If you're unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is Nicaragua, you're not alone! Rest assured, though, there's a lot to do. Here are our favorites!
If you're traveling to Nicaragua, you'll likely stay for at least part of your trip in Granada. It's one of the largest and most historically important cities in Nicaragua, and just outside the city is another landmark worth exploring: Masaya volcano.
Volcanos are immense, powerful spectacles that will put the fear of God in anyone, and Masaya has an option that doesn't exist at many tourist-accessible volcanoes: the opportunity to actually see the lava (safely of course)!
From a distance, you'll be able to start into the volcano and see the lava bubble and smolder. Seeing it at night is particularly exciting as the lava glows even brighter, and there are reasonably priced night tours that will give you some history as well.
If you're in staying in Granada, it definitely makes sense to check out Masaya, especially since it's only a 30-minute drive from town.
Some foods don't sound appealing whatsoever but then turn out to be delicious. That's certainly the case for the chocolate pudding fruit in Nicaragua.
The fruit is a local delicacy that, when ripened, produces a custard-like pudding with a dark-chocolate appearance. Some taste strong flavors of chocolate while others report a fruity profile.
You'll find it mixed into cakes, ice creams, mousse, and milkshakes, and the best part of the chocolate pudding fruit is the fact that it's healthy! Mother would be proud.
Chocolate is actually one of the most wide-spread crops in Nicaragua, so beyond the faux-chocolate fruit, you'll also want to sample some of their locally made chocolate.
Geothermally heated waters are all the rage in places like Iceland, and Nicaragua has its own local brand of volcano water at Laguna de Apoyo.
In the caldera of an extinct volcano, tourists will find a naturally heated lake with a depth of roughly 574 feet.
Laguna de Apoyo is close to Managua and Granada, and there are rental shops nearby that offer paddleboards and kayaks to tourists looking to spend some R&R time in the waters.
Granada has no shortage of entertainment options, and Calle La Calzada is the main street in the city. It has one of the best-reviewed hotels, Hotel Dario, and it also has a wide assortment of great restaurants and trendy bars. The street comes alive at night with artists and vendors setting up shop, and a night on La Calzada will show you what a night out in Nicaragua is really like!
Nicaragua isn't always first to mind when it comes to a vacation retreat, but maybe it should be! The Corn Islands are located off the Caribbean coast and offer many of the options that the typical Caribbean island would.
Snorkeling, scuba diving, or just plain old laying on a lounger with a drink and a book are easy choices to make on the Corn Islands. They're separated into two islands, Big Corn, and Little Corn. Little Corn is more suitable for backpackers as there are fewer resort options and more hostel type accommodations, but Big Corn has large resorts, abundant restaurants, and of course, higher prices. You can boat between the islands if you want to check them both out.
If you've never gone scuba diving before but are interested in getting your certification, this is the place for you. Little Corn Island is one of the cheapest places in the world to get your certification, and once you have it, you'll find dive prices to be exceedingly reasonable. Once you're in the water, you'll be treated to swim with barracudas, parrotfish, nurse sharks, and so much more.
In Northern Nicaragua sits the Miraflores national park, a prized gem of the country and an excellent place to hike, relax, and enjoy peace and quiet.
Due to the size and seclusion, you'll find few other tourists along your jungle trek, and you can hike a good portion of it in a day or extend it into multiple days. There are even lodging options to stay with families in small communities throughout Estelli, where the park is located.
One day treks with affordable meals and guides are very reasonably priced, and you'll see beautiful streams, trees, and animals.
Not only is Nicaragua full of amazing activities (even more than we could list), it's also still not as overblown by tourists as some other destinations. That means rock-bottom prices, peace and privacy, and very accommodating locals. You will definitely not be bored on a trip to Nicaragua!