Illustration Culture et traditions / INFOS

Authentic Nicaragua

Our suggestion of itinerary to discover Nicaragua in 15 days

This 15-day program, accompanied by an English-speaking driver, is focused on getting back to basics, taking the time and discovering the fauna, flora, traditions and ways of life of the country’s inhabitants.

Thus, you will visit different natural reserves of the country and will have several opportunities to come into direct contact with the locals and their daily life.

You will also discover all the wonders of Nicaragua, some of which are not to be missed, such as the Isletas de Granada, the Laguna de Apoyo, or the lava lake of the Masaya volcano; the only place in the world where one can observe this phenomenon so easily, see the bowels of the earth and feel its strength and energy.

Finally, the accommodations are simple, charming and will also be places of exchange with the locals, especially the nights in community, or with the owners committed to the respect of their natural and/or human environment.

Length of stay: 15 days

Kind: Authentic

Fix: simple

Countries visited: Nicaragua

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Day 1 : Managua

Welcome to Nicaragua!

Welcome at Managua International Airport.

First contact with the country and receipt of your travel documents through your driver.

Then, your private transfer will drive you to your hotel in Managua.

Note: Plan for $10 in cash / person to pay territory entry tax.


Night at hotel Casa Inti.

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Day 2 : Ometepe Island

This morning, you leave Managua and drive to the port of San Jorge, Rivas. Embarkation on the ferry to the island of Ometepe.

Note: about 2h30 drive and 1h15 crossing.

Charco Verde Park

Welcome to the Charco Verde Park, located at the bottom of the Concepcion volcano. You will enjoy walking nearby the Charco Verde lagoon and the lake of Nicaragua, but also the wonderful views you will have over the Concepcion and Maderas volcanoes. You will have the chance to observe monkeys and birds of all kinds.

On your way back, you will go into the reserve of butterflies, where in those 1 200m² can fit more than 3 000 species of butterflies.

Suggestion: A sunset on the lake!

At the end of the day, we recommend you to stop at the Punta Maria Jesus. This place, about one kilometer long of land going into the lake is wonderful in order to admire the sunset, with the lake on one side, and the Concepcion volcano on the other one.

Note: sunset between 5 and 6 pm.

Night in the community of Puesta del Sol.

Private room in a family house.

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Day 3 : Ometepe Island

San Ramón Waterfall

The San Ramon waterfall is located on the South side of the Maderas volcano, on the Ometepe Island 4kms away from the little village of San Ramon. To reach the natural waterfall, you will have to hike and go back up in the woody part of the volcano. Once arrived, you will have the opportunity to jump and swim in the water, if it is filled with enough water.

Note: 2 hours walk

Note 2 : the best season is between March and November, the rain season.

Local guide included.

Kayak on the Rio Istian.

You will leave in kayak with your guide on Rio Istian, this particular ecosystem located between the two volcanoes of the island.

You will begin your walk by paddling on the largest lake of Nicaragua to observe the different properties that litter the shoreline. Then you will approach the isthmus and enter a small water current where the vegetation is luxuriant. In this mangrove, you will be able to admire several birds, caimans and monkeys.

On the way back, you will be surrounded by the two majestic volcanoes and enjoy a panoramic view of the lake.

Duration: 3 hours.

Night in the community of Puesta del Sol.

Private room in a family house.

Traditional dance presentation included.

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Day 4 : Granada

Free time on the island of Ometepe. Then route to the port of Moyogalpa to take the ferry to San Jorge, Rivas. Continuation of the road to your hotel in Granada.

Note 1: about 1 hour by boat and 1h30 by road.

Free discovery of Granada.

We suggest you to discover this colonial jewel by foot or in carriage. You can visit the Cathedral, the church of La Merced then the church Xalteva around which the city of Granada was originally built.

Then, we invited you to dive into the central market and its colored stalls.

Before continuing your discovery, try a “vigoron” on the central place in the shade of trees.

In the afternoon you can continue up to the fortress of the Polvora where from you will can enjoy a magnificent view over the calle real, before going, we highly recommend you to sip a cocktail with Flor de Caña on the calle of Calzada.

Night at hotel La Pergola.

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Day 5 : Granada - Masaya

Discovery of Las Isletas

Half day dedicated to the discovery of the Archipelago de las isletas, set of 365 islands off the coast of Granada.

You will leave by boat to sail between these islets where today Nicaraguans have established their vacation homes.

There are nearly 400 basalt islands and you will surely have the opportunity to enjoy an excellent view of the proud Mombacho volcano and to observe many animals.

Note: Duration approximately 2 hours.

Discover the Pueblos Blancos, these small villages around Masaya, famous for their handicrafts.

