Nicaragua Vacations

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Known as much for its diversity of co-existing cultures as much for its natural beauty, Nicaragua is a stunning place to behold. The volcanic climate offers the best in vegetation, encounters with nature, beautiful terrain and exquisite beaches. The country’s art and culture is revered throughout Latin America and, indeed, the world. It’s the perfect mix of natural beauty, colonial history, and local culture. It’s no coincidence that Nicaragua is quickly becoming one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

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Let us show you the beauty that can be found in Nicaragua. Be it your first trip or your hundredth, Nicaragua is always special as will be your time spent there.

Overview

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Known as much for its diversity of co-existing cultures as much for its natural beauty, Nicaragua is a stunning place to behold. The volcanic climate offers the best in vegetation, encounters with nature, beautiful terrain and exquisite beaches. The country’s art and culture is revered throughout Latin America and, indeed, the world. It’s the perfect mix of natural beauty, colonial history, and local culture. It’s no coincidence that Nicaragua is quickly becoming one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

There are three distinct geological regions in Nicaragua, and traversing them gives the feeling of traveling to separate lands. On the Atlantic coast, low-lying fertile plains are a haven for crops as well as serving as grazing fields for domesticated animals. Known as the Mosquito Coast, this part of the country has a rough-and-tumble history as one of the last bastions of nature to be conquered. These days it’s an excellent way to experience the rainforest in all its glory. The interior of Nicaragua is hilly and is known as the Amerrisque Mountains. From coffee plantations to enclaves of indigenous peoples, the country’s center offers stunning mountain vistas, hiking and adventure tours. The Pacific coast, meanwhile, is where Nicaragua shines. The largest freshwater lakes in Central America are within its borders, Lake Managua, and Lake Nicaragua. There is so much biodiversity in this region that it is a haven for wildlife refuges and national parks.

If you’re looking for a beach adventure, Nicaragua has the diversity you seek. Both coasts offer spectacular stretches of beach, and each ocean coast is as diverse as the country itself. On the Pacific, waves and surf await to greet you amidst the most pristine and pure turquoise waters. On the Atlantic, calmer seas complete with beautiful reefs are a Mecca for any serious diver. The only thing Nicaragua’s beaches have in common is their lack of commonality, as tourists can play among fishing villages, communes of ex-pats, and indigenous communities.

For those seeking to soak in the local culture, the country has a plethora of markets and bazaars. Managua, the capital city, is a relic of the Spanish colonial past and bears beautiful and majestically historical architecture. In the town of Masaya lies the Mercado Artesanias, where history, art, and music all come together in a Gothic Spanish fortress. Indeed, the culture itself is one of a perfect fusion of Spanish colonial and European, and is unlike any local experience in the world.

Nicaragua has it all, from striking eco-tourism to spectacular beaches to some of the best hiking in the world. Located as it is where North and South America meet, it is a rich confluence of physical and natural diversity. Its tropical climate nourishes the soul while the fragrant scents of the cuisine mixed with fauna growing in the rich volcanic soil will excite the senses. Nicaragua is truly the last bastion of the unspoiled Earth, and will be a vacation experience never to be forgotten.

Activities

5 Exciting Things To Do In Nicaragua

Nicaragua. The definition of old-fashioned beauty served on the platter of husky modernity. Not long ago, Nicaragua was a little-known place of equally little-known people. But fast-forward and a few years later its old fashioned charm has earned it a slot in the radar of many travelers. If anything, it’s only in Nicaragua where you can stumble onto natural goodness that neither internal strife nor irresponsible tourism has ruined. It’s simply a low-key, traditional slow-moving Latin American culture setting, and most attractively, quite inexpensive to live in or even travel. That said, here are the top 5 things you should do while at Nicaragua:

