Nicaragua is one of the most popular travel destinations in Central American, and it isn't hard to see why. There are ample things to see, do and experience here and to do it properly you will need a good few weeks. There are a good number of hostels in Nicaragua, public transport with the local buses is good, and you can get pretty well anywhere you want to go easily enough provided you have a little bit of Spanish.
Majority of the people in Nicaragua live in the western half of the country. From north to south you can stop off in León and go volcano boarding and explore the stunning architectures. There are some good beaches along this area, such as Poneloya, that have hostels you can stay at during your chilled out surf break. There's a huge number of hostels here ranging from good quality to poor quality and peaceful to party. Do your research before you book.
From León, if you have the time head northeast and go to Esteli and Matagalpa. Esteli has a lovely feel to it as a city and you can hire bicycles to get around. You can also take a day trip up to Somoto and go to the canyon.
Heading south you'll hit the capital city, Managua. This can be quite a dangerous town and it's not advised to spend too much time here unless you're flying in or out of somewhere. There are hostels in Managua that are quite good and many of them have excellent security.
Further south to this is the cool town of Granada. It has a huge selection of hostels, some very beautiful architecture, and other different museums that you can visit and check out. It should only take a day or two before moving on to Isla Ometepe which also has quite a few hostels.
Isla Ometepe is made of two volcanos that protrude up out of the lake. Volcan Concepciones and Volcan Maderas. You can hike both of them but you must have a guide. Maderas is through the jungle where as the larger of the two volcanoes, Concepciones, is very barren and should be started early to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Around each of these volcanoes is a road that will take you on the bus to some of the smaller towns. You'll find hostels scattered along the way here. The lake scenery is stunning and the people are very friendly so take a couple of days to explore this amazing island.
San Juan Del Sur, near the Costa Rican border, is the most popular surf town in Nicaragua. The main stretch is filled with amazing restaurants and bars to chill in. There are ample hostels here and on Sunday's some of them join together to create an event known as Sunday Funday. It's a giant pool crawl from one massive pool to another in the area with alcohol and the hostels ferry you from one place to another in the back of a series of trucks. It's a load of fun and you should get involved. Do be careful not to be alone on the beach at night or anywhere in the town here as you will be a high target for muggers.
If you are up for a massive adventure, try Corn Island off the east coast of the mainland. You can take public transport for 12 to 24 hours from Managua over to Bluefields and catch the boat over with the locals or for those less adventurous, you can fly from Managua. If you have the time it is well worth the trip as Little Corn is a beautiful island.
Hi, I'm Globetrotter,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Nicaragua hostels. Welcome.
I would like to share information regarding a restaurant, El Mexicano, which is a hidden gem for cheap and good quality food in Matagalpa. The owners are very friendly and the menu is excellent -- the tacos, nachos, and enchiladas are to die for. Go and enjoy some good food.
San Juan del Sur is wonderful for anyone who likes beaches, drinks, good people, and good food.
Moyogalpa is the largest town on the Isla de Ometepe and also the main port where the boats dock in from San Jorge. From the docks, you walk up the main street and you will find many of the Moyogalpa hostels along or close to this stretch of road. The buses to other areas of the island also leave from a small way up …
Granada is a great city!
It's quiet, nothing much happens. People are very polite and you feel welcome. It's really a fishing village -- if you don't know what a fishing village is, come to Las Penitas. I love it here.