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Top Nicaragua

Suggested Itineraries for Nicaragua


2 weeks- Classic Nicaragua

Day 1 and 2: Arrive in Managua and take in the capital鈥檚 handful of sites. Days 3-4: Move north to Leon, where you can visit the city鈥檚 churches and museums, climb Momotombo or Cerro Negro, tour the ruins of Le贸n Viejo, and relax at the beach in Poneloya. Days 5-6: Double back and go south of Managua to the colonial town of Granada. Enjoy the city鈥檚 graceful, historic core, take a boat ride through the islands and party at one of the discos on the lakeshore. Days 7-10: Head to the village of San Jorge, near Rivas, where you can catch the ferry to Isla Ometepe. Spend the next few days hiking, biking or horseback riding around Ometepe鈥檚 extraordinary landscapes. Return to Rivas. Days 11-12: Head to the coastal resort of San Juan del Sur, where you can relax on the beach, soak up the backpacker vibe and try your hand at surfing. Day 13: Head back to Rivas, then north to Masaya to stock up on souvenirs and visit the active volcano outside of town. Day 14: Return to Managua to catch your flight on onward bus.

2 weeks- Natural Thrills

Day 1: Arrive in Managua. Day 2-4: Head north to Le贸n, climb Momotombo or Cerro Negro, and kayak among the mangroves of the nearby Isla Juan de Venado. Day 5: Travel to the highland city of Estel铆, and then make arrangements to travel to Reserva Natural Miraflor. Day 6: Hike the cloud forest at Miraflor. Day 7: Take a travel day to get from Matagalpa to the village of San Jorge, via Managua and Rivas. Days 8-10: Take the ferry over to Isla Ometepe and explore the island鈥檚 volcanoes, forests and hiking trails, or try kayaking on the island鈥檚 rivers. Days 11-13: Catch the long boat ride to San Carlos, where you can explore the exotic R铆o San Juan and try fishing on Lake Nicaragua. Day 14: Take the long, bumpy bus  ride back to Managua.

1 week- Nica History

Day 1: Arrive in Managua and walk around the Plaza de la Revoluci贸n to check out the last remaining bits of pre-earthquake Managua, and then head to the Huellas de Acahualinca to see the oldest evidence of human settlement in Nicaragua. Days 2-3: Move on to Granada, a jewel of a city and home to a number of important colonial-era buildings and churches. Stop off at nearby Masaya, which has several landmarks related to its role in the revolution. Days 4-5: Double back to Le贸n, which has colonial churches and a number of museums that tell of the city鈥檚 long Sandinista history. Nearby, Le贸n Viejo, preserves the ruins of Nicaragua鈥檚 first capital.  Day 6: Head northeast to Estel铆, which was an important city during both the Sandinista revolution and the Contra War that followed. The city has the museums- and bullet holes- to prove it. Day 7: Hop a bus back to Managua, following the route taken by the Sandinista revolutionaries during their march on the city.

1 week- Volcanoes

Day 1: Arrive in Managua and catch a bus to the colonial city of Granada. Days 2-3: Explore the placid Volc谩n Mombacho, which towers over Granada, and the steaming, trembling craters at Volc谩n Masaya. Days 4-6: Head to Le贸n, where you can climb Momotombo and surf (or slide) down gravelly Cerro Negro. Day 7: Return to Managua.

1 week- Surfing Safari

Days 1-2: Arrive in Managua and head straight to Masachapa, the nearest surf beach. Days 3-4: Though the town itself backs up on a placid bay, this is a quintessential gringo surfing town. Good breaks can be found north and south of town, especially at Playa Maderas. Days 5-6: Head to Popoyo, northwest of Rivas. This is the most famous break in Nicaragua, and it rarely disappoints. Day 7: Catch the bus from Rivas back to Managua.

1 week- Caribbean Coast

Day 1-2: Fly from Managua to Bluefields, on the Atlantic. Soak up the unique culture, sample the fresh seafood, and take a day trip to Pearl Lagoon or Rama Key. Day 3-4: Take the ferry over to Big Corn Island and park yourself at a nice beach hotel, a good reward after the difficult crossing. Day 5-6: Take the ferry to tiny, wild Little Corn Island for some top-notch snorkeling or diving. Day 7: Catch a flight back from Big Corn to Managua.

1 week- Artesan铆as and Shopping

Day 1: Arrive in Managua and catch a bus to Masaya, home to the country鈥檚 best crafts market. Day 2-3: Finish up your shopping at Masaya and wind your way through the Pueblos Blancos, where many of the crafts are produced. Day 4: Head to Comoapa, near Boaco. It is the center of Nicaragua鈥檚 straw-working industry and a great place to pick up traditional hats and baskets. Day 5-6: Move north to Estel铆. The traditional, agricultural town has a reputation for producing fine leather goods, soapstone carvings and pottery. It鈥檚 also the place to tour cigar factories and pick up some stogies. Day 7: Catch a bus to Managua and finish up your shopping at the expansive Huembes Market.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Nicaragua : Women Travelers in Nicaragua, Organized Tours Before Entering Nicaragua, Safety in El Castillo, Safety, Safety in Nicaragua, Taxi Safety in Managua and Safety.

By Michelle Lillie
I am currently living on my fourth continent. I think that backpacks are one of the greatest inventions of all times. I adhere to the idea that if...
05 Oct 2009

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