Nicaragua: The Perfect 10-Day Itinerary

Our Nicaragua itinerary will help you to decide what places you must visit and where to travel in this beautiful Central American country.
 

Little known, Nicaragua, the largest Central American country deserves your attention. We've created this detailed 10-day travel itinerary to help you with planning your limited time in the country. From beaches to volcanoes and colonial cities, Nicaragua has it all and should not be missing on your bucket list of countries you must visit.


From all the countries we have visited in Central America, Nicaragua was the one we knew the least about, and we were not sure what can we expect in terms of security, natural attractions, architecture or cuisine.

It might be a bit of shocking experience if you are crossing borders from quite developed Costa Rica to a third-world country Nicaragua or if this is the first visit for you in this part of the world.

But we came prepared after having spent almost a year in South and Central American countries, so loud drivers honking their horns, crooked taxi drivers and piles of trash lining the road, did not surprise us that much.

Nicaragua itinerary must include places like Leon, Granada, and Ometepe.

This Central American nation has been increasingly popular among travelers until last year, April 2018 to be exact when outbreaks of violent protest against the government took place and since then the country tries to maintain its stability and economic growth.

It is pretty hard though when many foreigners living permanently in Nicaragua and owning hotels and restaurants have fled the country, and many potential travelers who had already planned their itineraries in Nicaragua decided to cancel the entire trip.

But we will talk about safety in the country in another post.

For now, we would like to emphasize that we visited Nicaragua in March/April 2019 and haven't had or encountered anything even close to a problem.

That's why we have created this perfect 10-day itinerary for Nicaragua.

To inspire you to visit this country boasting with beautiful beaches, colorful colonial towns, and towering volcanoes and rather than backing away, you should now take advantage of not that crowded streets, available tours, and low prices!

Our Nicaragua itinerary will show you the most beautiful places to visit and best things to do while you are there.

THINGS TO DO IN NICARAGUA

I saw somewhere a line that Nicaragua looks like Costa Rica a decade or two ago before tourism took over.

We haven't been to Costa Rica that long time ago, actually we visited it only before we crossed borders to Nicaragua so cannot say whether it is true or not, but Nicaragua, compared to Costa Rica is undoubtedly more laidback, less traveled and less developed.

We enjoyed our stay in Nicaragua and would love to come back.

It is a place where you can do adventurous activities such as volcano hiking, volcano boarding or watching boiling lava bubbling under the surface. It is also a country of several peaceful and colorful colonial cities with a unique charm, deep crater lakes, and forests alive with wildlife.

Nicaragua is also a country where you can completely unwind by the sea, relax with your book and get up only when you decide to have another drink or a surf lesson.

You will visit volcanoes, colonial cities, lakes and learn how to surf in the Pacific Ocean with our Nicaragua itinerary.

NICARAGUA 10-DAY ITINERARY

Because Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, most of the travelers stick to the Pacific coast as it is much easier, distances between points of interests are not that vast, and overall there is a lot to see and do within 10 days to two weeks which is the usual length people are used to stay in Nicaragua.

In case you have more time, it is worth to visit Nicaraguan beach paradise Corn Islands - but either prepare yourself for a long journey, or you will need to spend some cash on a flight ticket.

Nicaragua is a diverse country in Central America often skipped by tourists.

For the same reason, we had skipped Somoto Canyon, because it would have either set us back at least $75 per person or we would have lost three days, and because of the dry season and lack of water, we did not want to sacrifice either money nor our time.

This itinerary is the exact program we followed in Nicaragua and were absolutely satisfied with it. We don't have a feeling we have missed out anything and had plenty of time to enjoy each destination fully.

Happy planning!

You can find inspiration in our Nicaragua travel itinerary.

HOW TO READ THE PERFECT NICARAGUA ITINERARY

We crossed borders to Nicaragua from Costa Rica, so San Juan del Sur was for us a logical first destination on our travel itinerary.

If you fly into Managua, you have several options on how to narrow down your personal itinerary.

Every point of interest on the Pacific coast of the country is quite close to each other, so from Managua, you can travel to Leon first and leave relaxing on the beach for your last days in the country instead.

In that case, read this itinerary from the end to the beginning.

Nicaragua is a country of volcanoes and you will see plenty of them while traveling around.

DAY 1 - 3 SAN JUAN DEL SUR

The chances are that if traveling by plane, your first destination in Nicaragua will be the capital city, Managua.

