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Nicaragua Travel Guide

Tucked away in Central America, Nicaragua is blessed with an abundance of pristine beaches, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and stunning natural wonders for travellers to get lost amongst. You might be craving outdoor adventures or have your sights set on the colonial architecture. Regardless of your travel plans, there is an adventure for everyone. It’s time to awaken your senses in Nicaragua. 

The Highlights

  • Leon

    Leon is packed with history, colonial architecture and is home to beautiful sights such as the magnificent Cathedral of León – the largest in Central America. Most importantly, Leon is known for the birthplace of Nicaraguan independence, and as you walk through the streets you will find colourful murals on Leon’s streets existing as relics of the revolution. 

  • Masaya Volcano National Park

    If you’re looking to get up close with an active volcano and surrounding lava fields, a visit to the Masaya Volcano National Park is must-do when in Nicaragua. Within the national park, you will find sights such as the Nindirí Volcano, Masaya Volcano and the Masaya Lagoon, just to name a few. As for getting there, this once-in-a-lifetime experience can be accessed from Granada or Managua.

  • Granada

    When in Granada, you won’t be short of things to see or do, and it’s easy to fully immerse yourself in the local culture of this vibrant town. Likened to a more tropical version of the Spanish city that shares its name, Granada is revered for its distinctive architecture along with the laid-back spirit of locals who welcome visitors with open arms.

  • Ometepe Island

    Located in the great Lake of Nicaragua, Ometepe is an island composed of two volcanoes and shares a similar shape to an hourglass. There isn't a traveller that wouldn’t be impressed by the natural sights and offerings of Ometepe Island, and it is admired for its diversity of experiences found in the many rainforests, nature reserves, flawless beaches, freshwater pools and archaeological sites.  

  • San Juan del Sur

    It might have once been a location where Survivor was filmed, however, this getaway serves a much greater purpose than being the backdrop to a television show. San Juan del Sur is one of the hotspots in Nicaragua for surfing, exploring, and relaxing on the beaches. Set on a horseshoe-shaped bay, the gentle pace of the area will leave you feeling instantly relaxed. You’ll never want to leave. 

  • Corn Islands

    Big Corn and Little Corn are two names you’ll want to keep firmly planted at the top of your must-see list when it comes to Nicaragua. Big Corn Island, can be reached by plane from the capital, Managua whereas Little Corn is accessible via a short boat ride. You can expect to be greeted with picture-perfect diving spots and colourful marine life, along with unobstructed sunsets.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    December to April

    Nicaragua has two distinct seasons: summer and winter, with the summer being incredibly hot and dry and this is known to be the high season from December through April. As one might expect, the high season is usually regarded as the best time to visit. Average temperatures during this time reach 32°C in most parts of the country and rarely fall below 21°C. Travellers should be wary of the mini-peaks that occur during Christmas, New Year and Easter in addition to the usual peak season. This is when locals head to the beach and hotels are at maximum capacity, so it is best to book ahead where possible.

  2. Low Season

    May to October

    There’s no denying that the months of May to October are defined as the low season due to heavier rainfall, however, it’s no reason to skip Nicaragua altogether during this time. It must be noted that the Pacific area is certainly drier than the Carribean areas, so depending on your activities you might find some restrictions on what you want to do, however if heavier rainfall doesn’t bother you or cause any major issues to your plans, you will enjoy lower prices and smaller crowds by travelling through this time. As for temperature, the average will be similar to the peak season (30°C in some parts and is unlikely to fall below 20°C). 

Nicaragua Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Nicaragua:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Nicaragua or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
  • Sustainable Tourism in Nicaragua

    Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge
    Located on a vast expanse of Nicaraguan jungle, Morgan’s Rock Ecolodge utilizes sustainably sourced wood for their furniture and bungalows. Moreover, their interior design consists of local artisans’ work as well as artwork inspired by indigenous cultures. Finally, the ecolodge protects the natural area against illegal logging, deforestation, and poaching by placing an emphasis on reforestation, environmental awareness, and education.

    Founded in 1989, SosteNica strives to provide smallholder Nicaraguan farmers and their communities with long-term sustainable, economical, and environmental benefits. Through SosteNica’s development model, these smallholder farmers gradually move from subsistence farming to farming that not only generates a rising standard of wealth and income, but also focuses on being ecologically sustainable.

    Sustainable Projects
    Among the different sustainable projects offered by Nicaragua is one led by a social enterprise called Unearth The World (UTW). By teaming up with a non-profit Spanish school and an eco-hotel, UTW aims to help over 60 people and their families through direct work at the hotel (teachers, kitchen staff, maintenance workers, etc.) or via community projects.

FAQs about Nicaragua

  • Do you tip in Nicaragua?

    There isn’t much of a tipping culture in Nicaragua, and while there are no hard and fast rules for tipping, it is recommended to leave a tip of 10% in a restaurant. 
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection can range in quality, but you should have no problem with day-to-day tasks like emailing or surfing the web while in Nicaragua. WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common.
  • Is the tape water safe to drink?

    Unfortunately not. Tap water is not considered safe in Nicaragua. Buy bottled water, or you can boil the tap water or use water purification pills.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout Nicaragua. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Public holidays include New Year's Day on January 1, Easter Week, Labor Day on May 1, Liberation Day on July 19, Battle of San Jacinto on September 14, Independence Day on September 15, All Souls’ Day on November 2, Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 and Christmas Day on December 25. 
  • What are the toilets like?

    The toilets in Nicaragua are both diverse and varied, and you will find a mix of sit-down toilets or shabby outhouses depending on where you are travelling. Don’t be surprised to find many toilets missing a toilet seat leaving you to squat over the bowl. Always carry spare toilet paper.