Get amongst incredible natural beauty and colourful colonial towns in Nicaragu

With a nickname like the ‘land of lakes and volcanos’, a trip to Nicaragua wouldn’t be complete without plenty of time spent at both. Tick both boxes by visiting Ometepe Island, a lush, rainforest-filled island formed by two volcanos that rose from Lake Nicaragua. Learn about Nicaragua’s revolutionary past in bohemian Leon, stroll the colourful colonial streets of Granada, then head to Nicaragua’s Pacific coast for the sun, surf and laid-back vibes of San Juan del Sur. In Nicaragua, the nature is uninterrupted, the food is delicious and volcano boarding is real slightly-scary-but-thrilling sport. Experience it all on this nine-day adventure.


Start
Granada, Nicaragua
Finish
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Destination
Nicaragua
Style
Original
Code
QBSN
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore two of the oldest colonial towns in Central America – Granada and Leon. Both cities are packed with colourful historic architecture, interesting museums and plenty of vibrant shops, cafes and restaurants

  • Volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforest, stunning beaches and ancient rock carvings - Ometepe Island has it all. You'll have plenty of free time to explore the island, which is set into beautiful Lake Nicaragua

  • Spend time at Los Ramos, a local indigenous community on Ometepe Island, to experience a slice of local island life. Learn how to make tasty traditional Nicaraguan dishes, then sit down for a meal

  • Chill out in the colourful coastal town of San Juan del Sur, where the beaches are beautiful, the waves are tailor-made for surfing and there’s a hammock with your name on it

Is this trip right for you?

  • Central America is tropical, so expect a hot and humid climate. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun, wear comfortable, light clothing and stay hydrated - especially when out on walking tours.

