Firsts: our first job, our first car, our first boyfriend/girlfriend. We can never forget them, because they hold a special place in our hearts. For me, I will always have a soft spot for Nicaragua, because it was my very first international trip. I went for a mission trip through this awesome organization called Amigos for Christ. They offer week long mission trips for a really good price and they truly do some awesome work for the local people there. Nicaragua is a great place to get some sun and embrace your inner outdoorsman, with its mountainous landscape, breathtaking beaches, beautiful colonial towns, and volcanoes (yes, volcanoes) for you to climb. Still not convinced on making Nicaragua your next destination? Keep reading below!
Nicaragua is somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s usually not at the top of people’s travel lists, but it should be! Here’s why:
- Leon- Leon is a must if you travel to Nicaragua. It was founded in 1524, making it one of the oldest cities in the country. It still has many ancient colonial-style buildings. It’s known for its architecture and old world feel, and you definitely feel like you’ve stepped back into time when you come here. It’s absolutely beautiful.
- Cerro Negro- Ever done something incredibly scary, somewhat crazy, somewhat dangerous that your mother would never approve of, but after you did it it left you feeling like a superhero? That is what climbing Cerro Negro was for me! Cerro Negro is a 167 year old, active volcano in the western part of the country near Leon, Nicaragua. It’s 2,388 feet in altitude, and magnificent doesn’t start to describe it. You start by climbing up the rocky side of the volcano until you get to the top. When you reach the top, you’re able to take your time and soak in the beautiful view of the landscape and relax a bit. When you’ve regrouped, it’s then time for the fun part. There’s no trail down. To get down you must run, roll, or board down volcanic pebbles to get down! And once you start, the incline is so steep that it’s almost impossible to stop. It sounds a little scary, and it is, but it is SO much fun! Cerro Negro is a must when you come to Nicaragua.
Planning your Nicaraguan Vacation
So now that you’ve decided to go to Nicaragua, here’s everything you need to know:
Where do you fly into?
- Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA)- This airport is located in the capital of Managua. This airport gives you easy access to the Western side of the country.
- Bluefields Airport (BEF)- This is the busiest airport on the Caribbean (Eastern) side of the country. If you are coming for Carnival, this is a good option for you.
There are other, much smaller airports throughout the country. However, these two are the ones most commonly used for commercial travel.
Things to Know
- Language- The national language of Nicaragua is Spanish, so it would help to know a few basics when you go. For help, check out the Spanish language cheat sheet under the “travel tips” tab.
- Currency- The currency of Nicaragua is the cordoba. 1 USD= 29.7C. You can exchange your money when you get to the airport in Nicaragua or at a major international airport here in the U.S.
- Weather- November through April is the best time to go, because it’s the dry season and every day is sunny and warm….well, hot. May through October is the rainy season. It’s still warm, but there are really heavy downpours quite often. While they are heavy, they don’t tend to last long. The rains may make accessibility by car difficult in rural areas.
- Food- Because they are neighbors, the food in Nicaragua is similar to the food in Costa Rica. Gallo pinto, rice and beans, is a national staple, and it’s delicious! I often cook it for breakfast or dinner. Their meals also consist of fresh vegetables like tomatoes and onions, eggs, chicken, and beef. I like to think the food in Nicaragua is picky-eater friendly.
If you want a vacation where you can be outdoorsy, eat good food, and experience warm, Latin American culture, Nicaragua is a good option for you.