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Essence of Nicaragua Tour


Nicaragua is Central America’s best hidden secret! It is a land of clay-tiled villages and colonial architecture, of volcanic heat and Caribbean cool, Nicaragua is as charming as it is diverse, enticing as it is unfathomable. With its fiery volcanoes, crystal-clear lagoons, lush cloud forests, immense lakes, and stunning beaches – Nicaragua provides the traveller with endless adventure. Home to seven million proud, outspoken inhabitants that continue to reinvent themselves amid unending political, geological, and economic drama.

During this Nicaragua Tour you will travel to 3 distinct regions of Nicaragua – the colourful colonial town of Granada and its beautiful isletas, the volcanic island of Ometepe, and the vibrant city of Leon. This 10 day Nicaragua itinerary has lots to offer even the most intrepid of travellers! Paddle, hike, and board your way around one of our favourite destinations in Central America!

This is a custom tour and can be best tailored to meet your travel needs.


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Highlights Include:

  • Kayaking around Granada’s Isletas
  • Exploring diverse regions of Nicaragua
  • Hiking along a volcanic crater rim at twilight to see the lava flows
  • Unwinding at the spectacular Apoyo Lagoon
  • Wandering through the colourful colonial streets of Granada
  • Learning about Nicaragua’s rich history & culture
  • Exploring the dual volcano island of Ometepe

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Day 1: Arrival Nicaragua – Travel to Granada

Welcome to the land of lakes and volcanoes! Transfer from the International Airport to your hotel in Granada for our short drive to Granada.

Granada was founded in 1524 and is believed to be the second oldest city established in mainland Latin America by the Spanish conquest. During colonial times, Granada saw much unrest as the city was attacked several times by pirates.

Nowadays Granada is characterized by bright-coloured Spanish-colonial architecture, visible throughout the city centre. Granada is a gem that is easy to love with much of its colonial architecture intact after being painstakingly restored. The Spanish built Granada strategically on Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua) adjacent to the indigenous community of Xalteva, whose residents suddenly found themselves working for their new foreign “visitors”. Granada quickly grew into a trade hub with a Spanish merchant class developing as a result. The ambiance is very pleasant and there is a wide array of popular restaurants and bars, especially along the boulevard from the central park to the shores of Lake Nicaragua. While the city in itself is already an impressive attraction, the immediate surroundings make Granada a place where you will want to spend a couple of days.

The elegant Hotel Plaza Colón is a beautifully refurbished colonial house overlooking Central Park. It combines modern amenities with the old colonial architecture of the restored building.

Meals: None
Overnight: Hotel Colon

Day 2: Granada Las Isletas Kayak Adventure

In the morning, delight with the views from a kayak adventure around Las Isletas de Granada. In the afternoon, learn about Granada in a city tour by bike, followed by a chocolate workshop.

08:00 Granada – Las Isletas Kayak Adventure (Private)
If you are looking for a quiet experience in the wilderness, this tour is perfect for you. As you navigate through the calm waters with your guide, be sure to keep an eye out for the different species of birds and wildlife that inhabit the lake and its surroundings. You pass by local fishing communities where you get a glimpse of their daily island life.

14:00 Granada – City Tour (Private)
No visit to Granada is complete without a tour of the citys historic center. Founded by the Spanish in 1524, Granada is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas.

On this guided tour you will travel both on foot and in a classic horse-drawn carriage to explore key sites including the San Francisco Convent, founded in 1529. Youll also visit the Merced church where you have the opportunity to climb the bell tower and enjoy spectacular views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and Mombacho volcano. The last stop is the oldest part of the city where you visit the Xalteva church and the old city walls.

16:00 Granada – Chocolate Workshop
Depart for the ChocoMuseo to learn everything about chocolate and cacao. After exploring the museum, you will participate in a museum-led workshop where participants prepare handmade chocolate from 100% Nicaraguan organic cacao beans.

