Nicaragua is a small country right in the middle of America. For its privileged position between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, it has been the meeting point of a number of cultures, as well as a country with a rich history, being the tourist destination par excellence if you want to enjoy paradisiacal sites as well as having an unprecedented cultural encounter.
Therefore here, we present the top 10 hidden gems in Nicaragua, which should not be missed for any reason.
1. Natural Reserve “Aguas Agrias”
The crystal clear water and the great variety of flora and fauna are what most impresses tourists visiting the Natural Reserve Rio Manares de Aguas Agrias, an ideal place for lovers of community tourism.
This heavenly place is located south of the Mombacho volcano, in the Aguas Agrias community, in Nandaime, just 45 minutes from the capital city, Managua.
2. Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve
Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve is located south of the city of Granada. The beauty of its landscapes and the richness of its flora and fauna make this place a unique one with a very pleasant climate. The volcano is 1,500 meters above sea level. With a lot to offer, a visit to this place is a once in a lifetime experience.
Although the site is a scenario for extreme sports and adventure, the guides always offer some recommendations to visitors, which has guaranteed that there will be no incidents.
3. Corn Islands
The white sand, turquoise water, make this a paradisiacal place. It is the natural goodness that makes this island known for having the best beaches in Nicaragua.
The Corn Islands, formed by Corn Island and Little Corn Island, are a true vacation destination for any international tourist.
Your time on the Corn Islands won’t disappoint you, whether you’re exploring the jungle, walking the coast, swimming, rowing, diving, kayaking or fishing in the Caribbean waters or just relaxing on the unspoiled beaches.
4. Somoto Canyon
The spectacular Somoto Canyon is one of the sites in Nicaragua that offers a unique combination of entertainment and appreciation of natural resources, which undoubtedly generates satisfaction to nature lovers.
The site was declared a National Monument due to its majesty by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR).
The Somoto Canyon has an extension of three kilometers, and in its aquatic route, you can appreciate the flora of the place, mainly orchids, which are exposed in the impressive cliffs that rise on both sides.
5. Apoyo Lagoon
In 2018, Laguna de Apoyo was rated by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful bathing places in the world. This lagoon is located in the center of the volcanic chain that crosses Nicaragua. Laguna de Apoyo is one of the most beautiful lagoons in the small Central American country and is close to the city of Granada and the department of Masaya.
The scenic beauty of the site, the nature of abundant flora and fauna, the calm and clean waters of the lagoon and the wide wooded ring of the slopes make Apoyo an incredible destination for foreign visitors, with an interesting array of tourist activities.
6. Ometepe Islands
The magic of Ometepe Island takes your breath away from you as you board the ferry in San Jorge and begin to admire the imposing beauty of Nicaragua’s Great freshwater lake and the Maderas and Concepción volcanoes.
Ometepe Island offers you direct contact with Mother Nature. In this space, you can find insects, monkeys, fruits, sand, herons, botanical gardens, butterflies, chocoyos, sun, beach, crystal clear water and healing as the Ojo de Agua. The Ojo de Agua is born in a natural way; thanks to the Concepción Volcano and reaches a swimming pool with a virgin ecosystem.
7. San Juan Del Sur
In the Pacific of Nicaragua is the spectacular bay of San Juan del Sur, a tourist destination that is recognized nationally and internationally for its scenic beauty, the warmth of its people and because it offers different recreation alternatives for its visitors. In San Juan del Sur, you will be able to find different hotel proposals, taste the local gastronomy and enjoy the sun and the waves.
This beach is an almost perfect u-shaped bay, surrounded by mountains. This is where the town of San Juan del Sur was established, making it one of the most attractive in the country. Its sand is not white as in the Caribbean, but clearer than in the rest of the Pacific.
You can indulge in boat trips to visit neighboring beaches, sport fishing, scuba diving, marine photography, whale watching, canopy tour in the mountainous surroundings, and an active nightlife.
Swimming is possible thanks to the calm waters, however, you have to take into account the number of boats that are parked in the bay.
8. Historic Ruins of León Viejo
The Historic Ruins of León Viejo, founded by the Spaniards in 1524 and declared by the UNESCO as the Historical-Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is the first site to hold this title in Nicaragua. León Viejo is one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas and this is where the city of León was originally founded, located in the region of Puerto Momotombo, department of León.
Today it is a place of historical interest, where you can observe the ruins of the ancient city, statues of characters of the time, restorations of some buildings, Momotombo volcano, and Lake Xolotlán, as well as enjoy a guided tour that will take you back to the past.
9. El Chocoyero Nature Reserve
El Chocoyero Nature Reserve is a great place to hike and observe nature. This reserve is located less than 30 kilometers from Managua. The last seven kilometers are unpaved and pass through pineapple, coffee and banana plantations. This will slow you down a bit, but you won’t get bored, the view is magnificent. The old volcanic chain surrounds the reserve and nature is everywhere.
Nature within the reserve also has much to offer. There are many trails that lead to different types of forest and vegetation. With an abundance of water, El Chocoyero is always green and wildlife is flourishing. Two types of monkeys inhabit the park: the howler monkey and the white-faced monkey. The reserve is famous for its green chocoyos, whose nests are near the waterfalls. These can be seen in large numbers in the mornings, when they take flight and leave, and in the afternoons when they return. During the day they wander around the reserve looking for food.
10. Centro Cultural Convento San Francisco
The Centro Cultural Convento San Francisco is a museum located next to the old San Francisco Church in Granada. The museum offers a beautiful collection of historical objects, paintings, and statues. In some rooms, there are permanent exhibits, while others have a different theme from time to time.
The Pre-Columbian Statues of Zapatera Island are part of the permanent collection. They date from 800 A.D. to 1200 A.D. There are 28 tall objects that were sculpted by the indigenous people of Zapatera Island (located on Lake Nicaragua).
The history of Granada is represented in 31 photos from the period 1890 – 1940. There is also a recent model of Granada, which will give you an idea of how the city is organized today.
There are 27 works by famous painters from the Solentiname archipelago. The oil paintings are Primitive Paintings, a type of Nicaraguan painting that has become very famous internationally. In Solentiname there is still a School of Primitive Painting and this style of painting typical of the archipelago is still produced.
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Updated: July 9, 2019