Top activities to try on a holiday in Nicaragua
Sightseeing in Nicaragua
Nicaragua has a fascinating past, blending colonial heritage with its tribal ancestry. It is the colonial era, however, that has left the most permanent reminders of its time, with numerous landmarks dotted throughout the country's various cities, attesting to the nation's period under European rule.
Among the best places to head to for a flavour of this are the cities of Granada and Leon, both of which boast stunning colonial architecture in every turn. Along with the old mansion houses there are quaint churches, picturesque squares and numerous museums that detail various aspects of the nation's heritage and culture.
In Leon, one must-see attraction is the former home of the poet Ruben Dario (famous starting the literary movement known as "modernismo"), while in Granada you shouldn't miss the Convento y Museo San Francisco, which is the oldest church in Central America and also houses one of the top museums in the area.
Of course, there are plenty of natural attractions that you ought to visit in Nicaragua as well, such as the Masaya Volcano - one of the only volcanoes in the world where you can drive up to the crater rim - and Lago de Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America and the only one that's home to freshwater sharks.
Water sports on offer
With two coastlines and dozens of lakes, Nicaragua is a real paradise for water sports lovers, with all manner of activities on offer for those seeking a little action and adventure. Both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are renowned for their excellent surf breaks, with waves suitable for all levels of surfers rolling in along the country's shores.
Scuba diving is also a popular pastime, with the Caribbean islands of Corn Island and Little Corn Island being among the top places to delve beneath the surface. Conditions on the east coast are generally better suited to beginners, while experienced divers will want to explore the stunning Pacific waters, where large pelagic species are more common and conditions in the water are generally more difficult.
For something sedate, you can go on a kayaking tour along one of Nicaragua's mighty rivers or explore one of the country's impressive lakes by boat.
Action and adventure on dry land
There is also plenty to get to grips with on land in Nicaragua too and you can't come on a holiday here without seeing some of its spectacular landscapes. A visit to at least one of its volcanoes is essential, with the chance to peer into the heart of the Masaya Volcano crater being too good to miss.
Cerro Negro, meanwhile, offers the unusual activity of sandboarding down its black sand slope. Hike the 400 metres to its peak on its rocky side and then sandboard your way down the steep sandy slope that covers its other side.
If you're keen to see some of Nicaragua's stunning rainforests, go on a canopy tour that will see you ziplining from platform to platform high up in the treetop canopy. This presents a great opportunity to look out for the country's colourful birds, as well as insects and even tree-dwelling mammals like monkeys.
For something a little more sedate, you can go hiking on one of the many jungle trails that can be found in the various national parks. Take a guide if you want someone who can provide you with detailed information about the flora and fauna you see.
Rest and relaxation in Nicaragua
Of course, a holiday in Nicaragua doesn't have to be all about getting active and seeking out new thrills - there are plenty of ways to relax and unwind too. One of the best ways to do that is to simply enjoy the scenery at one of the country's beautiful beaches. San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast is one of the top spots for those seeking sunshine and golden sands.
You may not even need to venture away from your hotel in Nicaragua to completely relax though, as many of these establishments have their own spas onsite, where you can indulge with a variety of treatments that range from soothing massages and body scrubs to pedicures and facials.
A fantastic alternative is to book a twin-centre holiday in Nicaragua, which will let you split your time between historic sightseeing, thrilling adventures and some downtime on the beach to relax and be pampered. A twin-centre holiday is the best way to make the most of this stunning country's diverse offerings and tailor your break to suit you.
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