Best of Nicaragua

Best of Nicaragua

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 13 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 - Managua

On arrival at Nicaragua International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at Element Boutique Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Managua and Leon

This morning we enjoy a short city tour of Managua. We will explore both the historical and modern facets of the city. Our first stop is Tiscapa Crater Lake where you have superb views over the entire city. On a clear day, you will be able to see several volcanoes to the north of the city. You can't miss the large silhouette of the famous revolutionary General Sandino statue that stands overlooking the Tiscapa Crater Lake. Next, we head over to the old city and the National Palace, the Old Cathedral, the National Theatre and the President's house. We also stop at Malecon, Managua's favourite place for a lakeside drink. Continue to Leon Viejo a UNESCO world heritage site, before heading to Leon. On arrival we explore numerous colonial buildings, among them Nicaragua´s first university. In addition, you can climb to the rooftop of Central America´s largest cathedral, recently added to UNESCO´s list of World Heritage sites, and enjoy astonishing views over the city and the surrounding Maribios Volcanic Chain. For the next 2 nights we still with a local family, an ideal opportunity to meet the friendly Nicaraguan people. Overnight Santiago de Los Caballeros Hostal. (BLD) 

Day 3 - Cerro Negro Sandboarding Excursion and Leon Bike Tour

For the more adventurous this morning you will have the option to join an excursion to try your hand at sandboarding down the slopes of nearby Cerro Negro. Alternatively enjoy a free morning in Leon to relax or explore the city on your own. This afternoon you will meet up with the rest of the group for lunch and then join your guide for a tour by bike. Discover the rich cultural and political history of one of Nicaragua's oldest and most influential cities. Defined by its graceful Spanish colonial architecture and fascinating political history, you will soon discover why León is considered to be Nicaragua’s historical, cultural, educational and religious capital. Overnight Santiago de Los Caballeros Hostal. (BLD)

Day 4 – Matagalpa and Selva Negra Cloud forest

After breakfast we head to Matagalpa, Nicaragua's fifth largest city and one of its most commercially active outside of Managua. We take some time to explore the city. After lunch we head to Selva Negra Cloud forest. After lunch we will transfer to our hotel for the next two nights. Overnight at Selva Negra Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 5 – Selva Negra Cloud forest

After breakfast we take a walking coffee tour. Learn about the whole process of coffee. History, location, climate, topography, sustainable use of bi-products and the social programmes are among the many aspects you will learn. We will get a chance to visit the nurseries, and plantations. After our coffee tour we will visit a local farm. We will witness many sustainable farming methods and pass by the organic laboratory, the worker’s housing, the greenhouses, cheese house, chicken coops, and stables. Overnight at Selva Negra Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 6 - Granada

Today we head south to Granada. On arrival we take a city tour by horse-drawn carriage obtaining a good sense of the rich history and authenticity of Spanish-colonial Granada. This afternoon we continue to Lake Nicaragua for a relaxing boat ride around some of the islands formed by the impressive Mombacho volcano. A boat trip through the Isletas of Granada is a great way to explore Lake Cocibolca, also known as Lake Nicaragua. These small islands are inhabited by families who make their living from fishing, while other islands are host to extravagant villas owned by Nicaragua's rich and famous. Along the way the guide will point out some of the prolific birdlife to be found on the lake as well as explaining about the history of the area Overnight at Colonial Granada Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 7 – Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve, Masaya and San Juan de Oriente

We start the day with a visit to Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve to hike the Crater Trail. Suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness we will hike for around 3 hours and learn about the flora and fauna of the area. If conditions are clear we will visit an impressive viewpoint to take in wide vistas of the country’s pacific region, the neighbouring city of Granada, and the great lake of Nicaragua and its islands. After the hike we transfer to Masaya and have lunch at a local restaurant. The Masaya Volcano is still active and is the only volcano in the western hemisphere where it is possible to drive to the rim and see the smoking crater. If we are lucky, we might encounter rare green parakeets which make their home at the volcano. After visiting the volcano we will visit Masaya's famous artisan market. Continue to San Juan de Oriente, one of the so called 'Pueblos Blancos' where we will see its white colonial architecture. Overnight at Colonial Granada Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 8 – Ometepe Island

Today, we transfer to the port of San Jorge, at the shores of Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca as the locals call it, and take the ferry to Isla de Ometepe. On arrival we will take a short walk in the Charco Verde Natural Reserve, a protected area located between Ometepe’s two volcanoes. The area consists of a lagoon, a beach, and a forest. The reserve is named Charco Verde (Green Puddle) due to the green colour of the lagoon. Many birds find shelter in this part of the island so birding enthusiasts should be rewarded with some good sightings. The walk is not strenuous and leads up a hill, from where we will have nice views of the surroundings. Overnight at San Juan de la Isla Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 9 - Ometepe Island

Enjoy today at your own leisure. There are several optional activities possible including a classic tour of the island, a Sam Ramon Waterfall walk or hiking up the Maderas or Concepcion Volcanoes. Overnight at San Juan de la Isla Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 10 – Ometepe - San Juan Del Sur on the Pacific Coast

Today, we take the ferry back to the mainland and continue to San Juan del Sur, in the southwest. Overnight at Pelican Eyes Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 11 – Optional surfing lesson or turtle watching excursion

Today is a leisure day. You can choose to simply relax at the nice hotel or perhaps try your hand at surfing. Another option is to go to Flor Beach to witness mass arrivals of turtles (during the season, August-January). The beach is a protected wildlife reserve because of the seasonal presence of Olive Ridley turtles that take place every year between August and January. Thousands of turtles arrive during certain nights to lay eggs at this one specific beach. About 50 days later, thousands of eggs hatch and the baby turtles try to make their way to the Pacific. Overnight at Pelican Eyes Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 12 - Return to the capital, Managua

Today we return to the capital, Managua. Overnight at Element Boutique Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 13 – Tour ends in Managua

Our tour ends this morning in Managua. A transfer will be provided upon request to the city’s airport.