Unfortunately, this city, unlike many other capitals around the world is not really worth your time, so we recommend you to jump on the first bus and travel straight to another worthwhile destination on your itinerary, San Juan del Sur.

San Juan del Sur is maybe not that unspoiled as Corn Islands, but it has no shortage of beautiful beaches to keep you busy (or rather lazy) for at least three days, and another plus is that this destination is easily accessible when your time is limited.

Nicaragua is now perfectly safe to travel.

You can base yourself in the town with the same name, San Juan del Sur, or you can stay on beaches nearby (Maderas beach is perfect), enjoy more relaxed vibe and travel to the town only when you need to go shopping, when you want to visit the local market, hike to the statue overlooking the bay or when you want to try local cuisine.

We stayed in San Juan del Sur even one day longer, so if your time allows, do the same.

This is also a popular place for surf lovers!

Where To Stay In San Juan del Sur

Budget: Estrella Beachfront Hotel | Mid-range: Hush Maderas | Luxury: Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan's Rock

Around 10 days would be an optimal length of your stay in Nicaragua.

DAY 4 - 5 OMETEPE ISLAND

From San Juan del Sur, carry on to Ometepe Island, a stunning island with two towering volcanoes in the middle.

It is a nice introduction to Nicaragua's volcanoes - these are for sure not the last volcanoes you are going to see in the country.

Day hike to Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island is a must-do activity while in Nicaragua.

To enjoy the most of your time on the island, we recommend you to rent a scooter right after your arrival and spend an afternoon cruising around the island and admiring incredible views of two perfectly conical-shaped volcanoes.

Go to bed early as the next day is your hiking day.

You can hike either Concepcion Volcano which is higher and harder than the other one, Volcano Maderas. Be prepared for a very long, yet rewarding day out and stunning views.

It does not really matter on which part of the island you decide to stay because every accommodation will help you arrange scooter and guide for hiking the volcano.

Where To Stay In Ometepe Island

Budget: Hostel Los Abuelos | Mid-range: Eco-Lodge El Porvenir | Luxury: Totoco Eco-lodge

Ometepe Island is all about climbing volcanoes and offers one of the best day hikes in Nicaragua.

DAY 6 - 8 GRANADA

Granada is Nicaragua's top travel destination.

It is so renowned that many people revolve their entire holiday around this city, and don't travel to another destination at all, or some travelers are so enchanted by the city's charm that they decide to stay here a couple of weeks to fully enjoy the atmosphere.

There are several reasons why is Granada such a hot spot.

You can admire the colonial history and architecture in Granada, Nicaragua.

First, it is a beautiful colonial city where you can wander its streets all day long and not get bored.

Second, the surrounding is just lovely - you can visit Masaya Volcano at night and observe how the lava is boiling in the crater, you can tour Masaya Village nearby, kayak on Nicaragua lake, the largest lake of Nicaragua or spend a day by Laguna Apoyo.

As you can see, there is plenty of things to do in Granada, and all activities will easily keep you busy for three days or more.

Also, do not forget to stop by in the local market!

Where To Stay In Granada

Budget: El Arca de Noe | Mid-range: Hotel Dario | Luxury: Hotel Plaza Colon - Granada Nicaragua

Granada is our favorite city in Nicaragua thanks to its positive vibes and colonial architecture.

DAY 9 - 10 LEON

Leon has its rightful place on backpacker list of must-visit places in Central America.

Not only it is a charming city with many churches and cheap eateries, but it is also a place which had played an important role in Nicaragua's history - if you are interested to know more about it, take a guided tour and visit a museum in the city center.

Leon is a vibrant city in Nicaragua.

After one day wandering Leon's streets, you cannot miss the most popular and ultimate adventure the next day. A thing which draws an uncountable number of travelers to Nicaragua - volcano boarding from Cerro Negro.

If we haven't mentioned it before, city of Leon lies in the volcanic chain, so apart from the most famous one, Cerro Negro, you can visit many other volcanoes in the near surrounding and do either hiking to their tops or participate in sunset or sunrise tours.

Because this is your last destination in Nicaragua, you can travel back to Managua if you have a flight back home from there, or you can carry on by tourist shuttle to Honduras, El Salvador or even Guatemala.

Where To Stay In Leon

Budget: Bigfoot Hostel | Mid-range: Hotel Cacique Adiact | Luxury: Hotel la Perla Leon

Leon city is a must visit for an extremely fun and crazy activity called volcano boarding.

TRAVEL INSURANCE - SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE

We never leave our home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials.

Travel smarter and safer!


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