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What to do in Nicaragua

This biggest Central American country often becomes the favourite one among travellers in Latin America. The locals call it "the land of lakes and volcanoes", every type of traveller will find something they adore about Nicaragua.



Nicaragua, a Latin American country, famous for its colonial cities, lakes, volcano route, cigars, surf and recently party vibe. This, combined with sweet locals and large diasporas of migrants from western countries, Nicaragua often becomes the favourite country of those traversing the continent. 

The western region is the most visited part of the country along with the Corn Islands in the Caribbean, whilst the eastern region remains substantially unexplored. This article will feature both; the touristic places and the lesser known locations that are worth scouting.

Traveling is much more than visiting places, so don't miss out this article about Nicaragua: language and other cultural facts.

With many transportation options available, from shuttles to chicken buses, and the big choice of accommodations, it is very easy to move across the country. It is also rather safe, although precautions should always be taken. 

Check out this article to know more about safety in Nicaragua.

What to do in Nicaragua

The colonial towns: Granada & León

The colonial past of Nicaragua can be observed in those two towns. Popular for its cathedrals, plazas, and colourful buildings, they should not be skipped. 

If your idea of fun is partying with other travellers, then Granada and León will not disappoint you as there are parties and other fun events hosted by hostels.

If you'd rather immerse yourself in local culture and learn about the history, then scrolling along Calle La Calzada in Granada is a nice place to observe the local life. The Revolution Museum in León is where you can learn more about the history of Nicaragua. 

Surf in the Pacific

San Juan del Sur is one of the most visited places in Nicaragua. Full of cafes, bars, restaurants, and clubs this place is perfect for social butterflies

It is also visited by those, wishing to surf. There are beaches for both beginners and advanced surfers, and classes can easily be arranged with a local guide. Situated in south Nicaragua, this is often the first or last stop when travelling across Central America.

Las Peñitas is a sleepy version of SJDS. It also offers great waves and beautiful beaches. It is a better option if you like local life and tranquillity. Surfboard rental and classes are available. 

This small village is in northern Nicaragua and could make a great day trip from the nearby León. To get even more off the beaten path, head north to Jiquilillo

Ometepe Islands

This island composed of two active volcanoes is simply magical. Ideal for nature lovers, this place offers unique environment, healthy food (Nicaraguan food is great but not always the healthiest), fresh coffee or pure cacao, incredible views of the volcanoes from everywhere as well as glimpses of the past: geoglyphs and caves. 

Visit Finca Magdalena near Balgue to see all those things in one place! 

Climb a volcano

You can’t leave "the land of volcanoes and lakes" without climbing a volcano! With nineteen volcanoes to choose from, some of the most popular ones are at Volcano Concepcion and Maderas on the Islas Ometepe. For those that prefer a bit more thrill and challenge, San Cristóbal Volcano near Chinandega, is the highest volcano in the country. At 1,745m high, this volcano is also one of the most active ones, therefore it is guaranteed to be a great adventure!


Nicaragua is one of those places that you will want to stay for as long as you can. With Worldpackers you can save money on accommodation, in exchange of few hours of work! An amazing opportunity to get to know this country better, spend time with new friends, meet locals and give back to the community!

If you like to be creative and enjoy helping others, this volunteering opportunity in El Transito, a surf town in the Pacific, is worth checking out. With no specific skills required, this position is open to all. 

Some lesser-known places to visit in Nicaragua

How about trying some less touristy places? If you like to go off the beaten path, you'll probably enjoy the recommendations below:

River San Juan

Just off the Lake Cocibolca, the river San Juan is a natural border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This place is rich in history and unique landscapes, that can only be explored on a boat or canoe. 

Located in the Indio Maiz Reserve, it is one of the most unexplored regions of the country. This reserve is home to primary forest, native communities, unique wildlife and secrets of the past. A journey down this river is an incredible, raw adventure, ideal for experienced, thrill searching travellers. 

Islas Solentiname

An archipelago of 36 islands located on the Lake Cocibolca, this is truly an unique place. The place to go for art lovers as almost everyone living on the islands is an artist! 

Renowned for their balsa carvings and primitivist paintings, visitors get a chance to observe the work in progress as well as purchase unique souvenir directly from the locals

This place does not get a lot of tourists, so your only choice of accommodation is staying at a local’s house, which is a wonderful experience and that makes Solentiname Islands the best option for connecting with locals and immersing in the local culture. 

Did you like these ideas? Subscribe to the Worldpackers Community for free and start saving your favorite volunteer positions until you are ready to get verified.

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