This one and a half hour workshop covers the entire chocolate making process, starting from the cocoa bean and ending with a handmade bar of chocolate in your very own hands. The preparation of cocoa-based beverages is also detailed in the workshop, including how to prepare an ancient Maya drink. This unique and enjoyable tour provides the opportunity to accomplish a unique activity while learning about cultural heritage in a very positive and joyful way, all with the promise of delicious chocolate to wrap up the tour.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Hotel Colon

Day 3: Volcanoes

Today you will explore the surrounding volcanoes. In the morning, have fun with a canopy and hiking tour at Mombacho Volcano. Late in the afternoon head to Masaya volcano for a night tour, where you will be able to admire the lava lake in Santiago crater.

08:00 Mombacho Volcano – Combo Crater & Canopy (Private)
You will be driven to the top (1150 meters) of the volcano in a truck. After a quick trip to the scientific station you will explore this impressive volcano on a guided walk. The well-kept Crater Trail (1.5 km) leads you around the crater through dense cloud forest. You can enjoy spectacular views overlooking Granada, Las Isletas, Laguna de Apoyo and the Masaya Volcano. Be sure to keep an eye out for the howler and white face monkeys as well as sloths and the endemic Mombacho salamander, found nowhere else in the world except here.

After the crater trail you head down the mountain to the place where you can do a zip lining tour. The canopy tour consists of 11 zip lines and 17 platforms. All guests are accompanied by an expert instructor and provided with high quality equipment, including helmets, pulleys, and gloves.

16:00 Masaya Volcano – Twilight Tour
Masaya Volcano National Park is located half an hour from the capital city of Managua, and is one of the most popular volcanoes in the pacific region of Nicaragua due its constant activity. On this three hour tour, you will have the unique chance to experience an active volcano up close and personal, watching as boiling lava roils below inside the volcano crater.

To begin the tour, you are transferred by car to the crater of the volcano. Exit the vehicle and walk toward the crater to observe the warm glow of the incandescent lava lake below. Just as Nicaraguan ancestors once did, witness the raw power and beauty of nature.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Hotel Colon

Day 4: Isla de Ometepe (Ometepe Island)

 Transfer to San Jorge port, boarding point for the ferry to Ometepe. At your arrival, before heading to your hotel, visit Charco Verde Nature Reserve for a hiking tour.

Transfer : 07:30 – Granada – San Jorge – Distance: 70 km. – Road is in good condition. Average travel time: 1:45h
Ferry : 09:30 – San Jorge – San José del Sur – Distance: 20 km. Average travel time: 1:15h
Transfer : 10:30 – San José del Sur – Altagracia – Distance: 14 km. – Road is in good condition. Average travel time: 16 minutes.

Destination Info: Isla de Ometepe – Concepcion
The island of Ometepe is situated in one of the world´s largest fresh water lakes, Lake Nicaragua. Ometepe has served as home to indigenous tribes and cultures for many centuries, of which the many pre-Columbian petroglyphs are silent witnesses.

The two volcanoes on the island, Concepción and Maderas, offer stunning views when approaching Ometepe by boat from the mainland. Both volcanoes have their own climate and unique vegetation and hiking either of them is a great way to enjoy spectacular views of the surroundings.

Concepción is the larger of the two, with 1610 meters above sea level it is Nicaragua´s second largest volcano. The volcano has tropical dry forest and can be climbed during a guided full day tour. The largest villages Altagracia and Moyogalpa and the island´s main ports are all on the Concepción half of the island.

10:30 Ometepe Island – Charco Verde Walking Tour
The natural reserve Charco Verde is a protected area located between Ometepe´s two volcanoes. The area consists of a lagoon, a beach, and a forest.

The reserve is named Charco Verde (Green Puddle) due to the green color of the lagoon. Many birds find shelter in this part of the island so birdwatching enthusiasts should keep an eye out!

The hike is not strenuous and leads up a hill, from where you have nice views on the surroundings.

Finca San Juan de la Isla
The San Juan de la Isla Lodge is located on the Island of Ometepe and is a great choice for visitors who wish to feel at one with the island nature and culture. Comfort, privacy, great lake and volcano views, authentic Nicaraguan hacienda style, a long sandy beach and warm water all invite the visitor to make San Juan de la Isla the first choice for a beach front lodge on Ometepe Island.

The volcano lodges beach-front location is the ideal base for swimming in Lake Nicaraguas clean, warm waters. Other activities include hiking inside nature reserves, mountain biking, horseback riding and volcano climbing.

