Travel Guide to Nicaragua – How, Where & Frequently Asked Questions

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor August 8th, 2021 Posted in Central America Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

Enjoy the adventurous sports in the island-like sea fishing or you can even have dived. Have a brief knowledge about Nicaragua, check this travel guide!

Now a day, people find ways to have a long vacation to a place where they want to relax and feel free. If you’re looking for a tropical and unique trek, go for a Nicaragua vacation. It is a complete package of culture, hospitality, and landscape. If you’re seeking for not that expensive tour then you can have this place as your choice. You can have a good adventure if you have a modest budget. You can have an unforgettable experience as you go around the place.

As a matter of fact, there’re many exciting places that you can prefer doing your Nicaragua travel. Among these destinations, one of the exciting places that you can fully relax is staying at beaches that surround the place. located on the coast of the Caribbean, Corn Island can be found in front of the city of the Bluefield’s. There, you can witness the terrific sunsets in the big corn island. People on the terraces of their houses can barely sit down listening to the breeze and cool waves while enjoying the day waiting to turn into night. In addition to the islands, you can see the exotic native palms and fruit trees with white sand beaches that surround eating.

Enjoy the adventurous sports in the island-like sea fishing or you can even have dived. This place is far away from the noise it is peaceful and calm. The site offers a variety of activities that one can see the amazing range of rays, corals, different colors of fishes, dolphins, and turtles.

Questions and Answers about Nicaragua

Where is Nicaragua?

Located in Central America, Nicaragua is Costa Rica’s neighbor to the south. In the north, it shares a border with Honduras. On the west of the country, there is the Pacific Ocean and on the east is located the Caribbean Sea.

Is it safe to travel to Nicaragua?

The country has an overall low crime rate but there are few areas in the country where crimes are abundant. Rare attacks and murders can happen especially in Rivas and Managua, the capital. On the other hand, petty crime is still a concern. Thieves and Pickpockets work on public transport and around bus stops. The majority of the criminals have weapons, so in order to avoid getting injured, do not resist. In a situation of being robbed, notify the police and get a signed and sealed copy of their report.

At night, never walk on the road. Instead, get a taxi even if you are a couple of blocks away from your destination. It is recommended that you travel in groups or with someone who does not only speak Spanish but also knows the local areas. However, most tourists don’t claim about the safety of the country and we also enjoyed our tour quite safely. The important thing is to follow the news on television and radio closely and be aware of your surroundings at all times like you would in any large city.

How to Change Money in Nicaragua?

First of all, it is strictly advised that you should never get the money exchanged at airports because they’ll give a 25% less exchange rate. By all means, it is never acceptable. You can find money exchanging guys in parks & traveler attractions, also hotels, tour places & restaurants. In addition to that, you can also use the ATMs and in my opinion, it is the best option to withdraw the money. Never exchange money at the airport. We recommend taking a mix of US dollar bills that are accepted everywhere and exchanging some money at a bank or street money exchanger when it is convenient.

I made the mistake of thinking it was necessary to get Cordobas on arrival and the rate would be reasonable at the airport. Besides, there are several places to change money at the airport but they are all run by the same companies which are robbing tourists on the rate through their monopoly.

What is Unique about Nicaragua?

The largest lake in Central America is Lake Nicaragua. Currently, it is used as a water supply for many parts of the country and is a huge tourist attraction. The Ruins of Leon Viejo, Nicaragua is the oldest city in Central America which is over 1500 years old. The country is blessed with two coasts, each bordering a different ocean. In this respect, the Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country and the Caribbean to the east.

What is the culture of Nicaragua?

The majority of Nicaraguans are of mestizo origin, the result of breeding between the original Spanish settlers and the native indigenous people. This is something that most Nicas – as they call themselves – are proud of. Most of these festivals that take place in Nicaragua descend from Pre-Columbian traditions, far more so than other countries in the region. It is the mixture of Roman Catholicism that the Spanish brought with them and local indigenous culture has produced something quite unique in Central America.

Locals are generally passive people, and have a “live and let live” policy. Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. They don’t like to insinuate themselves into somebody else’s life.

What is the Geography of Nicaragua?

The terrain of the country is mostly coastal plains that eventually rise up to interior mountains. On the north side of the country, there is a narrow coastal plain that is dotted with volcanoes. Nicaragua’s physical geography divides it into three major zones: the Pacific lowlands, the central highlands, and the Caribbean lowlands. It is also home to the largest body of fresh water in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua. You will see plenty of timber that is drawn on by most of the population and fish is a very popular natural resource that is used for food.

How to travel to Nicaragua?

If you are planning to travel to Nicaragua, here are some of the airlines that will take you to Nicaragua from these countries.

  • London: Air France, KLM, American Airlines offer flights from London to Nicaragua.
  • USA: Airlines like American Airlines, Copa, and Delta carry flights from various US cities to Nicaragua.
  • Dubai: KLM, British Airways and Air France offer flights from Dubai but these are all connecting flights.
  • Singapore: At the moment, there are no direct flights from Singapore. You have to travel to the US and take a connecting flight from the USA.

How to travel in Nicaragua – Transport in Nicaragua?

