Nicaragua Colonial and Caribbean Twist
This trip is the ultimate way to experience everything Nicaragua has to offer. Starting your trip in the colonial town of Leon, a town which once the capital of Nicaragua until 1821, you will experience the rich history of the country and its Spanish colonial influences. You will then travel the nation and witness some natural sites such as volcanoes, forests, islands and of course see some incredible wildlife along the way.
Welcome to Nicaragua, Land of Lakes and Volcanoes! You arrive at Managua Airport, and after customs procedures you will be met at the airport, you will be provided with the information you need for your trip, then you are transferred to your hotel in the colonial city of León.
The colonial town of Leon was founded in its current location in 1610 and was the colonial capital of Nicaragua until independence from Spain in 1821. It has always been the political and intellectual centre of the nation, and home to the second oldest university in Central America. The historic centre with its colourful colonial buildings, baroque- and neoclassical churches, cultural venues and museums, and its large cathedral that has been declared UNESCO heritage, are only some of Leon’s many attractions. The privileged location provides easy access to nearby Pacific beaches, to the Ruins of León Viejo where the city was originally founded in the year 1524, and to the many active volcanoes which are popular with outdoors adventure- and nature enthusiasts.
The following day, a guide picks you up at the hotel for a visit to the colonial city of León.
Your guide takes you on a walking tour through the historic part of town, home to more than 12 colonial period churches, each one unique in its design from tiny parish size chapels to the mighty Cathedral, Central America’s largest church. On route you visit murals dating back to the revolution, baroque and neoclassical churches and an art museum with works of internationally renowned artists, both classic and contemporary. You are invited to explore the local fruit and vegetable market, before the tour ends with remarkable vistas from the cathedral´s picturesque rooftop.
In the afternoon you can choose to tour to the beach or a hike an active volcano. Some suggestions:
- León – Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding
- León Viejo – Walking Tour
- León – Juan Venado Island Motorboat Tour
- León – El Hoyo Volcano Hike
- León – San Jacinto Mudfields
You will be picked up at 7:30am. Following this you will head south to the port of San Jorge where you get on the ferry to Isla de Ometepe, a beautiful island in Lake Nicaragua. Along the way, you stop at Mombacho volcano for a short crater hike. The island of Ometepe is situated in one of the world´s largest fresh water lakes, Lake Nicaragua. Ometepe has served as home to indigenous tribes and cultures for many centuries, of which the many pre-Columbian petroglyphs are silent witnesses.
The two volcanoes on the island, Concepción and Maderas, offer stunning views when approaching Ometepe by boat from the mainland. Both volcanoes have their own climate and unique vegetation and hiking either of them is a great way to enjoy spectacular views of the surroundings. Concepción is the larger of the two, with 1610 meters above sea level it is Nicaragua´s second largest volcano. The volcano has tropical dry forest and can be climbed during a guided full day tour. The largest villages Altagracia and Moyogalpa and the island´s main ports are all on the Concepción half of the island.
Experience the mystical cloud forest of this lush Nature Reserve atop a majestic volcano which boasts a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife. Enjoy a variety of landscapes during a guided hike along the one-mile long trail around the crater, while enjoying the views of Granada, the Las Isletas archipelago and Masaya volcano. Keep an eye out for the howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys, sloths, dart frogs, and the endemic Mombacho salamander.
The next day, a local guide will meet you at your hotel for a visit to the unique and wonderful Ometepe Island. Today you explore the abundant nature and wildlife of this majestic site.
Your Ometepe nature experience starts at the Peña Inculta nature reserve where you see lava rocks overgrown by primary forest, home to white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, squirrels, iguanas, bats and many birds. After hiking the reserve for approximately 45 minutes, you visit Hacienda Finca Magdalena, a community-run farm founded in 1888, where you get insight into the process of organic coffee cultivation. A short hike brings you to a site with remnants of pre-Columbian times. Your last stop is Ojo de Agua, a pristine natural spring surrounded by dense forest.
Picked up at 7:30am, you take the ferry back to San Jorge and continue to Granada. The guide will pick you up at the hotel and explore the city of Granada to learn about the city history and culture on a guided tour.
Granada or the “Gran Sultana” is one of Latin America’s most beautiful colonial cities. This ancient town founded in 1524 on the shores of vast Lake Nicaragua is full of history and Spanish colonial charm and is famed as one of the oldest European settlements in the western hemisphere. The city’s precious architecture and history is unforgettable as is lodging in a beautifully restored colonial home at one of its fine hotels, allowing visitors to enjoy its timeless beauty and quiet charm. Granada is also a great base to visit pristine nature reserves, active- and dormant volcanoes, and the artisan villages in the region.
No visit to Granada is complete without exploring the city’s historic center on foot and in a classic horse-drawn carriage. On this tour, you discover key sites including the San Francisco Convent, founded in 1529, and La Merced church where you can climb the bell tower and enjoy spectacular views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and Mombacho volcano. The last stop is the oldest sector of the town, the area around the Xalteva church and the old city walls.
The following day, being picked up at 9am, you explore the first National Park, Masaya volcano and the artisanal market. Return to Granada and in the afternoon take a boat tour to Las Isletas de Granada. The tour starts at Masaya Volcano National Park. Your driver will bring you to the summit of the volcano, where you can peek inside the active crater. Your next stop is Masaya’s artisan market, where you can purchase quality Nicaraguan handicrafts.
Situated at the foot of Mombacho volcano, the Las Isletas archipelago consists of small forest-covered islands, formed by a volcanic eruption over twenty thousand years ago. You are transferred to the harbor where you meet the captain and board a motorboat. During the tour, your guide points out exotic local flora and fauna before making a stop at one of the islands. Next you visit San Pablo fort, built in the 18th century to protect Granada against English pirates. Altogether a recommended experience, providing valuable insight in the natural habitat and history of the Las Isletas archipelago.
The first day, you are transferred to Managua Airport for your domestic flight to the Corn Islands. Time at leisure at the Caribbean!
The Corn Islands are one of Nicaragua’s many secrets. Located about 80 kilometres away from the Atlantic coast, the two Corn Islands, Big Corn and Little Corn can be found. Big Corn is about 10 square kilometres, and three times bigger than Little Corn. The island is home to many hotels and restaurants and the beautiful beaches give the visitor many opportunities to spend his or her time. Fishing, snorkelling and diving are only some of the activities that are offers here. Many people just come here to relax, but there is also some nightlife happening. Also, the local baseball matches on Sundays are worth a visit.
The following two days are at leisure on Little Corn Island. You can relax at the beach, go diving or snorkelling, or explore the small island. There many activities you could partake in such as: Corn Island – Cooking Tour, Corn Islands – Snorkelling Tour, Corn Island – Full Tour, Pearl Lagoon – Cays and Communities Tour (Camping), Little Corn Island – Snorkelling Yemaya (shared).
Pick up at 13:30pm. You take the boat back to Big Corn and fly back to Managua.
Managua is the capital of Nicaragua, home to almost two million inhabitants and is easily the largest city in Nicaragua. The city has a lot to offer its visitors: theatres, restaurants, clubs, bars, and cinemas, to name a few. The hotel infrastructure and service levels are on a par of what you would expect in any capital city. At Roberto Huembes market, you can experience an authentic Nicaraguan street market and find high quality handicraft. Just outside Managua, the Montibelli bird and butterfly reserve and the Chocoyero nature reserve provide the perfect environment for birdwatchers, hikers and nature enthusiasts.
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Managua International Airport.