Active volcanoes, Pacific and Caribbean coasts & beautiful cities

Nicaragua Map
Golfo de Fonseca

Golfo de Fonseca

The most scenic border crossing in Central America

Lean back and enjoy the view!

Potosi

Potosi

The perfect last stop in Nicaragua

Relax before crossing the border!

Léon

Léon

A bustling city & great landscapes

Enjoy all Nicaragua has to offer!

 

Isla Ometepe

Isla Ometepe

A magical island

Charming city, volcanos and beaches

Granada

Granada

A picturesque colonial city

Stroll around and enjoy the flair!

Masaya

Masaya

A charismatic town

Embrace Nica’s culture and Masaya volcano

Travel duration: at least 2 weeks

Best time to visit: October – June

Budget: 40 € per day

Nicaragua seems to have it all: A rich culture, lush vegetation, 500 km of coastline on the Caribbean and Pacific, laid-back surfing villages and picturesque colonial towns. To top it all off, there are six active and 13 inactive volcanoes to explore in Nicaragua. Backpacking in Nicaragua is very easy: the country is cheap, the people are friendly and the infrastructure is very good.

Compared to Costa Rica, we find backpacking in Nicaragua much more authentic and therefore of course more interesting. Another plus point: Nicaragua is definitely one of the cheapest countries in Central America.

  • Culture 90% 90%
  • Activities 100% 100%
  • Volcanoes 110% 110%
  • Beaches 100% 100%

Nicaragua was the starting point of our first trip through Central America. We received a super friendly welcome and were amazed at what we saw. In addition to the warm-hearted inhabitants, we were totally surprised by the diversity of the country. Nicaragua is also a really easy country to travel to, even on a small budget.

Why travel to Nicaragua?

Beaches in Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, you will find incredibly beautiful beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides.

Nicaragua’s Pacific coast

The Pacific side is much livelier. Here you will find hip little surfing towns such as the charming San Juan del Sur. Further north you will also find quieter beaches.

The sunsets on the Pacific side of Nicargua are beautiful everywhere and an absolute highlight.

Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast

The Caribbean coast is much more difficult to reach and therefore much less developed for tourism. In addition to the authentic town of Bluefields, the two islands of Little & Big Corn Island are of interest to visitors. Both islands are fantastically beautiful and, compared to other Caribbean destinations, quite budget-friendly!

 

More tips on the beaches in Nicaragua:

beach in Agadir, Morocco
Morocco surfing

Volcanoes in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a geological hotspot – 19 volcanoes are lined up along the west coast of the Central American country.
The volcanoes in Nicaragua are not only fun to climb, but also provide an incredible backdrop for an abundance of natural beauty, including beaches, forests and lakes. The most popular volcanoes for hiking and climbing include Cerro Negro, an active volcano that last erupted in 1999, Momotombo, a symmetrical stratovolcano that towers over Lake Managua, and Concepcion, one of Nicaragua’s most famous volcanoes. You can even see shimmering lava at the Masaya volcano, an active volcano that has been spewing lava and ash since December 2015.

Explore the volcanoes in Nicaragua:

Colonial cities in Nicaragua

Apart from controversies and exploitation, centuries of Spanish rule in Nicaragua have left behind an impressive colonial architecture. The most striking examples can be found in the cities of Granada and León, which have a number of grandiose churches and cathedrals. But there are also many hidden gems to discover in the smaller towns and villages such as Masaya.

 

The most beautiful colonial towns in Nicargua:

Granada, Nicaragua: dani in front of church
Morocco surfing

Food culture in Nicaragua

Nicaraguan food is hearty and filling, with an emphasis on beans, rice and meat.
One of the most popular dishes is gallo pinto, a mixture of rice and beans that is usually served for breakfast.Another popular dish is vigoron, a boiled yucca served with coleslaw and pork sprouts.If you’re looking for something sweet, you should try tres leches, a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk and served with whipped cream. No matter what you fancy, you’ll find it in Nicaragua. Admittedly, Nicaraguan cuisine is not very vegetarian-friendly.

