NICARAGUA IN 10 DAYS: ITINERARY
Have you thought about going to Nicaragua?
If you haven't, then now is the time to start.
If you have, then good for you, it is a hidden gem.
We were the ones who had never really considered it. Costa Rica? Definitely. But Nicaragua? Not so much.
But when your boyfriend's sister finds cheap flights roundtrip, what else can you do but say yes?
Luckily for us, it exceeded our non-existent expectations.
Neither so commonly visited as Costa Rica nor as intimidating as some other Central American countries, Nicaragua is the perfect mix of tourism infrastructure without feeling like a popular tourist destination.
So how should you spend 10 days in Nicaragua if you're lucky enough to have them?
Well, don't spend the first one sick with food poisoning like us.
Instead, skip straight from the airport in Managua to León because in the morning you'll be volcano boarding at Cerro Negro. We did some research: Bigfoot Hostel seemed to be a fan favourite, and you get lovely matching orange jumpsuits.
The next day explore the gritty León with it's vibrant colours. Visit the León Cathedral roof for a beautiful contrast of holy white against the colours of the city and the green vegetation on the horizon.
The next day transfer to Granada, which is widely regarded as less genuine but more idillic than León. If you're there before 5:30pm, make your way up Iglesia de la Merced for panoramic views as the sun sets and the colours transition from golds to pastels.
Afterwards, visit La Calzada for dinner and drink deals. Occasionally there will be street performers, though we saw none on our visit.
In the morning take a day trip out to Paradiso at Laguna De Apoyo, a resort on the crater lake with alcohol and every style of cuisine, free kayaking, and paddle boarding starting from $3 USD. The water is warm and it seems you have the entire lake to yourself.
You'll be travelling to Ometepe Island next. If you are looking for a place to stay, we highly recommend Finca Mystica. You will soon feel a part of Angela and Ryan's family when they greet you, show you around, share their story, and dine as a group in the evening. And, it will be some of the best food you'll eat: all homemade and homegrown.
You likely won't arrive early enough to participate in activities the first day as things on the island tend to shut down early. So on day two go kayaking on Rio Istian where you can see Boa Constrictors, turtles, and possibly Caiman alligators.
If you're adventurous, you'll tackle climbing Concepción in the morning. A tough hike with minimal views, you'll feel an immense sense of accomplishment if you manage to make it to the top.
Ask Ryan and he will help get both of the above's transport and tours booked at great rates.
San Juan del Sur could be your next and final destination, but we would say skip the party town and spend your last two days relaxing and surfing at nearby beach towns like Playa Maderas. Find a tour to see the turtles at Playa La Flor, you won't regret it!
If you have more time than we did, you're lucky and you should definitely add in the Corn Islands and Rio San Juan, but they require approximately an additional four and three days respectively.
You'll wish you had more time, but 10 days in Nicaragua is the perfect amount to make you want to visit again!
Have you been to Nicaragua? What were your favourites? Share in the comments!