This 8-day Nicaragua vacation is perfect for the traveler who wants to explore Nicaragua while remaining active at the same time! Start your travels in Granada with some kayaking and zip line canopy tour in the cloudforest atop Mombacho Volcano. Enjoy biking and kayaking on the Island of Ometepe before continuing on for some free time along the Pacific shores of San Juan del Sur, the lively surf town on the coast! Last visit Masaya Volcano and the local artisan market. Enjoy an active trip that introduces you to the best of Nicaragua!
Tour the oldest colonial city in Central America, Granada City
Kayak through over 365 tiny islands and visit Fort San Pablor
Zip line 1500 meters along the base of Mombacho
Bike past villages, plantations, and great views on Ometepe Island
This morning drive south to the shores of Lake Nicaragua and Granada city. Set out on a walking tour of the city of Granada. The oldest colonial city in all Central America, Granada was first founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba. Though it has been sacked by pirates multiple times and undergone many civil wars, Granada boasts beautiful Spanish architecture, making it the must-see of Nicaragua. Explore San Francisco Convento Museum, one of the best in the region. Originally constructed in 1585, it was burnt by pirates then later again by William Walker and was recently restored in 1989. Inside you can see primitivist art, paper mache figurines depicting indigenous life, as well as the Zapatera Statuary, with black basalt statues carved between 800 and 1200 AD. Explore also La Merced Church, arguably the most beautiful in the city. Enjoy a climb to the belltower for an extra dollar! Also visit La Fortaleza, an old Spanish fort constructed in 1748 with the best view over the city!
Lastly take a short kayaking tour of the tiny isletas offshore. Over 365 tiny islands were created by the eruption of Mombacho and now are either uninhabited or the site of vacation homes. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and other wildlife as you pass each island. Kayak out to Fort San Pablo and explore this ancient structure, constructed on an island by native inhabitants to defend themselves from pirate attacks.
This morning head to nearby Mombacho Volcano, an active volcano that last erupted in 1570. Hop into an army cargo vehicle that takes you up the steep climb on the brick road to the top where you find a small biological station. Feel free to get out and explore the small exhibits in the station. The top part of this volcano is home to a cloudforest, housing some species of flora and fauna only found here. You can walk on the trails watching for wildlife, as well as find some lookouts allowing you to peer over into the now-forested craters below.
On your way down the volcano, stop to take the zipline tour at the base of Mombacho! Zip across this 5000 feet (1500m) zip line course suspended by canopy platforms. The tour offers fantastic views of Mombacho cloudforest and the nearby Lake Nicaragua. The course contains fifteen platforms and a 82 feet (25 m) long rope bridge!
After the zip line adventure, return back to Granada and enjoy the rest of the afternoon free.
Today drive to the town of San Jorge. From here board a ferry for the hour ride across the lake to Isla de Ometepe, one of the world's largest lake islands. Next embark on a bike ride around the island. Pass by small villages, banana plantations, and take in spectacular views of Concepcion and Madera Volcanoes.
After your bike ride, continue on to your hotel this afternoon, located on the coast of the lake. Enjoy the rest of the day free. You can grab a kayak to paddle around the lake, go for a swim, or hop back on a bike for some more riding this afternoon! You can also arrange to visit some of the museums of pre-Columbian artifacts in the area this afternoon, or go see the nearby petroglyphs dating back 2000 years ago.
If you elect to stay at Totoco Lodge while in Ometepe, the biking tour of Ometepe requires that you walk a half hour to the starting point.
This morning enjoy an hour kayaking tour near Charco Verde. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and wildlife that inhabit the area. Head back to Moyogalpa for the ferry back across to San Jorge. From here continue south to San Juan del Sur, the surfing mecca of Nicaragua! Enjoy the rest of your day free.
If you elect to stay at Totoco Lodge while in Ometepe, the kayaking tour is on the Istian River.
Enjoy a free day in San Juan del Sur. There is no guide service today so you are free to explore on your own. You can arrange to try your hand at surfing or boogie boarding, do a zip line tour, arrange to go diving, fishing, sailing, rent mountain bikes, go for a hike, or even go on a nightly turtle watching tour if you are there between July and December. The hotel can help you arrange many local activities.
This morning spend your time as you like. Late this afternoon transfer back to Managua. Stop to visit the Masaya Volcano. Here climb the volcano side, passing by fields of petrified lava, until you reach the top. Cover your face to bear the smell - you can get out and walk around, and even peer down into the deep sulfuric crater at the top!
Continue on next to the Masaya Market, the most famous handicrafts market in Nicaragua, and well-known for its hammocks! After exploring the multicolored booths and bartering for keepsakes, continue on to the nearby small towns of San Juan del Oriente. Here you can witness the making of the handicrafts in action. See how an entire community contributes to making one hammock, watch the ceramic makers at the potter's wheel, or observe the carpenter as he builds wooden rocking chairs!
Enjoy your last evening in the country in Nicaragua.
Day 8: Return Home
Transfer to the airport for your international flight home.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!