While travel may be temporarily off the cards due to the COVID-19 situation, we’re always allowed to dream about our next travel destination. In recent years, travel to Central America – especially Costa Rica, has started to pick up. However, if you’re looking for an inexpensive rainforest adventure with gorgeous coastlines and picturesque towns, Nicaragua needs to be on your list.
Nicaragua is the largest of the Central American nations, but is also the most sparsely populated. With six active volcanos, a long stretch of coastline that is dotted with sandy beaches, along with pastel-painted churches, you’ll definitely be blown away by this beautiful nation. There’s plenty to do in Nicaragua from visiting the charming Corn Islands and Pearl Keys to taking a dip in crystal blue lagoons. To help you get started on your Nicaragua adventure, we’ll take a look at three activities that you must do during your Nicaragua vacation.
Before diving in, a common question that is usually asked is when’s the best time to go to Nicaragua. It’s important to know that there are two seasons there – a wet winter season, and a dry summer season. Most people choose to visit during the dry summer season and avoid heading to Nicaragua during the September and October period, as it’s generally struck by tropical storms.
With over 300 days a year of offshore winds, it’s no wonder that Nicaragua is such a popular surfing destination. It’s far less crowded than its nearby neighbors and has consistent waves year-round. The best part? There’s a wide range of accommodation and surfing camps to suit all budgets.
The best time to visit Nicaragua for surfing is between the months of April and September as the southern hemisphere starts creating south swells which Nicaragua and the rest of Central America will be exposed to. With warm temperatures, minimal crowds, and average surf, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t head to Nicaragua for some fantastic surfing.
Nicaragua also has more than 250km of coastline, so here’s a snapshot of a few of the most well-known breaks in Nicaragua. The first is Playgrounds, and it’s called that because it’s a literal playground for surfers with plenty of fun breaks. You will just need to watch out for sea urchins while you’re surfing there, and you’ll need to get there by boat.
Popoyo is another spot and is one of the most well-known spots in Nicaragua. There are epic waves and you might even be able to snag some incredible barrels as well. If you’re looking to try out different surfs, Playa Santana is a great beach to head to as it’s relatively long. This beach is also popular with locals so you might even get to take part or watch a surf contest. Manzanillo is a gorgeous beach and a must if you plan on surfing in Nicaragua. Plenty of individuals flock there for its beauty as the beach has a picturesque cliff backdrop with crashing waves that’s perfect for surfing.
With plenty of mountains, riversides, and volcano bases, one of the best ways to discover Nicaragua is through horseback riding. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings of Nicaragua and be one with its immensely beautiful nature.
One of the best places to go horseback riding in Nicaragua is Pochomil beach. This gorgeous stretch of sand is the perfect place to hear the crashing sound of the waves and take in either a sunrise or sunset. Pochomil beach is also exceedingly quiet and isn’t overrun by tourists so you can take the peaceful atmosphere and horseback ride at your own place – making this ideal for both beginner and experienced riders.
Many resorts, such as the Gran Pacifica Resort also have horseback riding in Nicaragua. All you have to do is make arrangements with the resort and you’re able to explore the beach and grounds surrounding the resort completely on horseback. These trail guides are also usually guided so you’ll be in good hands and are a fantastic activity for the family to enjoy together.
Another place that you can enjoy horseback riding is at Ometepe Island. There you’ll get to explore jungle pathways or take a leisurely ride along the beach. You’ll also get to spot some birds and animals that reside on this lovely island paradise.
If you plan on heading to Nicaragua to relax and just soak in the sights, that’s absolutely alright as well. A great spot to unwind and relax is at The Corn Islands. It’s one place that you absolutely have to visit in Nicaragua for white pristine sands and gorgeous blue water. There, you can enjoy laidback island life and choose to either soak up some sun or scuba dive.
Alternatively, head on some tours at Nicaragua from learning how chocolate is made to visiting a coffee farm. Head to El Castillo de Cacao for the chocolate tour and you’ll get to check out the factory and taste some delectable samples. For delicious coffee, stop at Selva Negra to taste the best of Nicaragua’s coffee scene. Since tours only happen once or twice daily, it’s best to book ahead so you won’t get disappointed.
Other things to explore in Nicaragua include heading to Cathedral de Leon – the largest cathedral in South America, where you’ll get to have amazing views of the surrounding volcanoes. Don’t forget to also photograph the colonial buildings of Granada as houses of every color line the streets.
After a day of exploration, why not unwind with a chocolate massage at luxe Mansion de Chocolate? This colonial building turned hotel has a unique chocolate massage that’ll get you all lathered up in chocolate before scrubbing it off and finishing off with an invigorating massage that’s sure to have you feeling refreshed. After your massage, finish off your day with an incredible Pacific sunset at any one of Nicaragua’s amazing beaches.
There you have it, three amazing activities that you can do in Nicaragua. While you’re there, don’t forget to also try the local food. Nicaragua has plenty of delicious delights such as grilled chicken (Pollo Asado), sweet roasted plantains (maduros), and a dish made with yucca, cabbage, and chicharron (vigneron). You’re sure to enjoy your stay in Nicaragua, and it’s certainly going to be an unforgettable vacation.
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