The largest lake in Central America (8,264 sq km - 5,135 sq mi) and home to the worldâ€™s only freshwater sharks, as well as tarpon, swordfish and sawfish and a rich selection of bird species, the Lago de Nicaragua can be seen on a daytrip boat tour, or through longer stays on one of its islands. The original site for a US-sponsored trans-oceanic canal route, rivers and tributaries run from Lago de Nicaragua to the Caribbean.
There are hundreds of small islands scattered across the lake. The biggest island, Ometepe, features two majestic volcanoes, excellent hiking trails and some interesting pre-Colombian stone statues and petroglyphs. There is a stretch of clean sand at Santo Domingo Beach on this island; although keep in mind that Lago de Nicaragua is always murky. The best way to reach Ometepe is by ferry from San Jorge, just south of Managua or by speedboat from Granada or San Carlos.
Perhaps the best variety of birdlife is found on the Solentiname Archipelago. These 36 islands are home to over 80 species of birds as well as a wide variety of monkeys. San Carlos is the closest mainland launching point to this archipelago.