Why visit Nicaragua
Visit Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, to discover a destination suitable for every type of holidaymaker, with beautiful beaches that stretch across both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. A haven for intrepid travellers, there are 19 active and dormant volcanoes, 14 of which are filled with crater lakes – Cerro Negro is a popular choice for swimming.
There is still plenty to do in Nicaragua to go off the beaten track and get in touch with nature. Unspoiled and authentic, Nicaragua offers an exceptional experience. Get close to nature and learn about the people who live in this beautiful country through their history, food and captivating traditions.
Why visit Nicaragua
- Surfing is renowned on the coasts of this fascinating country.
- The coral reefs around the Corn Islands are breathtaking.
- Discover incredible wildlife, including sea turtles, jaguars, cougars and many birds.
- There are many colourful colonial towns to explore.
- Enjoy a wealth of adventure and outdoor activities, from ziplining and rubber tubing to abseiling and volcano boarding.
- Its cloud forests are spectacular.
- Nicaragua’s chocolate and coffee are exceptional.
- There are so many eco-lodges in which to stay, in pristine natural settings.
- The people are warm and friendly.
Lush rainforests filled with splendid waterfalls, massive volcanoes to climb, unforgettable sunsets and charming colonial cities are some of the highlights awaiting you when you travel to Nicaragua. Discover this hidden gem with its spectacular natural attractions, fabulous food and even better coffee – an excellent destination for families, couples, friends or solo adventurers.
Things to do in Nicaragua
Wherever you go in Nicaragua, whether it’s the coast, a remote island or to explore lush rainforests, you’re in for a treat. Nicaragua’s travel offerings are as diverse as its landscapes, providing a wealth of activities.
You can explore its fascinating coffee route to find out how coffee is made and sample some of Central America’s best brews. You can go surfing or enjoy so many different watersports on its beautiful beaches, watch sea turtles hatch on the Pacific coast, enjoy bird watching at Lake Nicaragua or trek in the jungle to see jaguars and cougars. Hiking on the country’s numerous volcanoes is another favourite pastime, as is exploring its charming Colonial towns, full of history and culture.
Things to do in Nicaragua
- Step back in time when you explore Granada with its well-preserved architecture.
- Go surfing in San Juan del Sur.
- Watch sea turtles hatch on the Pacific coast.
- Spot monkeys, jaguars and cougars in the jungle.
- Visit extraordinary Ometepe Island on Lago de Nicaragua.
- Explore the ruins of the old city of Leon, which dates back to the 16th Century. Climb to the rooftop of the richly decorated Cathedral of Leon, for stunning views of the city and volcanoes in the distance.
- Enjoy volcano boarding – hiking up the volcano and boarding down.
- Escape to the Robinson Crusoe-style Corn Islands for a beach break.
- Hike through a cloud forest in Miraflores.
- Spend the day kayaking, paddle boarding, or swimming in Lake Nicaragua.
- Enjoy the party lifestyle in the beach resort of Rivas.
Natural wonders worth exploring include Somoto Canyon, with its epic rock formations and the spectacular Solentiname Islands where you can enjoy hiking and bird watching. There are so many exciting things to do in Nicaragua – the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Thompsons Holidays can arrange the perfect Nicaragua holiday package to suit you.
Know before you go...
- Best time to visit tropical Nicaragua is when it’s cool and dry, December to April (winter).
- Wet season is the summer months, June to October.
- November is the shoulder season, when the rains have stopped and the weather is pleasant.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Managua in Nicaragua via Atlanta, USA: 25 hours with one stopover.
- There are no regular flights from South Africa to Nicaragua.
- South African passport holders do not require a visa to enter Nicaragua for a stay of up to 90 days.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure from Nicaragua.
- Nicaragua is 8 hours behind South Africa.
- Daylight saving is not practiced in Nicaragua.
- The official currency is the Nicaraguan Cordoba (NIO).
- US Dollars are widely accepted in Nicaragua.
- Credit cards are widely accepted & ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is customary in Nicaragua.
- The official language is Spanish.
- English is widely spoken.
- Christianity is the main religion in Honduras.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Nicaragua. Bottled water is readily available.
- Many public restrooms charge a small fee for use, so keep change on hand for this.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Vaccinations – please check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, warm layers for winter or beach wear depending on where you are going.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Nicaragua revolves around buses, taxis, motor taxis & caponeras (bicycles with space for passengers).
- Towns in outlying areas may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!