Best Things to Do in Nicaragua
If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Nicaragua, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll tell you about some of our favorites: Museo de la Revolucion, ChocoMuseo Granada Nicaragua, Isla de Ometepe, Somoto Canyon National Monument, and the Somoto Volcano. But before we dive in, let’s cover some of the country’s natural and historical attractions.
Museo de la Revolucion
One of the best things to do in Nicaragua is to take a tour of the Museo de la Revolucion, the museum dedicated to the revolution that overthrew the Somoza dynasty in 1979. This museum is housed in a former prison and tells the story of the revolution through the stories of the men and women who fought for peace. There is a small admission fee for the tour, but it’s well worth it. It combines human rights abuses with Nicaragua’s history, making for a very interesting and fascinating visit.
Another of my favorite things to do in Nicaragua is to explore Leon. This colonial city is filled with museums, cafes, and churches. You can also experience the volcanoes and the Pacific coastline. The city is filled with a variety of natural attractions and offers a plethora of opportunities for cultural and outdoor adventures. You can also spend a day exploring the twin volcanic islands of Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe.
The Museum of the Revolucion is located close to the Leon Cathedral. Here, you can learn about the country’s history and see the bullet holes left behind by revolutionaries. The museum also includes information about the 1972 earthquake and the overthrow of the Sandinista regime. The building was once the headquarters of a telecommunication company. Afterward, you can explore the old Palace of Communications and climb the roof.
ChocoMuseo Granada Nicaragua
A trip to Granada would not be complete without a stop at the ChocoMuseo. Located in the heart of Granada, this museum offers free samples of chocolate-flavored condoms, a tour of a cacao farm, and an interesting look at Nicaragua’s history. In addition to the exhibits, visitors can also take part in workshops that teach them how to make chocolate bars.
For a day out, guests can spend the day at the Laguna Beach Club, which offers a small entrance fee and permits outside food and beverages. For a night, visitors can stay at the Mansion de Chocolate, a historic colonial mansion that is a boutique hotel and offers beauty treatments and spa services. Guests of the ChocoMuseo can participate in workshops that explore the history of chocolate, sample delicious coffee and drink chocolate, and learn how to make the perfect hot chocolate.
For a more hands-on experience, visit the ChocoMuseo in Granada. The museum is an educational experience that includes a tour of the cacao plantation, tasting the products, and making your own chocolate bar. Afterward, you can explore the rest of the city’s historic district. The streets are lined with art galleries, watering holes, and Nicaraguan-inspired restaurants.
Isla de Ometepe
Lake Nicaragua’s Isla de Ometepe is an island of volcanic origin, nestled between two active volcanoes. It offers visitors an enchanting mix of active adventure and natural relaxation. With animals roaming freely, you can easily forget about the world outside. If you have never been to Nicaragua, do not miss this island and its enchanting volcanoes.
One of the best things to do on Isla de Ometepe is to explore the petroglyphs and stone carvings of the island’s pre-Columbian culture. You can see them both in situ and in private museums on the island. You can visit the El Ceibo Museum, located in the Charco Verde region of the island. The Altagracia Museum is another noteworthy example. You can also visit the ancient stone carvings and petroglyphs located in the town of La Ceiba.
Another fun activity is a hike to the Ojo de Agua waterfall. Although the waterfall is very popular, it can get crowded during the dry season, so plan your visit accordingly. A five-cent entrance fee will allow you to visit this beautiful waterfall. Once you’ve finished hiking, you can head to the El Ojo de Agua waterfall to enjoy a magnificent view of the island.
Somoto Canyon National Monument
If you’re looking for a unique day-hiking adventure in Nicaragua, I highly recommend checking out Somoto Canyon National Monument. While the canyon’s cliffs aren’t a volcano, the canyon itself is a natural wonder. The cliffs rise up to 120 meters, but the narrowest part is only five meters wide. This incredible formation is the result of eroding river currents and geological formation. The canyon dates back five to 15 million years. It belongs to the Tertiary and Quaternary Miocene periods. It was only recently discovered by tourists that this canyon is a protected area and a National Monument.
Somoto Canyon is 83 kilometers north of Esteli. The border station is in front of the Red Cross building. From there, a local bus service runs between the city center and Somoto. It costs around $10 per person to travel there. Alternatively, you can take a private taxi or rent a car and drive yourself to the canyon. I recommend renting a car, since public buses can be uncomfortable in Nicaragua’s hot weather.
You can also go rock climbing in Somoto Canyon. You can either hike the canyon’s 15 kilometers or go for a more leisurely six km (3 miles). Both options involve cliff jumping and require some physical activity. The cliffs at Somoto Canyon are steep and slippery, so be sure to wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the elements. You’ll need to have a guide to help you with the safety aspects of the hike.
Masaya Volcano National Park
Masaya Volcano is a spectacular active volcano located 23 kilometers from the capital. Unlike the nearby Mombacho volcano, this one is active, and is characterized by dark lava rubble, straw-like grass, gassy plumes, and bubbling pit below. You can hike up the volcano, and get great views from the lookout points. However, you should plan a full day for this excursion.
There are two hiking trails in the national park. The Coyote Trail leads to the summit and ends at the Laguna de Masaya. You can also walk along the Coyotes Trail, which crosses rivers of petrified lava. The Trail of the Pencas leads to fumaroles in the Nindiri crater. The Tzinancostoc or Bat Cave is located south of the Santiago crater. This crater is home to many colonies of bats.
One of the most iconic things to do in Nicaragua is visit the Masaya Volcano. This volcanic site is a unique experience and is responsible for some of the largest eruptions on Earth in the last ten thousand years. Getting to the park is easy; you can book your tour online or through a tour operator. You should consider booking a night tour, since the lava crater is much more active during the night.
Mercado de Artisanal
Visiting a Mercado de Artisana in Nicaragua is an excellent way to get a feel for the local culture while you’re on holiday. These markets are great places to get local produce, and you’ll have a blast people-watching, too. I particularly like the Mercado de Artisanal in Masaya, which has dozens of family-run potteries. If you’re looking for souvenirs, this is the place to go! You’ll find a great selection of souvenirs here at great prices.
If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, you might be tempted to pick up a Nicaraguan-made piece of art. The country’s artisans produce beautiful handicraft products, from pottery to furniture to intricately-woven hammocks. The best place to buy handmade items is from artisan makers in the country’s Pueblos Blancos towns, which are located between Managua and Granada, centered around Masaya.
If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you try the seasonal fruits at the local markets. Nicaraguans love their fruits! The fruits in the local markets are seasonal and are locally grown. If you’re a bird lover, you can check out the national bird, the Guardabarranco, with its long turquoise-blue tail feathers. La Flor is a wetlands area that shelters olive ridley, hawksbill, green, and leatherback sea turtles.
If you love nature and swimming, you should visit Apoyo Lake in western Nicaragua. This gorgeous lake is cratered in the Apoyo volcano and is only 20 minutes away by taxi from Granada. It is especially beautiful at night. Despite its name, the lake is actually a crater. Its shoreline sits 75 meters above the lake, making it one of the deepest lakes in Nicaragua.
If you love nature, you’ll have a chance to spot many different species of animals and plants. During the dry season, there’s a lot of low foliage. That’s perfect for birdwatching! You’ll also see a lot of petroglyphs and other evidence of indigenous cultures. You might even see some mollusks and butterflies, which make for a perfect photo op.
You’ll find a variety of activities to keep you busy at Apoyo. It’s difficult to find enough time to do everything you want to do in Nicaragua, but if you plan well, you’ll have plenty of time for this natural gem. Although you can’t do much to help the environment, you can at least enjoy the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.