Nicaragua in 12 Days: Beach, Jungle & Historic Highlights
On this 12-day adventure, travelers explore some of Nicaragua’s top destinations, including culture-filled colonial cities, smoldering volcanoes, the pristine Pacific coast, and remote isles and jungle.
Day 1: Arrive in Nicaragua and transfer to the colonial city of León and the Hotel El Convento, a 17th-century-convent-turned-boutique hotel in the heart of the city.
Day 2: Get acquianted with the history of León and Nicaragua on a morning walking tour. Visit Central America’s largest cathedral and learn about the country’s revolutionary past via street art, murals, museums, and local experts. Enjoy a free afternoon exploring more city sights.
Day 3: Head to the base of Telica Volcano and the San Jacinto bubbling mud pots, a geothermal area dotted with small craters of boiling mud and hot springs. Afterwards, transfer to Matagalpa—one of Nicaragua’s most mountainous regions—and the Selva Negra Ecolodge, located in a cloud forest.
Day 4: Spend the morning learning how Nicaraguan coffee is grown and harvested. In the afternoon, explore Selva Negra’s 300-acre nature reserve via winding hiking trails.
Day 5: Visit Masaya Volcano’s smoking crater before heading to Pueblos Blancos, a handful of artisan communities renowned for their ceramics and other handicrafts. Afterwards, head to the picturesque city of Granada and Hotel Real La Merced, a fully restored colonial mansion.
Day 6: Start your day with a private walking tour of Granada. A local guide will help you discover local sights, including the commercial market, La Merced church (with its incredible views), and artisan workshops that produce everything from piñatas to hammocks. Enjoy a free afternoon exploring more of the city or set out by kayak for Las Isletas, a series of small isles that boast a breadth of birdlife and traditional fishing communities.
Day 7: Head by ferry to island of Ometepe, home to two towering volcanoes and vast jungles. Stay at the century-old Finca de la Isla, a comfortable lakefront lodge with stunning views.
Day 8: Set out for Ometepe’s Mirador del Diablo (Devil’s Lookout) for incredible island views. Afterwards, visit the Charco Verde nature reserve, which is home to large families of howler monkeys and birds like cormorants and egrets. Take a refreshing dip at Ojo de Agua swimming hole.
Day 10: Relax on the beach or visit La Flor Wildlife Refuge, a large, protected stretch of beach and dry forest where sea turtles nest at different times of year. Hike along the refuge’s network of trails while looking for howler monkeys, iguanas, and various bird species.
Day 11: Grab a board and enjoy a half-day surfing lesson in San Juan del Sur, which is known for serving up excellent waves. Spend the afternoon exploring town or lazing in the sun.
Day 12: Transfer to the Managua airport for your departure flight.