8 Best Things To Do To Enjoy Nicaragua - Updated 2024

Best things to do in Nicaragua
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

Nicaragua is a beautiful, diverse country with a seemingly endless list of things to do. We absolutely adore the country, so we have devised a comprehensive list of eight of the absolutely best things that you should do when visiting this volcano nation.

1. Visit Isla De Ometepe and climb one of its infamous volcanoes (from USD 105.0)

Volcán Concepción
Source: Photo by Flickr user mabi2000 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

No trip to Nicaragua would be complete without attempting to climb one of the country’s most excruciating volcanoes, the iconic Concepcion at 1610 meters (5,500 feet) or the slightly smaller but no less dominating Maderas standing at 1394 meters (4,800 feet) above sea level. These iconic twin Volcanoes stand in the center of the infamous Isla De Ometepe, the volcanic island which was beautiful enough to draw the imagination of Mark Twain who wrote, “What a home one might make among their shady forests, their sunny slopes, their breezy dells, after he had grown weary of the toil, anxiety, and unrest of the bustling, driving world.”

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Concepción Volcano Hike at Ometepe Island

Duration: 10 hours

2. Surf and party your way around San Juan Del Sur (from 55 USD per person)

View over Town - San Juan del Sur - Nicaragua - 02
Source: Photo by Flickr user Adam Jones used under CC BY 2.0

If Nicaragua is a laid-back country, then San Juan Del Sur is the chilled out beating heart of it. Once a sleepy fishing town, San Juan has since become a mecca to travelers wishing to hit up the surf scene in Nicaragua, cut loose and have a good time on the shores of the wild Pacific Ocean. While there are many schools in San Juan Del Sur where you can practice your surfing skills, Moke Huhu Surf School has arguably got to be one of the best, with experienced instructors making your lessons fun while you attempt to stand up on your board for the first time. Once you’ve attempted once, twice or a thousand times, head back to dry land and catch a sundowner and watch as the sun sinks behind the ocean.

Half day tour of San Juan Del Sur

Price: from 55 USD per person

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3. Relax in the Corn Islands (from 1450 USD per person)

Little Corn Island
Source: Photo by Flickr user descubriendoelmundo used under CC BY-SA 2.0

These twin tropical islands lie just off of the coast of Nicaragua, where thick palm trees surround the horseshoe bays which sweep into the crystal water. The Corn Islands are the Carribean jewel for those looking for an off the grid adventure. ‘Greater Corn’ is the most populated island, with a large selection of people living in colorful wooden houses. The creatively named ‘Little Corn’ is tiny in comparison but large in jungle, cuisine, and character. There are no cars on ‘Little Corn’ island, giving this isle a laid-back vibe.

Scuba diving for beginners

Price: from 1450 USD per person

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4. Volcano board one of Nicaragua's many volcanoes (from 145.88 USD per Person)

Cerro negro, nicaragua
Source: Photo by Flickr user Chiara used under CC BY 2.0

You’ve climbed Maderas. You’ve conquered Concepcion. What’s next, my volcano loving friend? Well, if you’re an adventure-seeking travel lover, then there’s only one thing to do. Climb a 728-meter (2,400-footO tall Volcano. Once you reach the top, turn around and sandboard or sled back down to where the sane-minded people stay.

Cerro Negro Volcano boarding

Price: from 145.88 USD per Person

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5. Visit a coffee plantation (from 79.49 USD per person)

Cafe Las FloresEco Coffee Plantation
Source: Photo by Flickr user Lorian Kennedy used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Coffee and Central America go together like Trip101 and travel, they’re a match made in heaven. Central America, specifically Nicaragua, is a haven for coffee plantations. The rich soil and the deep shade of the jungle create the perfect atmosphere for those little red beans that are turned into our steaming espressos. As Nicaragua’s primary source of income for communities comes from the growth and harvest of the bitter bean, there are plantations in almost each area you visit, making a trip to a coffee plantation an absolute must. I’d highly suggest that you visit Cafe Las Flores Plantation in Manguana, which is where the coffee grows on the side of the amazing Mombacho Volcano.

Cafe Las Flores Coffee Plantation tour

Price: from 79.49 USD per person

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6. Meet Leatherback turtles in La For Wildlife Refuge (from 75 USD per person)

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If ecotourism and wildlife are your cup of tea (or coffee since we’re talking Nicaragua), then you absolutely must visit the La For Beach Wildlife Refuge, where between July and November, up to 100,000 Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles nest in the area, before making their way back to the ocean. This is a sight that cannot be missed. Hotels and operators organize tours to the beach refuge, which is run by both the local community and volunteers.

There aren’t many places in the world where you can actually watch the turtles leave the ocean, climb up onto the soft white sand and lay their eggs, making this reserve incredibly special. Aside from watching the turtles in the lush forest-lined beaches, the reserve is also home to monkeys, reptiles, raccoons and hundreds of species of birds, so make sure that you pack your binoculars for this wildlife trip to remember. If you’re looking for something to do before this evening adventure, then why not look at visiting a Pitaya Farm in the lush countryside of Nicaragua on a half day tour? This tour takes you to secluded lakeside beaches, with views over the beautiful Lake Nicaragua.

Pitaya Farm

Price: from 75 USD per person

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7. Explore Nicaragua's history in Leon (from USD 223.0)

For a day trip with a slice of intriguing history, this tour is exactly what you’re looking for. Just north of Manguana, this colonial town is quite literally crumbling with history. Leon is home to the largest colonial religious building in Central America, Basilica Catedral de la Asuncion, which is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once in Leon, you will also get to visit one of Latin America’s most impressive art galleries. After all, Leon is well known for its appreciation of the arts. This tour is a wonderful way to view the amazing cultural city of Leon, while enjoying a slice of nature on the side.

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Leon and Old Town Small-Group Tour Including Lunch

Duration: 7 to 8 hours

3 reviews

8. Explore colonial Granada (from USD 87.0)

Ciudad Granada
Source: Photo by user AntoLa22 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The colorful cobbled streets of this colonial gem attract flocks of visitors to Granada, Nicaragua each and every year. It’s easy to see why upon the first arrival to the city, which is skirted by active volcanoes and lush forests. In a city so pretty, it’s easy to see why Granada has been host to the International Poetry Festival for the past 12 years, Granada was designed to inspire, or so it seems.

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Granada City Tour

Duration: 6 hours

A great experience awaits!

Last Light - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Source: Photo by user Bruce Thomson used under CC BY 2.0

These trips and experiences in Nicaragua have been designed to give you the best possible experience on your travels through this amazing landscape, from the relaxing to the exciting. We hope that you fall in love with this Central American nation as much as we have!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Meet Hannah, a 33-year-old globetrotter currently residing in the UK. Over the past six years, she has embarked on extensive explorations around the world. From kayaking alongside sharks to...Read more

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