Average cost p/day: $US35
Time frame: 2-3 weeks
Currency: Nicaraguan Cordoba
Nicaragua is where the party’s at! It’s the home of Flor de Cana rum – which will inevitably become your new best friend; dirt cheap and absolutely delicious. When you are not out partying, you will be relaxing on a beach… Or learning how to surf… Or going volcano boarding… Or cruising down a canyon… Or riding mopeds around a beautiful volcano-filled island in the middle of a massive lake! There are endless adventures to be had in this incredible country.
WHERE TO GO
Leon is a colonial town with some colourful streets and pretty churches, but not much else. The main attraction in Leon is infact just outside of Leon. Backpackers come here to go ‘volcano boarding’ down Cerro Negro. The climb up will take less than an hour, made slightly difficult by the large board you’ll be holding and the fierce wind you’ll be battling. The ride down is a quick thrill – just remember to close your mouth, otherwise you’ll have a mouth full of volcano ash!
Hostel Recommendation – Big Foot Hostel (they also organise fantastic volcano boarding tours)
Get a guide to take you along a section of this stunning canyon for a day of cliff jumping, swimming and floating down the river. The views are pretty spectacular…so spectacular that they even popped it on the 50C note. You’ll be able to spot all kinds of animals – such as bats, snakes, lizards and water-jumping spiders! If you’re lucky you might even see cowboys herding cows across the river.
This can be done as a day trip from Leon but it’s a HUGE drive, so perhaps try looking for a hostel somewhere nearer.
Surfing Turtle, Los Brasiles
Surfing Turtle is a rustic, secluded hostel about 20km from Leon. The hostel is right on the beach and hosts volleyball competitions every afternoon as well as games and activities every evening. If you visit between September and February you might even get to see some turtles hatching and help release them into the ocean!
Hostel Recommendation – Surfing Turtle Lodge
Granada & Lake Apoyo
Granada is the oldest Colonial city in Nicaragua, and similar to Leon in many ways. Again, there are colourful buildings and nice churches, but also some dreary looking streets. Nearby you’ll find Lake Apoyo, a volcano crater lake. It’s one of the cleanest in the world because they don’t allow motored boats on it. Perfect for swimming, kayaking and jumping off the random platform in the middle of the lake!
Hostel Recommendation – Hostel Oasis (Granada) You can easily do a day trip to Lake Apoyo from here, or there are hostels right on the lake if you’d prefer.
San Juan Del Sur
San Juan Del Sur is probably the most backpacker-filled town you’ll find in all of Central America. Boasting great beaches, excellent nightlife and better restaurants than anywhere else in the country, it’s a no brainer. The beach right in town is average, but there are several other beaches only a short bus-ride away to explore. There’s a statue of Christ up on a hill just outside of town that is well worth the little hike. San Juan is also host to the weekly ‘Sunday Funday’ where you will hop between bars and hostels (with massive pools) all day long.
Hostel Recommendation – Casa de Olas (or if you prefer to stay right in town, Pacha Mamas)
An island… In the middle of a lake… Made up of two volcanoes? Yes please! While here you can hike up a volcano, see a huge waterfall and swim in natural springs. The most popular way to get around while on the island is to hire a moped, motor bike, quadbike or…just anything with wheels! Great fun.
Hostel Recommendation – Little Morgan’s