Between pottery, leather goods and hammocks, the colours of the local handicrafts will fill your eyes!

You will wander between Catarina and San Juan de Oriente to observe these small shops often installed on the porches of the houses. If you wish, you can also stop to visit a black ceramic workshop, the specialty of the region.

Once in Catarina, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Laguna de apoyo from the belvedere, and walk down the sides of the lagoon to reach the restaurant El Paso del Tren, located halfway up.

Laguna de Apoyo.

You will have the opportunity to go and relax at the Laguna de Apoyo.

Between kayaking, swimming and relaxation you will enjoy the calm of this ancient volcanic crater, now filled with fresh water.

Note: entrance included.

The Masaya Volcano by night !

With its 54km² and its 20km of path in the wild, the National Park of the Masaya Volcan is a place where you will finally understand what is going on under your feet.

Counting 5 craters, the Masaya Volcan is called “Popogatepe” by the indigenous nahualt, is the active volcano the most accessible of the world.

The tour is about discovering the volcano at the sunset wiith the light of the end of the day, the lake of lava and the observation of the local fauna: parrots and bat among others.

Back to your hotel.

Note: a wait average in the entrance of 30 minutes.

Note 2: Once entered the park, you have of 15 minutes on the site.

Night at hotel La Pergola.

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Day 6 : Granada - Volcan Mombacho

El Crater self-guided hike on the Mombacho volcano.

We propose you to discover the wet nature of the Mombacho Volcano overlooking Granada.

It is composed of four volcanic craters with the highest peak at 1,345 meters.

Go to the entrance of the Mombacho Volcano and you will join in a 4×4 truck the easy access hiking trails through the only rainforest on the Pacific coast of Central America.

Let’s go for a walk in the heart of this atypical ecosystem!

Nearly 150 species of orchids, 50 types of mammals and 120 species of butterflies have been identified.

You’ll also visit a museum showing the great telluric events of this volcano.

Note : 1h30 self-guided hike; medium difficulty.

You will go up to 1000m of altitude, the weather is cooler, be prepared.

Discover the secrets of artisanal chocolate making.

Meeting with Donald in a community near the Mombacho volcano.

From the cocoa beans to the chocolate that we are used to tasting, you will learn and attend all the processing steps.

Duration: 1 hour of workshop. 

Lunch in the community included.

Night at hotel La Pergola.

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Day 7 : Matagalpa - La Dalia

In the morning, departure from Granada to La Dalia, in the northerlands of the country.

Note : 3h30 drive.


During your stay in La Sombra Ecolodge, you will have the possibility of taking part in the following activities :

– Early morning walk (06:00 am) to observe the birds of the finca,

– Tour at the Eden waterfall

– In season, learn the process of cleaning of the café of the property

– Discovery of the coffee plantation and the participation in the picking

– Hikes on paths Bejuco and Matapalo

– Visit the butterflies’ greenhouse or the vivarium of frogs

– Hike in the reserve of Peñas Blancas (1 hour of car)

Night at hotel Sombra Ecolodge.

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Day 8 : Matagalpa - La Dalia

During your stay in La Sombra Ecolodge, you will have the possibility of taking part in the following activities :

– Early morning walk (06:00 am) to observe the birds of the finca,

– Tour at the Eden waterfall

– In season, learn the process of cleaning of the café of the property

– Discovery of the coffee plantation and the participation in the picking

– Hikes on paths Bejuco and Matapalo

– Visit the butterflies’ greenhouse or the vivarium of frogs

– Hike in the reserve of Peñas Blancas (1 hour of car)

Night at hotel Sombra Ecolodge.

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Day 9 : Esteli - Miraflor

n the morning, way out of La Dalia in order to follow you discovery of the Northern lands heanding to Matagalpa.

Note : 1 hour drive.

You leave Matagalpa and you go northward is in the direction of Jinotega then the natural reserve of Miraflor.

Note : 95 km – 2h15 of drive.

Miraflor is a unique natural reserve situated in approximately 30 kilometers of the city of Estelí between 800 and 1450m of height. The park is 254 km² and there are three different climates on the zone: dry in the zone lower, more intermediate and wet, as well as of a dominant cold forest.

One of the main attractions of this reserve is its biodiversity. The zone is one of the richest in orchids; there are more than 200 species.

You discover it the ecological agriculture, the culture of the café and the exotic flowers; with a little luck you can meet the famous Quetzal so discreet. You will also have the possibility going hiking in this mountainous region and enjoying some of the panoramas on the valley of Esteli or also enjoy taking a bath in one of the waterfalls.

Night in community.

Rustic comfort.

