Popular Central American countries like Guatemala, Belize, and Costa Rica are top travel destinations; their lesser-traveled neighbor, Nicaragua, is also a fabulous place to visit. This small country has a lot to offer and should be at the top of any Central American traveler’s destination list. Although famed for surfing there is more below the surface.
Nicaragua is the land of lakes and volcanoes, with 19 volcanoes that span across the small country. Many of them are still active. Volcano boarding was invented here, which is a unique experience where travelers slide down from the top of a volcano. Consider going on a volcano hike as Nicaragua has some of the best on the continent. Make sure you hire a guide for your hike for safety reasons.
Nicaragua has many gorgeous colonial cities, including Granada. This city, located along the shores of Lake Nicaragua, is filled with bright colors, cobbled streets, fantastic museums, and stunning churches. It is only an hour from the capital Managua and is the largest tourist attraction in the country. Another beautiful city to visit is Leon, which is located about two hours north. It is a very political city and is filled with young people, as well as beautiful churches, unique art galleries, and intriguing museums.
Located at the Corn Islands is Nicaragua’s very own Caribbean hideout! About 70 km off the Caribbean coast are Little Corn and Great Corn islands, which are both breathtakingly beautiful and remote. It does require a bit of complicated travel to get there, including heading to Bluefields along the Caribbean coast then boating or flying to Great Corn Island. To get to Little Corn Island, another boat ride is required. All of that travel is definitely worth your time and effort though. Here you can enjoy a remote atmosphere with delicious seafood, picturesque white-sand beaches, diving, snorkeling, and not a single car is in sight!
Nicaragua has loads of wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, ocelots, sea turtles, and jaguars. You can also spot a number of bird species, including the great green macaw, the toucan, and the motmot.
Nicaraguan food features some interesting dishes as well as loads of fresh fruit. Be sure to try quesillos, which are corn tortillas that have mild cheese slices and a salad made of tomatoes and pickled onions, topped with a bunch of cream. Vigoron is another unique dish that is served on banana leaves and is made from boiled yucca, cabbage salad, and pork scratchings.
Travel further and longer, as Nicaragua is a cheap destination. $5 can get you a bed in a dorm while $3 can get you a huge meal at a local restaurant. A gourmet meal will cost you no more than $15! One liter of beer is no more than $2. Transportation is also dirt cheap here. These savings add up and you'll probably never want to leave.
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