  1. Explore the less-ventured Colonial Leon – Unlike the Granada, Leon is more liberal, smaller and less traveled. This, of course, makes it a better option especially if you’re looking for a hiking/skiing spot. At the same time, it has a family-friendly aura that makes it an excellent environment for both backpackers and independent travelers. If not that, you can spend the day walking and strolling around the city square, and then later explore the Recolección Cathedral. Speaking of the Cathedral, be sure to sign up for a rooftop tour. It’s totally worth the agony of the hundreds of stairs you will encounter.
  2. Go volcano boarding near Leon – This isn’t something for the faint-hearted. You will have to hike up Cerro Negro, which will take you about an hour. Then the fun really begins as you will slide or surf down the 2389 foot high volcano in less than 3 minutes and the speed.. well it really depends on how fast you want to go!
  3. Eat a Nacatamal or Fritanga at a sidewalk vendor – It goes without saying that no one should travel to a place and leave without ever tasting the local cuisine. And in Nicaragua, excellent food is more than just a quick fix of Gallo Pinto – or in other words, rice and beans. Nacatama, another delicious alternative, is a moist tamale filled delicacy of pork, veggies, chicken and other niceties served up in a banana leaf. Fritnaga is basically almost the same thing but has the rare blend of salted plantain served from a sidewalk vendor.
  4. Buy a lasting souvenir at the Nica markets – Those of us who have ever been to the Latin America know that marketplaces are literally the center of a throbbing lifestyle. And, fortunately, the script is not any different in the Nicaragua where food and handicraft stalls interlace while at the same time a throng of humanity haggles over the prices. The Nica markets (as there are popularly known), are about three or four in Nicaragua. In Masaya, for instance, you can buy well-made Spanish-oriented relics (such as oyster necklaces) for less than $10 as a memorable souvenir.
  5. Go snorkeling on Little Corn Island – Little Corn Island, (just as the name suggests) is this tiny Island off the Caribbean coast that is only a mere 10 square kilometers of white sand and palm trees. This paradisal-like island is flanked with an, even more, amazing fringe of coral reef that is rumored to keep the sharks at bay. The Corn Island is just but three hours from the main shores of the Atlantic, which means that you get enough time to marvel at the azure surface of the Atlantic. Besides sinking your feet into the smooth sand, you can also spend a couple of hours diving or ‘learning the basics of scuba diving’ if it’s your first time.

Dining

Dining in Nicaragua

Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is home to a multitude of ethnicities. These include, but are not limited to, Europeans, Africans, Asians, as well as a host of indigenous peoples. This mix is especially reflected in the unique character of Nicaraguan cuisine, which can be described as a fusion of traditional Spanish, Creole, and indigenous flavors. In fact, the nature of the local dishes varies based on whereabouts in Nicaragua you find yourself. Seafood and coconut tend to dominate the Caribbean coast while fruits and corn will be plentifully found along the Pacific.

Similar to most countries in South America, corn is a large part of the local staple diet. This is in large part dictated by the varying geological and geographical disparities of the country, which ranges from volcanic mountainous terrain to low-lying plains to fertile rainforest. Corn has been harvested in the country for centuries, as it is one of the hardier plants that will thrive in the mountainous regions. As a result, the crop has a large influence on the dishes produced in Nicaragua, and the corn-based cuisine is something to behold. In addition to corn, chilies are very popular and help to give Nicaraguan cuisine a spectacularly spicy and savory taste. Rice grows plentifully in the lowlands, where hardy animals such a pigs, cows and chicken graze on the lush plains and form the essence of much of the protein intake of the country.

Elotes, or corn on the cob, can be found everywhere, particularly on local food carts and in restaurants. Corn flour is processed into a thin dough and made into such commonplace food items as tortillas and enchiladas. For a more complex corn experience, nactamales are a take on the Mexican tamale, however, they have a different taste and texture.

