12 THINGS TO DO IN NICARAGUA
12 Things to do in Nicaragua
Our honeymoon to Nicaragua was a trip we will never forget. We scratched so many things off of our bucket list, and had truly authentic experiences that made us fall in love with the country. If you want a vacation that immerses you in a different culture, go to Nicaragua NOW, before all the other tourists do! Here are my favorite things to do in Nicaragua (granted there are a lot of other cool excursions, such as volcano boarding!)
1. See the bubbling lava inside the active Masaya Volcano!
The Masaya Volcano is located near the capitol of Managua and is also a quick drive from Granada. It is one of the most visited volcanos in Nicaragua, and only costs around $10 a person. I suggest going in the evening to catch the red lava glow. We were lucky enough to be at the crater during sunset, and caught some incredible colors! It is an active volcano, and is still very dangerous, so only a certain amount of visitors are allowed at the crater for 10 minutes. Also, you must be in a car to go up to the crater, so either grab a taxi (cheapest option) or go with a tour guide. It is definitely an experience you will want to check off your bucket list!
2. Explore the colorful colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua
Granada reminded us a lot of our hometown of New Orleans. The colonial city is full of colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, horse carriages and a laid back atmosphere. Wander the quiet streets, explore the central square, and get rehydrated with a fresh coconut. The mid-day heat is really impressive in the summer!
3. Get lost in the Granada Central Market and try some homemade soup!
My husband is a lover of food and cooking, so we just had to explore the central market. The market is like a maze, and you can find everything from clothes to fresh eggs and chicken. We were exploring the market one afternoon and decided to try some authentic soup from a local vendor. She had a huge pot that looked like it had been cooking all day. The soup was unlike anything I've ever tasted. It had an oxtail broth with earthy corn, pumpkin seeds, and many other fresh ingredients. We sat and ate in this little room by ourselves, overlooking the town and a beautiful volcano. It was one of my favorite experiences in Nicaragua.
4. Walk up the ancient spiral staircase of the Iglesia La Merced Church.
The Iglesia La Merced is a beautiful historic church in Granada that was built in 1534. The church offers a panoramic view of the colonial city. It only costs $2 a person to go up in the bell tower and see sights of Granada from above.
5. Stay at the Tribal Hotel
Okay I might be a little biased, but this is one of the coolest hotels I've ever stayed at. The Tribal Hotel is a boutique hotel that has a small number of rooms and some of the nicest staff members I've ever met. The hotel is tucked away on a quiet street in Granada, and has a beautiful courtyard with a pool. All of the rooms have a private balcony with unique tribal decor. A delicious hefty breakfast is also included, that was so big I could never finish it. Also, the cocktails are some of the best I've ever had, all made with fresh squeezed fruit juice. I can't think of one reason why anyone shouldn't stay here!
6. Explore a local supermarket (I know this sounds different, but just trust me)
As I said earlier, my husband loves to cook, so we had to get some food to prepare a local Nicaraguan dish. The supermarket is unlike any American supermarket, and has ridiculously cheap prices. I recommend stocking up on food and alcohol if you have your own kitchen where you are staying. The Flora de Cana rum is local rum that is delicious and inexpensive. We bought a bottle of that, some local beer, and fruits and veggies. By the way, all the produce is very fresh and ripens very fast, so eat up!
7. Venture to the volcanic Island of Ometepe and swim at Ojo de Agua
The Island of Ometepe is not far from Granada. You can take a ferry ride there and explore all day. The island has two large volcanos on it, a volcanic spring, a nature park and much more. We walked through the nature reserve of Charco Verde and saw a whole family of sleeping howler monkeys, an array of beautiful birds, and a volcanic beach.
The highlight of Ometepe is Ojo de Agua. The natural volcanic spring is so refreshing to take a dip in. It is said to have minerals in the water that make you relaxed, and I believe it. You can either wade in the crystal clear water or be adventurous and jump off the rope swing! Either way, the spring is a great way to end a long day of exploring.
8. Try tostones con queso and a cold Victoria beer
After the springs, grab lunch at a local restaurant and try the Victoria beer and tostones con queso. The tostones con queso is fried plantains with a salty cheese, tomatoes and onions on top. We became so obsessed with this local delicacy that we ordered it everywhere, and even made it ourselves when we got home.
9. Start your day off with beachfront yoga overlooking the Pacific Coast
After exploring Granada, we headed to the Aqua Wellness Resort on the Pacific Coast. The resort offered free beachfront yoga, and their yoga platform overlooked the beautiful Pacific Ocean. This is the perfect way to wake up in the Nicaraguan jungle!
10. Learn to surf (or at least attempt to)
Surfing has always been on my bucket list, so I just had to sign us up for some lessons in Nicaragua. Aqua Wellness Resort offered one hour surfing lessons at the Playa Gigante beach. The waves were very intense, and lets just say I wasn't that good at surfing, but I had a great time! Nicaragua is known for some of the best surfing in the world, so if you want to give it a try, I suggest doing it here.
11. Check out the fishing town of Playa Gigante and order a whole fish!
Playa Gigante is a small fishing town that is a 10 minute walk from the Agua Wellness Resort. We found a beachfront restaurant and ordered the fresh fish and shrimp. It was some of the best seafood I have ever had, and it was only $8 a plate!
12. Stay in a treehouse at the Aqua Wellness Resort
The Aqua Wellness Resort is a must do if you want an authentic Nicaraguan experience. You are surrounded by the Nicaraguan jungle, and get to see howler monkeys everyday. One night there was a bad thunderstorm. We could hear howler monkeys howling right outside our window. The sound of the monkeys combined with the thunder made me truly feel like I was in a rainforest. I wasn't even mad that he was keeping us up at night. It was almost soothing.
I really hope everyone has a chance to experience the uniqueness of Nicaragua. The country stole our hearts and we will be back one day to explore again!
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