Nicaragua

Nicaragua Travel Guide

Nicaragua is the largest of the Central American nations, yet it is also the most sparsely populated. Although Costa Rica, its neighbor to the south, has long been a bustling tourist destination, Nicaragua has only recently come into its own. Travel to Nicaragua if you’re looking for a rainforest adventure on the road less traveled—and less pricey. Nicaragua has the largest area of primary-growth rainforest north of the Amazon, six active volcanoes and 550 miles of coastline dotted with sandy beaches and sleepy surf towns. There are few ancient ruins left in Nicaragua, but picturesque colonial towns--like Granada and Leon--make up for it with their pastel-painted churches and vibrant local festivals.

The Pacific side of the country is more popular with visitors, since the roads are more navigable and tourist hot spots like Lake Nicaragua, Grenada and San Juan del Sur are clustered along the coastline. The Mosquito Coast is the nickname for the Caribbean side of the isthmus, so-called for the indigenous tribe native to the area and not the pesky bug—although there are plenty of those. Mosquito is remote and difficult to reach by car; however airplanes can be easily chartered to airstrip in Bluefields from the Managua airport. The beach town of Bluefields is the gateway to the charming Corn Islands and Pearl Keys, full of luscious creole cuisine, crystal blue lagoons and stunning white sand beaches. Check out the Travel + Leisure Nicaragua travel guide to find the best hotels, restaurants and destinations to explore in this beautiful country.

Things Not to Miss in Nicaragua

• Visit the Miraflor Nature Reserve to immerse yourself in native flora and fauna
 • Take a volcanic trek and go volcano-boarding on the black sand slopes of Cerro Negro
 • Go snorkeling off the Corn Islands and Pearl Keys.
 • Ride a horse on the beach.
 • Take a ferry ride from Granada on Lake Nicaragua to Ometepe Island and Las Isletas two of the 360 islets in Lake Nicaragua.
 • Catch a wave off the coast of San Juan del Sur
 • Admire the colonial architecture in Grenada

When to Go to Nicaragua

There are two seasons in Nicaragua, a wet winter season and a dry summer season. More people choose to visit Nicaragua in the summer (December to April) to avoid the daily rainfall of the winter (May to November). Even in the winter though, the Pacific Coast has dry mornings and rainy afternoons. The Caribbean coast is struck by tropical storms in September and October and generally hot and humid the rest of the year. Be sure to check with your doctor before going to Nicaragua for an up-to-date list of vaccines and malaria medicine, and be sure to bring plenty of bug spray.

Generally speaking, Nicaragua travel has been quite safe for tourists, however crime has been on the rise over the last few years. Tourists are often targeted for theft in cities, on the beaches and at roadblocks. As with any foreign travel, be sure to check the U.S. State Department’s website for updated information on how to travel safely in Nicaragua.

Articles about Nicaragua

Canada Get 50 percent off from Marriott Niagara Fallsview Hotel & Spa, whose classic rooms have dramatic, sweeping views of Niagara Falls. Niagra Wine Escape includes: • Up to two nights in a Fallsview room • Admission and tastings for two...
It was three days before I saw another person on my daily rambles along Playa Escondida. The man was kneeling by a scrub splashing sea water onto the olive-colored shell of a paslama sea turtle, which was sending up little puffs of sand with her p...
These five retreats around the world prove just how luxe a trip with the kids can be. Nicaragua: If the country is the next Costa Rica, then the Inn at Rancho Santana ($$) is its next great family getaway. The 2,700 acres along the Pacific coas...
T+L Pick: Nashville, Tennessee Nashville, Tennessee has always been home to country music but we’re noticing the rise of exciting, enterprising chefs. Start at Josephine, a farm-to-table-style spot in the 12 South area, then hit Pinewood Social...
Cross-cultural pollination means that both the croissant and the bagel have traveled far from home, and the “continental breakfast” still reigns supreme at hotels all over the world. But only in Japan will the morning meal offer dashi-maki tamago ...
I’m repelled by the prospect of traveling to a foreign place and locking myself into some posh compound for the duration. On the one hand, I will probably never go on one of those charity vacations where you perform worthy labor on behalf of poor ...
If you love to travel because you always learn something, then you probably love learning because it takes you somewhere new. The following itineraries may cover places you've already visited or they may include unexplored territories, but any of ...
We sped through the streets of Managua, avoiding oxcarts, stray dogs, secondhand school buses bursting with passengers, women carrying baskets of cheese-filled tortillas called quesillos, teenagers selling just about anything: newspapers, fruit dr...
Costa Rica may risk being overrun by tourists, but Nicaragua has the largest area of primary-growth rain forest north of the Amazon, hundreds of beaches, six active volcanoes, and plenty of sleepy surf towns. Since 2002, the government has created...
Edited by Amy Farley We partnered with Conservation International to develop a comprehensive green-hotel assessment test to learn what properties around the world are doing to conserve water and energy, eliminate waste, and support their local ha...