  • There are many opportunities to get active on this adventure. Some of the optional activities, especially the volcano hikes, require a moderate level of fitness and sturdy walking shoes. If you'd prefer to take it easy, however, there are plenty of other things you can do instead.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos a Nicaragua! This adventure begins in the nation’s laidback capital with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. After this important meeting, you have to choice of going to an optional dinner. Why not use this opportunity to get to know your new travel companions better over a few cold Tonas (a Nicaraguan lager). Otherwise, the city's main drag, Calle la Calzada, is a great place to venture to on your own. A bustling pedestrian-only street, you'll find a slew of great restaurants and cafes here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Begin the day with a guided walking tour, taking in some of Granada’s best sites. Visit the lively Parque Central and its bright, canary-yellow cathedral; the main market, Mercado Municipal, for a chance to browse some of the handcrafted goods and souvenirs on offer; and the 16th-century La Merced Church, where you can climb its spiral staircase to the bell tower for panoramic city views. Balance your exploration of Granada’s colonial streets, with a visit to Convento y Museo San Francisco, to view its collection of indigenous stone statues and learn about the people who inhabited this place before (and after) Spanish colonisation. After getting a feel for the city on foot, hop in a boat for a two-hour tour of Lake Nicaragua, known colloquially as Cocibolca. Discover Las Isletas, a collection of about 365 small islands that formed after a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Today, many of these volcanic isles are tree-covered oases, rich with a variety of bird species and wildlife. Continue your exploration of the area’s incredible natural beauty and head west towards Masaya Volcano National Park, stopping at Laguna de Apoyo (Apoyo Lagoon), a pristine crater lake, along the way. There’s time to take a dip or rent a kayak and do some paddling before continuing to the national park as the sun begins to set. Have your camera handy as you head to a viewpoint to witness a lake of lava bubbling and glowing from Masaya Volcano.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Granada - Leader-led city tour
Optional Activities
  • Granada - Laguna Apoyo kayaking tour - USD45
  • Granada - Bicycle rental (per day) - USD10
  • Granada - Masaya Volcano night hike - USD50
  • Granada - Monkey Island boat tour - USD20
  • Granada - Mombacho Volcano hike - USD40
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, travel to Leon by bus. It’s about a three-hour journey to Nicaragua’s second largest city – take the chance to learn some Spanish phrases from your leader during this time. Like Granada, Leon is an old colonial city packed with stunning historic architecture, restaurants and interesting museums, but what sets Leon apart is its bohemian energy. Its political history and role in the revolution can be seen painted on the walls of its streets. Home to the first university in Nicaragua, Leon is an intellectual town with an appreciation for the arts. Upon arrival, embark on an orientation walk with your leader, then the rest of the day is yours to explore.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leon - Orientation walk
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to explore this exciting city. A good place to start is its magnificent, World Heritage-listed cathedral. A combination of baroque and neoclassical architecture, it is the largest cathedral in Central America. The tombs of several prominent poets, including Leon’s favourite son, Ruben Dario are found within. If it’s a clear day, head to the roof for a view of the city and nearby volcanoes. Another option is to delve into Nicaraguan culture and spend time at its intriguing museums like the Museum of Legends and Traditions or the Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation Art Museum. For a more thrilling option, head to Cerro Negro, an active volcano just outside Leon, and try your hand at sandboarding. Your tour leader can help you organise this activity.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Leon - Volcano Sand Boarding - USD55
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast, travel by private minivan to the ferry port in Rivas (about three to four hours), then catch a one-hour ferry to the island of Ometepe. Hourglass-shaped Ometepe Island is formed by two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua ('Ometepe' literally means 'two volcanoes' in the Nahuatl language). The island is home to fruit plantations, deep jungle and exotic wildlife such as monkeys and parrots. Get acquainted with the island on an orientation walk with your leader, then head to Los Ramos, an indigenous community situated right in the middle of the island’s volcanos, for a cooking class. Learn traditional techniques used to make Nicaraguan dishes like nacatamalies (a type of tamale) or guacales, before sitting down to a meal together.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ometepe Island - Orientation walk
  • Los Ramos Community - Cooking Class
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today you have a free day to discover the island. Perhaps take a hike up to the summit of either the Concepcion or Maderas Volcanoes. Be warned - at 1700 and 1340 metres above sea level respectively, these treks are no walk in the park. You might prefer to splash around in the natural springs, soak up the sun on the beach or check out the island's petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ometepe - Maderas Volcano hike - USD45
  • Ometepe - Ojo de Agua natural spring - USD25
  • Ometepe - Charco Verde tour (includes lunch, Ojo de Agua and Mirador lookout) - USD25
  • Ometepe - Concepcion Volcano hike - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, begin the two-hour journey (by ferry and public bus) to San Juan del Sur, a laidback surf town on Nicaragua’s south-west coast. Though the beach that lines the town’s horseshoe bay itself isn’t particularly great for swimming, you don’t need to travel far to find beautiful golden beaches with year-round waves. Go on an orientation walk with your leader and then enjoy free time to acquaint yourself with this fun little town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Juan del Sur - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free to further explore the colourful coastal scenery. If you’re feeling active, San Juan del Sur has plenty to offer. Perhaps rent a surfboard and spend the day riding the waves at nearby beaches like Playa Maderas or Playa Marsella. Alternatively, head south to La Flor beach reserve, where it’s possible to see olive ridley, hawksbill, leatherback and green sea turtles nesting between July and November. A huge statue of Christ (the largest in Central America) sits atop a cliff above the bay. Hike to the top for spectacular views of the town and Pacific. In the evening, the city boasts a variety of greats bars and restaurants where you can share one final meal with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • San Juan del Sur - La Flor Beach Reserve - Free
  • San Juan del Sur - Surf Board Hire - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today after breakfast, your adventure comes to an end. But if you don’t think you had enough me-time in a hammock by the beach and would like to extend your visit, our reservations team would be happy to help you find further accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

4 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Granada - Leader-led city tour
  • Leon - Orientation walk
  • Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Ometepe Island - Orientation walk
  • Los Ramos Community - Cooking Class
  • San Juan del Sur - Orientation walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable; subject to availability.
3. Please be careful when booking flights to/from Granada; make sure you fly into Managua - Augusto C. Sandino International Airport [MGA]. Managua’s Airport is the closest airport to Granada. Please do NOT book flights to Granada Airport [GRX] as this is in Spain.
4. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

Essential trip information

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