  • Public buses: Since few people own vehicles in the country so there is a well developed public transportation infrastructure in the country. In the majority of the areas, roofed pickup trucks called rutas are another alternative public transportation option. Urban buses in Managua are for the most part clean and modern.
  • Trains: At the moment, there is no rail facility in the country.
  • Taxis: All the taxis in Nicaragua are members of colectivos (taxi associations), which stop and pick up other clients en route to their destination. Almost all the taxis are unmetered and notorious for ripping off tourists, so you must stay vigilant.
  • Private transfers: Like other Central American countries, you’ll find good companies but check for the rates before making a booking.

What’s the food like in Nicaragua?

The local food and drink of Nicaragua is representative of the diversity of its residents. Creole, Spanish, Garifuna, and Indigenous Nicaraguan cuisines have all influenced in the modern Nicaraguan food, which most travelers find delicious—and exceptionally inexpensive. Major local dishes include Gallo Pinto, Desayuno Nica, Nacatamales, Quesillo, Indio Viejo, Rondón and Baho, etc.

What is the weather like in Nicaragua?

Being a tropical country, Nicaragua has two distinct seasons: the wet season, and the dry season, although the locals call these Invierno (winter) and Verano (summer). A rainy season lasts from May to October, and the wettest months are September until November. It is the time when the Caribbean hurricane season sets in, and so heavy tropical storms are common. From November and April is the dry season, although it still may rain during this time, from the occasional shower to a downpour lasting several days.

Important things to pack for a trip to Nicaragua

Looking to pack stuff for the next Nicaragua tour, consider the following items:

  • Sun hat: It’s good to stay protected against the heat.
  • Scarf: It’s an amazing choice for both men and women. It not only protects from sunlight but also from the sulfur and ash of volcanoes.
  • Water bottle: It’s necessary to stay hydrated.
  • Mosquito spray: It’s a must when traveling Nicaragua.

10 Amazing places to see and things to do in Nicaragua

1. Explore Granada

Photo by Ken Mayer CC BY 2.0

The city offers multiple forms of transportation to get around town, including horse-drawn carriages, but luckily most attractions here can be reached by foot. It is breathtaking with pastel-colored buildings, historic churches, and cobblestone streets.

Suggested Tour: Granada City Tour and Boat Tour in Lake Nicaragua

2. Visit Masaya Volcano

Photo by Ken Mayer CC BY 2.0

To reach the top, you can drive right up and park by the lip of the crater, although cars do have to be facing downhill in case of an emergency evacuation from this active volcano. A tour to Masaya is easily arranged from the capital Managua, which now has a number of new attractions to tempt travelers to stay a few days.

Suggested Tour: Masaya Volcano Night Tour

3. Visit Cerro Mogotón

In fact, Masaya maybe Nicaragua’s most-visited natural treasure; only a few hardy adventurers make it to the top of Cerro Mogotón, which at 2,107 meters (6,913 feet) is Nicaragua’s highest peak and one of its wettest. You must visit it during your tour.

4. Visit Cerro Negro

It is one of the world’s youngest volcanoes; Cerro Negro’s dramatic black cone of gravelly cinder appeared in 1850 and has erupted 23 times since then. It is the best place to practice volcano surfing in the world, Cerro Negro is a bucket-list must.

Suggested Tour: Cerro Negro Volcano Sandboarding, Nicaragua

5. Visit Isla Ometepe

Photo by Balone1988 CC BY 2.0

Accessed by ferry from the port of San Jorge, this large island in Lago Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua) is graced with two mighty volcanoes: the active Concepción Volcano in the north and the not-so-active Maderas in the south.

Suggested Tour: A great tour day for the ISLAND OF OMETEPE.

6 Visiting Christ of the Mercy Statue

You can get access to the statue by just walking the beach and crossing the river at low tide or walking over the bridge. From, either way, it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to get to the top. It is an amazing hike, but it gets steep the last 10 minutes up. The amazing view from the top is breathtaking though.

7. See the olive ridley turtles

Photo by Heather Paul CC BY-ND 2.0

Just imagine seeing thousands of turtles hatching in front of your eyes. Here at The La Flor wildlife refuge reserve is home to the olive ridley turtle nesting. You can observe more than 100 000 olive ridley turtle’s eggs on this particular beach each year.

8. Surf in San Juan del Sur

Here the beaches are beautiful and lapped by warm water. Here you’ll find great surfing (expect to pay around $9 USD per day for board rental and $25 per hour for lessons), the second-largest statue of Jesus in the world (behind Christ the Redeemer in Brazil), and lots of cheap bars.

Suggested Tour: Surf Lessons – Diakachimba!

9. Visit “old” León

Photo by Guillaume Baviere CC BY-SA 2.0

This site is Nicaragua’s only UNESCO World Heritage listing and is one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas. In fact, this isn’t some lavish ruin site, it’s really the only place to see and learn about the country’s founding colonial past.

Suggested Tour: Private Walking Tour of Leon Viejo Ruins

10. Visit Ometepe Island

Photo by Beth and Anth CC BY-SA 2.0

This stunning island is located on Lago de Nicaragua and is formed by two joined volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas. Kayaking, hiking, cycling, and healthy food are the island’s main draws.

Suggested Tour: Day Trip to Ometepe Island

Final thoughts on Nicaragua

This country is an amazing piece of land where you can expect only one thing ‘entertainment’. You’ll enjoy its local culture, traditions and of course, the cuisine. I was quite hesitant before my trip but after my trip, I’m quite confident and I hope to visit the country again for an extended period of time.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]