Overnight: Finca San Juan de la Isla
Meals: B/-/-

Day 5: Picnic in San Ramón Waterfall

Head out to Maderas volcano, where you will enjoy a hiking tour till San Ramón waterfall and a picnic overlooking the area.

08:00 Ometepe Island – PïcNic next to San Ramon Waterfall (Lunch)
Ometepe is all about hiking in the impressive nature. People who find the challenge of one of the two volcanoes a little bit too much, but are still in good condition, can choose to hike to the San Ramón waterfall.

You start at the forested foot of the southern slope of the Maderas volcano and hike for about 2 hours to reach the waterfall, where you can cool off from the effort in a small bathing area while feeling the force of the water falling down on you.

The hike is not very difficult, but temperatures and humidity can be high and can make the climb tough. With 50 meters, the waterfall offers an impressive sight. Enjoy of a tasty pic nic next to the waterfall before heading back.

Overnight: Finca San Juan de la Isla
Meals: B/L/-

Day 6: Apoyo Lagoon

Board the ferry back to San Jorge port and continue to Apoyo lagoon for an afternoon at leisure.

Transfer : 07:30 – Altagracia – Moyogalpa – Distance: 25 km. – Road is in good condition. Average travel time: 30 minutes
Ferry : 09:00 – Moyogalpa – San Jorge – Distance: 25 km. Average travel time: 1:00h
Transfer : 10:00 – San Jorge – Apoyo Lagoon – Distance: 79 km. – Road is in good condition. Average travel time: 1:45h

Destination Info: Laguna de Apoyo
The beautiful lagoon, Laguna de Apoyo, is located between Granada and Masaya and was formed thousands of years ago, when a volcano exploded. In 1991, the lagoon was declared as a natural reserve. Laguna de Apoyo is said to have the cleanest water of all fresh water lakes in Nicaragua.

The lake is easily accessible by car but still far from being overcrowded, and with its warm water and beautiful surroundings it attracts many visitors, international as well as domestic. Laguna de Apoyo offers many activities to spend the day with; relax in one of the hotels at the shore of the lake or take walks to encounter monkeys, hummingbirds, toucans and much more. The flora and fauna in this region is incredible diverse.

Take a swim in the nice warm and clean water or paddle around in a kayak. There are plenty of possibilities to go hiking, scuba diving and paragliding as well. This place is truly gorgeous and should be on everyone´s itinerary when traveling in Nicaragua.

Pacaya Lodge and Spa
Situated at the rim of the Laguna de Apoyo crater, Pacaya Lodge offers a boutique, luxury experience. Each of their 26 rooms has stunning views over the jungle canopy to the crater lake, with Granada and Lake Nicaragua just visible in the distance. The lodge and guest rooms feature furniture, art and decor created by local artists and artisans, blending a distinctly local feel with the lodge´s warm, contemporary design.

With ingredients fresh from the organic garden or sourced from local farmers, Pacaya offers a memorable and unique culinary experience in an open-air restaurant and bar. Inspired by traditional Nicaraguan favorites, the menu features a modern take on local staples.

The on-site spa offers a range of massage, facial and body treatments. Other amenities include a yoga deck, a floating deck and paddleboards, an infinity pool, wireless internet and private balcony with hammocks.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Pacaya Lodge

Day 7: Day at leisure in Apoyo Lagoon

Free day to enjoy the lagoon.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: Pacaya Lodge

Day 8: Transfer to León

Continue to León. In the afternoon, delight with a walking city tour around León.
Transfer : 08:30 – Apoyo Lagoon – León – Distance: 125 km. – Road is in good condition.
Average travel time: 3:00h

Destination Info: León
The city of León is a cultural-historical city with an authentic atmosphere where visitors can easily connect with the locals. León offers a quiet, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere that comes to life at night owing to the city´s large student population. In the evenings you can enjoy parties, live music, folkloric performances and much more.

The center with its colonial buildings, beautiful churches and the cathedral which has been declared as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, are only some of León´s many attractions.

If you want to cool off you can head to the nearby beaches of Poneloya and Las Peñitas. Culture buffs may want to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of León Viejo, where the city was originally founded, whereas those who enjoy hiking can go to one of the many volcanoes in the surrounding area. One of the most popular attractions is volcano boarding at Cerro Negro.