Cultural festivals & events

One of the most famous cultural festivals is the Fiesta de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, which is celebrated in August in Managua and other parts of the country. During this festival, Managua’s patron saint is honored with colorful parades, traditional music, dance performances and lively street parties.

Another important event is La Purísima, a religious festival celebrated in December in honor of the Virgin Mary. During La Purísima, Nicaraguans decorate their homes with elaborate altars and take part in nightly processions where hymns are sung and traditional foods such as rosquillas and nacatamales are eaten.

In addition, the Gritería on December 7 is a unique Nicaraguan tradition in which people go from door to door to sing praises to the Virgin Mary and receive small gifts in return. These cultural festivals and events give visitors a fascinating insight into Nicaraguan culture and offer the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country’s living traditions.

Practical travel tips for Nicaragua

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What language is spoken in Nicaragua?

Spanish!

What is the best time to travel to Nicaragua?

In general, the dry season from November to April is the most popular time to travel. During these months, the weather is usually sunny and dry, which is ideal for beach vacations, hiking and sightseeing. The temperatures are pleasantly warm and there is less rainfall.

However, if you are interested in bird watching, the rainy season from May to October might be better as the nature is greener and there is more bird activity. Note, however, that there can be frequent rain showers during the rainy season. Ultimately, the best time to travel to Nicaragua depends on your personal preferences and the activities you plan to do during your stay

Is Nicargua safe?

Nicaragua is a safe country to travel to, apart from the relatively rapid emergence of political unrest. Of course you have to pay attention to certain things:

- After dark, you should travel by cab, especially in the larger towns

- Do not carry your cell phone and expensive items too obviously

What is the currency in Nicargua?

Costa Rican Colones and US Dollars

Public transportation in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a cheap and easy travel destination for those who travel a lot. The local buses are North American-style school buses. However, there are a growing number of express minibuses that operate on popular routes and offer cheaper fares that can only be paid in Córdoba currency - as opposed to dollars or euros, which are now used in most parts of Central America (although not always). Most cross-country rides start between 4am and 7am and run about every thirty minutes; longer rides cost between $1-$20 depending on how far you want to travel along the Pacific coast of this border region! Some information may also appear on the front.

Internet and SIM cards in Nicaragua

Claro or Tigo (formerly Movistar) are the two largest telephone providers in Nicaragua. I have used both and have had good experiences. I recommend that you have the SIM card activated in the store. Make sure you take your passport with you! Both Movistar and Claro also work in Costa Rica.

Can I drink the tap water in Nicargua?

After a personal experience with some parasites: The tap water in Nicaragua is not suitable for drinking! Take a water filter with you to get clean and cool drinking water.

What should I look out for on my trip?

Garbage: You will often find food vendors selling typical Nicaraguan dishes for the road. They are not only delicious, but also cheap. To avoid plastic packaging, you should buy your food at the bus stations and have it filled into your foldable container. Take your water filter bottle with you so you don't have to buy bottled water.

Sunscreen: Protect marine life and wear reef-friendly sunscreen!

gate to market in Masaya, Nicaragua

Packing list Nicargua

Nicaragua is very diverse and offers plenty of variety. Take a look at our packing list and get ready for an incredible adventure!

Are you traveling to Nicaragua?

Let us inspire you!
Other destinations

Our Nicaragua itinerary

Copan |  A pleasant if not surprising stop in Honduras

Copan | A pleasant if not surprising stop in Honduras

We traveled to Central America a couple of times and had the chance to see several Maya sites along the way. Each impressive in its own way. Contrary to other Maya ruins across Central America. You’ll often have Copan to yourself. The mysterious archaeological site boasts remarkable hieroglyphics and sculptures. On top of that, the town of Copan itself is drop-dead charming.

Léon | City, beach and volcanos

Léon | City, beach and volcanos

Our love affair with Leon started on Valentine’s day. Contrary to Granada, Nicaragua’s second largest city feels much more authentic and is not overrun by tourists. The drop-dead gorgeous city manages to maintain it’s genuine charm. Just outside of Léon, numerous volcanos wait for you to climb or surf them. And as if this wasn’t enough, some of Nicaragua’s most beautiful beach and surf spots are just around the corner.