Nicaragua — Overview
Nicaragua is the largest of the Central American nations, and with a long coastline on the Caribbean Sea, and another on the Pacific Ocean, you can be assured of an amazing beach or two from which to enjoy the waves in this tropical country. Also containing the largest freshwater lake in Central America, and home to Central America’s longest river, water certainly plays a central theme in this country’s appeal. Indeed, the country is dubbed is the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’, and with stunning peaks to complement the serenity of the water you can be guaranteed spectacular scenery wherever you go.
As part of the “fiery rim” of the Pacific, Nicaragua contains several active volcanoes which are not only beautiful to look at, but also popular tourist destinations for those willing to get close. Quite spectacularly, you can see some of these volcanoes from Lake Nicaragua, which is Central America’s largest lake, as their billowing tops emerge out of the water, creating a true delight for the eye. With its ideal southwest facing beaches on the Pacific Ocean, Nicaragua is a popular surfing destination. Visitors can experience dense rainforest and a different way of life on Nicaragua’s ‘Mosquito’ coast, or head out to the Corn Islands for a slice of Caribbean island life.
The cities of Granada or Leon are great places to go to experience some typical Nicaraguan culture. In these ex-colonial towns tourists marvel at the architecture and are treated to some true Nicaraguan hospitality. You will find a range of accommodation options here to suit all budgets, and the best range of restaurants to sample some of the local cuisine. If you head out to the mountainous region of Matagalpa you will be offered comfortable lodgings full of rustic charm. The coastal regions and the outlying islands also provide suitable accommodation to relax and take in the surrounding beauty.
A boat trip out on Lake Nicaragua provides an inspiring experience, with smoking volcano tops jutting out of the water; this spectacle is best witnessed at sunset where the sky turns a shade of pink. There are also many small islands in the lake teeming with wildlife, great for a daytime excursion. Hiking the numerous cloud forests in Nicaragua also provides a great opportunity to get up close with some wonderful tropical nature, or exploring the jungle on the Mosquito Coast or Caribbean Islands also will reward the visitor with some amazing wildlife spotting. To encounter Nicaragua’s famed volcanoes, sand-boarding on the black sands of Cerro Negro is a popular activity.
The main airport in Nicaragua is in the nation’s capital city, Managua, with several direct flights serving US cities. It is easy to get around Nicaragua using the bus network. There are also boats and ferry services to the lake islands, and this is also a popular way of traveling to towns around the large lakes. There are regular boat departures to the Corn Islands in the Caribbean, and it is also possible to fly there. Taxis are available in the major cities, and car rental is an option in Nicaragua.
- Climb the volcanic wonder at Cerro Negro and experience the intriguing black sands
- Soak up the culture and the good times at the colonial cities of Granada or Leon
- Visit the largest lake in Central America at Lake Nicaragua
- Catch a wave on the Pacific Coast at San Juan del Sur
- Get down to the coastal jungle on the Mosquito Coast
- Cool off in the cloud forests of Estelí
- Experience life at altitude in the mountainous region of Matagalpa
- Venture out into the Caribbean Sea with a trip to the Corn Islands