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Day 10 : Esteli - Miraflor

Hiking day in the Miraflor nature reserve.

In the morning, departure with your local guide to discover the different ecosystems of this still little known reserve.

You will start the hike by crossing a tropical rainforest before arriving at a viewpoint.

Then you will continue towards an orchid garden where you can also climb inside a tree for the more adventurous!

Finally you will have lunch (picnic) at the edge of natural pools and a waterfall before returning to your starting point via various local plantations.

Return to your hotel at the end of the day.

Night in community.

Rustic comfort.

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Day 11 : Somoto

From the Miraflor Nature Reserve head northwest towards Somoto.

 Note: 80 km – 2 hours drive approx.

Somoto Canyon

Located 2 hours north of Esteli, Somoto Canyon was discovered a few years ago by scientists. Its 4.7km long fault, up to 100m deep, shelters the source of the Rio Coco which flows into the Caribbean Sea.

We propose you the discovery of this site thanks to aquatic hikes: alternation of walking and swimming in the canyon, jumps, boat trip. You will finish the boat trip.

Equipment and local guide included.

Note : the excursion lasts approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Night in the hotel Los Arcos.

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Day 12 : Esteli - Tisey Estanzuela

The tropical forest of the Tisey Estanzuela Nature Reserve has a rich and abundant flora and fauna and covers more than 9,344 hectares of land. The rural spirit that emanates from the daily life of the inhabitants as well as its cultural and gastronomic events are among the tourist attractions of the Tisey – Estanzuela Nature Reserve. It is made up of a mountainous territory divided between rivers and valleys. Its name comes from the two points of interest it has: the waterfall Le Tisey, which is well filled in winter, and the river Estanzuela, which ends in an impressive waterfall of the same name. You can easily walk through this wet vegetation.

In the surroundings of the reserve, we recommend you to go to meet the community of the Garnacha. Here you can visit a goat and worm farm, a cheese workshop, meet the famous stone carver El Zopilote and a multitude of other craft activities.

In the morning, departure from the Tisey Estanzuela nature reserve to the colonial city of León.

Note: 2h45 drive approximately.

On the road, we recommend a visit to the Hervideros de San Jacinto.

At the foot of the Telica Volcano, this small village lives according to the moods of the colossus. You will be able to observe different volcanic manifestations, especially the bubbling mud baths where the smell of sulphur is omnipresent. Many legends and myths surround this timeless place.

Note: Entry to be paid on site (5$/person).

Night at hotel San Juan de Leon.

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Day 13 : León

Sandboard on the slopes of the volcano Cerro Negro.

At 7:30 a.m. your driver will pick you up at your hotel in a 4×4 in the direction of the famous Cerro Negro volcano.

Born 150 years ago, the Cerro Negro volcano is the most active volcano in Nicaragua; the last eruption was in 1999. High of 725m, it is well named “Black Mountain” and its appearance is lunar. Its surface is covered with black volcanic stones up to its summit. The fumaroles and other sulphur emissions accentuate the change of scenery.

You will reach the summit from where you will observe the crater and then go down the slope in sand surfing.

Strong sensations guaranteed standing or sitting on your board!

Then, return to your hotel.

Note: Moderate difficulty hike, about 1h30 walk.

Free discovery of León.

As the old capital of the country, León is one of the key city you have to visit in the country. The city’s aspect is a passionate mix between history and religion, but what will seduce you is for sure its colonial colors and style.

We recommend you to visit some unavoidable sites such as the indigenous neighborhood of Sutiaba and the Ruben Dario’s museum, the mythic child of the Nicaraguan letters. Moreover, you can not miss the massive and impressive cathedral standing in the central park and climbing up to its roof in order to admire the panoramic view.

As you will walk through the streets of León, open wide your eyes, many revolutionary murals are hidden and others really visible.

Night at hotel San Juan de Leon.

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Day 14 : León - Las Peñitas

Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve

This morning, appointment with your local guide in the small village of Las Peñitas.

The nature reserve of the island Juan Venado is 22km long and 250m wide. It is by boat that we propose you to discover its mangroves in search of turtles, caimans and iguanas. Located in front of the beach of Las Peñitas, this island is also the refuge of many species of birds.

You can finish the excursion by a bathing or a walk on the beach.

Note: duration about 3 hours.

Afternoon free to take advantage of the beach of Las Peñitas. You will have the possibility to surf, rent a board or learn how to surf, enjoy the beach and tan.

Night at hotel San Juan de Leon.

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Day 15 : Managua

Free time to enjoy the city of León and depending on your flight schedule, three hours before departure, transfer to Managua International Airport for your international flight.

Note : 100 km – 2 hours drive.

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