Taking into account the number of exotic destinations scattered across Central America, if you ever get the opportunity to go to Nicaragua, you should take it. You may have most recently heard the exciting news about the Momotombo volcano erupting for the first time in 100 years or perhaps you have seen the volcano sledding videos of Cerro Negro gone viral online; and while yes, Nicaragua is covered in volcanos and yes, volcano sledding is as thrilling as it sounds, this country was meant to be explored on foot. From its high volcanic altitudes to floating on the surface of warm celestial lakes cinctured by colonial towns and lush tropical forest, the country remains sparsely touched by tourism. It’s a destination worth at least a weeks worth of time in order to truly turn the corners inside out. Learn more about our favorite places to explore, stay and eat with accompanying photography by Chiara Gerek below.
Granada. This town is a quintessential part of Nicaragua, filled with the traditional culture and vibrancy of the country. Each blocked is lined with multicolored patterns and gates adorned with the country’s flower, Sacuanjoche. If you venture into the main part of town, it will be hard to miss The Cathedral, but be sure to visit Guadalupe Church as well.
Apoyo Lagoon. Just thirty minutes outside of Granada lies one of the most stunning sights to see, as almost all of Nicaragua’s beauty can be captured in this landscape looking out at the glacial lake, Apoyo Lagoon. The crater of Apoyo was formed approximately 23,000 years ago, after a strong volcanic explosion which left a hole measuring six kilometers in diameter. The natural beauty of the place make Apoyo an incredible destination for national and foreign visitors, offering an interesting variety of activities such as swimming, kayaking and SUP-paddle boarding.
Playa Hermosa. If your itinerary involves exploring near the San Juan del Sur area, plan on spending your day here at Playa Hermosa because if you don’t, you’ll surely lose track of time regardless of your intentions. It’s amazing how quickly the hours go by relaxing or surfing at this stretch of pristine beach. Hammocks and picnic tables line the upper shelves while stray dogs and cats sunbathe peacefully like the rest of the guests. Note there is a small fee for entry.
Jicaro Ecolodge (Lake Nicaragua) | Granada Islettas, Nicaragua; (505) 2558-7702; [email protected]
This boutique tropical hideaway located on a private island in Lake Nicaragua is the brainchild of British businesswoman Karen Emanuel who bought the island spontaneously while on holiday in 2007. Renown for its environmentally friendly practices, this chic eco-hotel has additional amenities including a lakeside spa, yoga classes and organic dining. The two-story wood casitas are the perfect hideout for a tranquil honeymoon vacation!
Casa Bahia (Playa Marsella) | Playa Marsella Rivas, Nicaragua; (505) 7739-8936; [email protected]
Casa Bahia is a quaint, peaceful escape propped on the hills of Playa Marsella, just fifteen minutes away from the town of San Juan del Sur by car. Open deck balconies wrap around each floor to let out a stunning view of greened hills into the crystal clear beach front. The property is stocked with surfboards, paddle boats, yoga mats, and exercise gear. If you’re searching for a jungle sanctuary to unwind and revamp, Casa Bahia is the answer.
Maderas Village (Maderas Beach) | Playa Maderas; [email protected]
This gem of a boutique hotel, doubles as the perfect workspace for the traveling creative and entrepreneur. Maderas has amassed a team of up-and-comers in their respective industries and molded this corner of Nicaragua past a getaway and into a place of self exploration and discovery. Read more about their team and lifestyle here.
Bubu (Granada) | Calle La Libertad, Granada, Nicaragua; (505) 2552 3432
The boutique Bubu Hotel is located in the city of Granada, a vibrant colonial town just 45 minutes away from Managua airport. Perfect for seeking recluse with friends or partner, each suite designed for privacy and tranquility. With cabanas, room side pool and service, a private, fully stocked bar, Bubu is a nonpareil hideaway.
Taco Stop. If you make it to the bustling beach town of San Juan del Sur, you will want to make your way to the Taco Stop, a Tex-Mex grill that serves up the perfect hard shell taco. You won’t be able to find them quite this good back home, so treat yourself and splurge on a couple extra and the guacamole.
The Beach. You don’t have to go very far away or try very hard at all to find amazing food in Nicaragua. Almost every beach has a taco stand or restaurant on shore. There are very few places I would rather be better than sipping on toñas, eating fresh fish tacos and watching the sunset on the horizon.