well as soak up the sun.
There are two main methods for reaching the island – by ferry or flying. These methods offer different experiences, though the flight is a bit costlier.
Learn coffee making at Cafe Las Flores
Since colonial times, coffee has been an essential part of the island’s economy.
If you are a coffee lover, there is a place on the island called Café Las Flores, where you can learn the process of making coffee from A-Z.
This family-owned coffee roaster is located near Granada and offers a tour with hands-on experience of making coffee, from harvesting the beans to drying and roasting.
Take a hike at Miraflor Natural Reserve
In the northern parts of Nicaragua, you will find Miraflor Natural Reserve. Here, nature and adventure lovers will enjoy walking through a deep green forest and crossing gorgeous streams that feed tens of waterfalls.
The best part about it is that it is less touristy than other parts of the island.
We recommend taking a multiday hike so that you can get a chance to spend time and interact with the locals.
There is a program that joins you with a local host family.
Take a night trip to Masaya Volcano.
Masaya Volcano National is not just any park. It is home to a rare lava lake (there are only 9 lava lakes in the world) and the only volcano throughout the Western Hemisphere that allows visitors to walk or drive around its rim.
There are also several underground tunnels created by the flowing lava, filled with different bats.
While you can visit this active volcano any time you want, hiking it at night is probably the best experience.
Undercover of darkness, the lava lake turns into a beautiful inferno, creating whole different scenery.
Explore the Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve
While Lake Nicaragua might be the most popular with its islands, it is not bad to try new things. Apoyo in Managua is a great place to chill and hike around the beautiful countryside or fish in the lake.
Learn about the stone man
In a bid to quit drinking, Alberto Gutierrez began to carve various symbols and animals into stones.
His workstation is located just outside Esteli. He is pretty friendly though he doesn’t speak any English.
His exhibitions are free, but if he welcomes donations.
Explore Somoto Canyon
Somoto Canyon is one of the oldest rock formations in Central America. Despite this, it was only discovered 16 years ago!
But that is a good thing because the rocks are still hugely unknown.
The longest in Central America, the Coco River runs through the rock formations, creating stunning landscapes.
Try Zip lining across Mombacho Volcano
Standing some 4,410 feet high, Mombacho Volcano has one of Nicaragua’s best floras and faunas. The best way to explore it is by whizzing through on a zip line that passes over Granada and Lake Nicaragua.
Sample Nicaraguan Food
Though the island is not known for cuisine, you can still try out some local dishes such as Gallo pinto, the island’s staple food– beans and rice served with fried plantains and meat.
Nicaragua Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your visit to Nicaragua, we listed places to visit and other unique activities in Nicaragua. We also listed some of the best travel and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Nicaragua hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.