14:00 León – City Walking Tour (Private)
Explore the fascinating history of one of Nicaragua’s oldest and most influential cities by foot. León is considered to be Nicaragua’s historical, cultural, educational and religious capital. The city was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt due to volcanic activities, ransacked (and reconstructed) by pirates, and won and lost its position as the country’s most important city against Managua.

During this guided walking tour, you visit revolutionary murals, baroque and neoclassical churches and an art museum displaying works by internationally renowned artists. A local market, colonial buildings -among them Nicaragua´s first university- will also be explored. In addition, you climb to the rooftop of Central America´s largest cathedral, registered on UNESCO´s list of World Heritage, and enjoy the astonishing views over the city and surrounding Maribios Volcanic Chain.

Hotel El Convento is one of León´s most elegant places to stay. The hotel has been rebuilt on the grounds of the old San Francisco convent using the same Spanish-colonial style. El Convento breathes a very Spanish-colonial atmosphere with its magnificent inner courtyard garden and views of the San Francisco church which demonstrate the history that dates back to 1639.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: El Convento

Day 9: Leon – Volcano Boarding or Juan Venado Island

08:00 León – Juan Venado Island Motorboat Tour
Juan Venado Island is a nature reserve situated 25 minutes from León and located to the south of the beaches of Las Peñitas and Poneloya. On one side is a deserted 20 kilometer beach strip and on the other side a winding channel in the heart of a mangrove swamp. Juan Venado is well-known as a vital coastal wetland region and includes known turtle nesting grounds and a bird nesting region.

We transfer you from your hotel in León to the Pacific bay of Las Peñitas where you will board a motorboat towards the island. Remember to wear suitable footwear as your feet will get wet.

Lined with mangrove forest between the island and coast, our captain will find the perfect route through the curvy waterway to the secluded Pacific beach side of the island. Here we take you for a walk and if you like, you can have a refreshing dive into the Pacific Ocean.
Note: clients can choose in  advance to change this tour for the volcano boarding within the same price.

08:00 León – Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding
Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America (formed in 1850) as well as one of the most active ones. Only about 712 meters above sea level, do not be fooled by the seemingly small size of the volcano, the ascent is steep and tough. The unique topography allows for a thrilling sandboarding experience where you will speed to the bottom, gliding over dark volcanic sand on your carefully designed sand-surfing board.

The Cerro Negro Sand-boarding tour begins with one hour walk to the top of the volcano. During the hike, short stops are included to receive information about the history of the volcano and point out features, such as the craters and lava fields. Once at the top, instructions are given and its time to put on the protective equipment and begin with the descent. Exciting, educational, and capped off with a thrilling sandboarding (adrenalin-fueled) experience few will ever know.

Meals: B/-/-
Overnight: El Convento

Day 10: Departure Day

Bid farewell to beautiful Nicaragua! Transfer to the International Airport. End of services. Thank you for traveling with us.
Transfer : León – Managua Airport – Distance: 102 km. – Road is in good condition.
Average travel time: 2:00h
Meals: Breakfast
Thanks for travelling with Finisterra!

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Granada: Plaza Colon
Ometepe: Finca San Juan de la Isla
Apoyo Lagoon: Pacaya Lodge
Leon: El Convento

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Tour Inclusions:

    • 9 nights hotel/guesthouse/lodge accommodation
    • All transportation as per itinerary (boats, ferries, private vehicles)
    • Guiding services in English
    • Activities & sightseeing specified in the itinerary
    • Meals as specified (9 breakfast, 1 lunch)
    • All applicable taxes

Tour Exclusions:

    • International flights to Managua, Nicaragua
    • Services not specified, meals not specified
    • Alcoholic beverages, other beverages
    • Items of a personal nature
    • Mandatory travel insurance & optional trip cancellation insurance
    • Tips for housekeeping staff, servers, guides, drivers, etc
    • Departure taxes (domestic and international if applicable)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Pricing” tab_id=”1449208781393-5b5a961e-7010″][vc_column_text]Date: Available upon Request

Please note that this price is based on 2 travellers in double accommodation. Prices are subject to change.