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Travel Guide: Nicaragua Itineraries

12th Oct 2011 2:01am | By Editor

Cram in colonial cities and Caribbean vibes.

In 2-3 days

Day 1

Make a dash for Granada and explore Central America’s oldest and most beautiful city. On the shores of Lake Nicaragua and founded around 1524, some streets look like they've scarcely changed since then. Besides stunning colonial architecture, particularly the magical dusk atmosphere around Plaza de Independencia, it's a good base for exploring the islands in Lake Nicaragua.

Days 2-3

From Granada, there’s easy access to Ometepe, a fantasy volcanic island on the great Lake Nicaragua. It’s worth spending a couple of nights here to to enjoy the majestic setting. If you fancy, take a side trip to Masaya, the arts and craft centre of the country, with its Mercado Nacional de Artesania.

In a week

Days 1-3

Explore Granada and Ometepe as outlined in the 2-3 day itinerary.

Days 4-7

Head across to Bluefields and take a boat out to the Corn Isles for nonchalant Caribbean vibes. You'll need to fly as the journey across will take a full day by bus. Very different from the rest of Nicaragua, it’s strictly reggae on the radio here and the toughest decision is deciding when to take your next dip in the balmy waters.

In two weeks +

Follow the above itinerary but with more time on your hands there is no excuse but to spend a little more time in the Corn Isles. In fact, it’s almost certain you won’t want to leave. Do some island hopping and spend a night in Bluefields as well.

If you’re craving a little adrenaline, head back to the Pacific beaches. Popular with surfers and sun-worshipping backpackers, Nicaragua has a smattering of quality surf breaks and beaches on the Pacific coast. Try Popoyo for several great wave-riding spots. You can rent a room from a family for only a dollar or two a day.

On the other hand, if you're all beached out, try the mountainous central region around Matagalpa — a hiking and bird watching hot spot. Close to 20% of the country's territory is protected as national parks and nature reserves, which contain five species of cats including jaguar and cougar and three monkey species.