Whether you're looking for a single country to explore or planning an epic tour of Latin America, Nicaragua deserves a visit. Natural wonders, breathtaking architecture, and centuries of history - not to mention friendly and welcoming citizens - all of these are here for you to discover. Below is just a small sampling of Nicaraguan destinations for your consideration.
Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua and an excellent place to relax for a while and soak up the local culture. Leon hosts a major university and many fine examples of colonial architecture, including some stunning churches. Because it's a university town, Leon is a city filled with museums, a wide array of restaurants, and nightlife. It's also close to a handful of volcanoes and other geological hot spots such as the San Jacinto Swarms, and Poneloya, a very popular Pacific beach.
Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island are postcard examples of Caribbean beauty without the commercial resorts. The sand is white; the water is azure and warm; and the palms sway in the soft breeze. Accommodations are basic but comfortable, and the locals, mainly English-speaking descendants of Creoles, will show you a whole new side of Latin America. Scuba and snorkeling tours are available to see the reefs and marine life, or you can hire a boat and set your own itinerary.
Rio San Juan
If you want to get off the main tourist path and do a little exploring, visit the Department of Rio San Juan. El Castillo is a good place to start. This laid back area offers small markets, river tours, and horseback excursions in the jungle. If you're interested in history, visit the fortress of the Immaculate Conception. Rio San Juan borders Costa Rica, so if you are headed that way, visit this department before you say adios to Nicaragua.
Nicaragua is a vibrant and friendly destination, a small nation that offers urban sophistication, colonial majesty, cloud forests, ruins, volcanoes, Pacific sunsets, and Caribbean paradise. It's a place that will repay the flexible traveler who takes some time to get to know it. You may go there looking for beaches or architecture but find that your favorite memories are of places you might never have considered before you left home.