Nicaragua: Top 5 Destinations

By BosaTours | Jan 18, 2020
Central America > Nicaragua

Nicaragua is an authentic country. Its natural beauty and warmth of the locals capture the hearts of each traveler. I dare to say, the country is one of the most paradisiacal destinations in Central America.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

If you are making your traveling list, Nicaragua should be on top.The country has it all, virgin nature, secluded beaches, colonial cities, volcanoes, and one of the best gastronomies in the region.

A 6-day short visit to the country is enough time to discover the cultural and natural highlights including Managua, Masaya, Granada, and León. If you want to extend your time in the country, you should take 14 days adding to your itinerary Ometepe Island and northern towns where cigars and coffee are produced. However, my recommendation is to find a local certified tour operator to tailor-make your itinerary and travel safely.

León – Historic Legacy

León is the second-largest city in Nicaragua. As a city, it has given to the country a historic legacy due to many reasons. Since its establishment, the city has been the political and intellectual center of the nation. Worldwide respected intellectuals come from León including Rubén Darío-Father of Modernism-, Alfonso Cortés – poet-, and Salomón de la Selva- writer of the National Anthem-. Additionally, the second oldest university in Central America was founded in León in 1813 and continues being of great importance for the Nicaraguan education. On the other hand, the production and processing of sugar cane, cattle, peanut, plantain, and sorghum make the city an industrial and economic force in the country.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

Main Attractions

  • Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Central America where people go to its roof to find hidden architectural treasures and panoramic views.
  • Central Park, surrounded by the 4 ruling powers of the city, a place to meet the locals in their daily life.
  • Central Market, discover traditions and economy of León walking the halls fo the market where locals sell vegetables, fruits, meats, ingredients, and more.
  • Rubén Darío House Museum, where famous poet Rubén Darío lived his first 4 years of life.
  • UNAN- University of León, historic legacy for the Central American region.
  • Cerro Negro Volcano, the youngest active volcano in the country, the hike takes 1 hour and you can sandboard its slopes down!
  • Suyapa Beach, pacific beach, great to relax on the sand, get tanned and enjoy fresh seafood.
  • León Viejo, ruins of the first city of Léon, great history and the magnificent view of Momotombo Volcano on the shores of Lake Xololtán.

Masaya – Folklore City

Masaya is known as “City of Flowers”. Located only 30 km from the capital city of Managua, it represents the folklore of the country with its artisan towns, hand-made souvenirs, flower stores at each side of the main road, and home of Nicaraguan musicians and dancers. Masaya boasts a varied culinary tradition based on pre-Columbian recipes being “Nacatamal” and “Vaho” the most known.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

Main Attractions

  • Masaya Volcano, an active volcano with a visible lava lake in its crater, you go to the summit in-vehicle, easy access.
  • Masaya Market, the best place to buy Nicaraguan souvenirs is at this market, where locals sell unique art pieces, wooden and leather products.
  • Apoyo Lagoon, located in between Masaya and Granada, it is a crater lagoon surrounded by vegetation, a natural escape from the cities.

Granada – Colonial City

Granada is called by many as “Paris of Las Americas”. It is one of Nicaragua's most important cities, due to its economic and political power. It has a rich colonial heritage that can be seen in its architecture and structures. Additionally, it is surrounded by natural wonders as Mombacho Volcano and Lake Cocibolca.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

Main Attractions

  • La Merced Church, its facade was burned during a civil war, go to its bell tower for a panoramic colonial view.
  • Central Park, meet the locals in their daily lifestyle.
  • Cathedral, an impressive yellow structure that enhances the city.
  • San Francisco Museum, learn about Nicaragua's history as you go back in time; natives, pirates, and conquerors shaped the history of the country.
  • “La Calzada” Street, a pedestrian street filled with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and hotels.
  • “El Malecón”, on the shores of Lake Cocibolca, walk through it and enjoy the breeze.
  • “Las Isletas”, take a boat tour on Lake Cocibolca passing by some of the 365 islets. Some of these islets have restaurants and hotels; other islets have the houses of locals.
  • Mombacho Volcano, a cloud forest volcano where you can hike in nature or zip line over coffee plantations.

Ometepe Island – Natural Paradise

Ometepe Island was nominated to be among the new World Wonders.

The tourism industry indicates the highlights of Nicaragua are León, Granada, Masaya; however, if you want to experience the authenticity of the country, Ometepe is your destination.
It is the largest oceanic island in the second largest freshwater lake in Latin America. It is called an oceanic island due to the size of the island.

The island is eight-shaped and has two main municipalities: Moyogalpa and Altagracia. The island has rich and fertile soil due to volcanic minerals; therefore, it has abundant lush vegetation and crop production is abundant, as well, especially plantains, avocado, rice, and coffee.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

Main Attractions

  • Charco Verde Nature Reserve, walk around this reserve as you may encounter howler monkeys, pass by a lagoon, and reach the beach.
  • Ojo de Agua, a natural formation of pools composed by mineral waters from the volcanoes, surrounded by trees.
  • San Ramón Waterfall: Walk for 2 or 3 hours in nature until you reach the waterfall, you can refresh in the small lagoon under it.
  • Maderas Volcano, hike during 6 to 8 hours in this cloud forest volcano until you reach the summit and find a lagoon on its crater.
  • Concepción Volcano, hike during 7- 9 hours in an active volcano over rocks and black sand and ashes.

San Juan Del Sur – a Beach Town

San Juan del Sur is in the south area of Nicaragua, located 145 km (2.5 hours) from the capital city Managua. It is a small beach town where can walk its streets filled with bars, restaurants, hotels, coffee shops. San Juan del Sur has become a surfers paradise and THE destination for beach lovers. Additionally, there are many secluded beaches around the bay, 10 km approx. from the town.

Photo by Bosa Tours

Photo by Bosa Tours

Main Attractions

  • “El Cristo”, a statue of Christ built on top of a hill, you can access it by car or walking 800 meters up in a steep hill.
  • “The Bay”, eat fresh seafood meals at front beach gourmet and local restaurants
  • Nearby beaches: Take a shuttle to this must-visit beaches: Playa Hermosa, Majagual, Maderas, La Flor.

Bonus: Managua – Capital City

Although many travelers rather not pass by Managua, we recommend all travelers to take half a day to learn about the center of the economic and political power of Nicaragua. Half-day is enough to tour the city passing by former presidential houses, the cathedral, and the port on the shores of Lake Xolotlán. Finish the tour trying Nicaraguan gastronomy in a famous restaurant where waiters dress folklore clothing and the atmosphere is filled with local traditional music

Granada Managua León Masaya San Juan Del Sur Ometepe

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Written by BosaTours
Hi! My name is Elizabeth. I run a Central American Tour Operator, write articles, and coach young people. Bosa Tours & Travel is a Tour Operator that truly believes in showing to the world the authenticity of the Central American countries. We take travelers to discover the roots of our traditions and culture while enjoying captivating natural landscapes and meeting the locals. With excellence, passion, and personalized service including 24/7 phone monitoring, day by day travelers live a unique journey, they live the Bosa Family experience.

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See also

Accommodations

Tours and activities

Private: Mombacho Volcano Adventure

Adventure yourself into the cloud forests of Mombacho Volcano in a 2-hour hike around the inactive crater or zip-lining over coffee plantations.

Private: Managua Half-Day Tour

To live Nicaragua you must first take this history tour as a cornerstone. Join us on this half-day history tour and take a part of Managua with you. Visit the former Somoza Presidential House now in ruins, house museums, and the shores of Lake Xolotlán.

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