But corn is not the only culinary essence of Nicaragua. Plantains are very popular and are very frequently fried and served as dessert dishes. It’s also a key ingredient in vigoron, in which a plantain leaf is served under yucca and salad. Other popular local culinary offerings are gallo pinto, which is a mixture of fried rice, red beans, garlic, and onion. It’s as close to a national dish as Nicaragua has, and many people consume this daily. Indio viejo features ground tortilla mixed with water until it turns into a dough, into which shredded meat and vegetables are added. Nactamal, meanwhile, is a dough created from ground corn and later filled with such meats as chicken and pork, along with various vegetables and seasonings. In Managua, seafood is prevalent, and all types of seasoned fish and shellfish, particularly shrimp, can be easily found. And for dessert, tres leches is a dish made from milk, cream, sugar, eggs and meringue.

Nicaragua’s cultural diversity shows in its food preparation and the wide variety of dishes on offer. While fairly limited to simple staple foods, the sheer number of differing mouth-watering menu items would make any traveler to this country be at a loss for words.

Nightlife

The Best of Nicaragua Nightlife

There’s really no dispute that Nicaragua’s loud and lively nightlife always has something for everyone. From the crowded and vociferous discos and clubs of Managua to the festive beach party scenes on the Nicaragua’s West Coast, it’s obvious that the nocturnal activities in Nicaragua can suit almost any type of crowd. But that’s not all. The pricing point is also another factor you have to consider. It’s only in Managua, for instance, where you can get a luxuriously cold beer for just a dollar a few cents. You’ll also find that most of Nicaragua’s bars are characterized with relaxed hangouts and a musical backdrop. If anything, it’s the kind of setting one would look forward to after a hard day of excursions and exploring the area’s tropical beaches. With that at the back of your mind, here are some of the best hangout joints that can spice up your experience in Nicaragua:

  1. Dancing – Well, ask any Nicaraguan junkie, and there will gladly tell you that dancing is one of Managua’s fascinating experience that any tourist shouldn’t miss. Yes, and I’m not just talking about the electronic reggaeton that mars most clubs in the Caribbean. In Managua, Nicaragua, it’s more Latino-oriented Salsa and Merengue with a few modern touches of American Hip-hop. And you don’t have to worry if you have never danced Salsa before; the crowd here is very friendly and surely wouldn’t mind helping you with a few steps. On the other hand, if you prefer something a little less outgoing and low-key, then there a lot of bars (for example, the Zana Rosa) with atmospheres that range from suspect to sultry. Either way, it’s always a good time in Nicaragua.
  2. Yes, the bars! – There’s no shortage of watering holes in Nicaragua, and certainly also not in the capital, Managua. For starters, the Gallerias Mall complex, in the upmarket part of the town, hosts a cluster of twilight eateries and bars. In this league, the Reef Bar and the Miami-beach styled Palmeras Bar dominate the air. Although, it can be a bit disappointing to know that The Reef charges a cover charge of around $5 between Wednesdays and Tuesdays if you want to enjoy the Karaoke and Jazz here. A few miles from here is another tightly clustered combination of bars and restaurants – the Zona Hippos that is located just off the Carretta Masaya. You could also try the Piratas (near the corner opposite Hotel Seminole) although this one is always packed on the weekends.
  3. The Night Clubs – A perfect night out is never complete without a little jiggle and dance to the exotic Spanish gigs. On this note, the Zona Viva, located in the heart of Galleria Mall in Santo Domingo is probably one of the most upscale and chic lounges in Nicaragua. The consistently swanky atmosphere backed up by pumping music, and conveniently speedy bartenders make one of the best happening spots in the country. Other than that, hippy tourists will be pleased to know that that the Chaman Club always has the liveliest and arguably the youngest party in town any day of the week. Other discos worth checking out include the city’s bourgeoisie -Club Hipa Hipa and without forgetting the legendary El Quetzal.

Weddings

These Nicaragua resorts offer wedding-specific packages:

  • Barcelo

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Our travel specialists have stayed at or visited most of the vacations we recommend (unlike most online agencies). In order to best match your requirements with the array of resorts, packages and options available, we believe it is best for us to speak with you personally by phone about your vacation.

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Lynn Farrell, President

Lynn Farrell
President