Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano Beach and City Exploration

After the great escape of the beautiful Colombia I knew I had to return to this Girl Takes Mundo journey. How could I not, the 50th country to visit was in sight. While I don’t like counting countries per say, at a certain point, I knew I had to keep track. I had my milestone visit in mind as I embarked on my Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano Beach and city exploration.

The 10 days spent in Nicaragua had me cover quite a bit of ground. While it is a small country, I admit that I felt like I missed quite a bit. Surprisingly and in hindsight, still felt rushed with this journey.

Why Plan A Nicaragua Trip

Nicaragua may be a less underrated country to visit compared to other countries in Central and South America. But it’s shouldn’t be overlooked. Many tourists agree, Nicaragua is budget travel friendly and packed with activities. Such as hiking, surfing, cigar rolling and the 101 things one can do.

The best part, while activities may be geared for tourist, you still get a local feel. Countries like Costa Rica have lost this. Check out the below list of best places to visit in Nicaragua. These are where I was able to visit during my Nicaragua vacation.

Nicaragua Money Saving Tip: USD is accepted here and change is given in their currency which means you can save on some exchange rate costs by simply taking out money from an ATM in dollars.

Disclaimer: This Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano, Beach and City Exploration Guide may contain affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, we receive a small commission on purchases made through these links. By making a purchase using these links, you are directly supporting and allowing me, a Latina travel blogger to continue providing you with free high-quality travel guidesThank you!

Plan Your Nicaragua Adventure






Adding Managua to the list as this is where most flights arrive. Anyone flying to and from Nicaragua will be in Managua. As many travelers will agree, this should be a city you land in and move on to another city. The real Nicaragua adventure of volcano, beach and city exploration happens in the other cities in Nicaragua.

FYI: Americans pay $10 USD to enter the country which is paid at customs.

Amanda, a girl I met on the flight to Nicaragua from Miami decided to share a cab. The cab ride to San Juan Del Sur was one of the best decisions we made. We were able to split the cost but we discovered how easily we got along. Amanda even joined my group in our travels in Nicaragua and I walked away with an awesome friend. (Proof, solo travel doesn’t mean traveling alone.) We both agree, no regrets being the girl asking on a plane if anyone is heading to X city. Or being the girl who ease drops and says, “Did you say X citry? I’m your girl!”

Airport Transport To Other Cities

Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano, Beach and City Exploration
Shared Shuttle:

Shared shuttles which will pick you up from the airport are available to help bring cost down. But do note that these must be booked in advance.


As one can expect,there are many cabs are ready to drive you to your destination. Amanda and I paid $40 USD each for the 2.5 hour cab ride to San Juan Del Sur. The farthest point south of Nicaragua.

You will have to ask about prices but hope the above helps you get a sense of costs in 2017.

Public Bus (Chicken Bus):

Take a cab to the bus terminal and then grabbing a chicken bus to get you to your destination.

Relaxing beachside in San Juan del Sur

San Juan Del Sur

Best described as a tourist surfing beach town known for its Sunday Funday Pool Crawl. Many Backpackers head here exclusively for this party.

Outside of this, many tourists will enjoy the bars, restaurants, shopping, surfing and relaxing beachside in San Juan del Sur.

Bite Size Notes When Visiting

  • San Juan del Sur is a great spot to check the sunset near the beach. Restaurante El Timon offers a great happy hour deal on drinks and bites.
  • In San Juan Del Sur don’t expect too local of vibes as it’s quite touristy. Keep this in mind when planning your time in Nicaragua based off what you want from your trip.

San Juan Del Sur Accommodation Option

Hostal Tadeo – Small, great breakfast, clean, good price and social. Not party around the clock social like Naked Tiger Hostel. Which helps with actually sleeping after the famous pool crawl.


The volcanic Island is one not to miss. The boat to the island itself brings stunning views. It is also a short hour from San Juan Del Sur to the pier. Followed by an hour boat ride to the island, which departs hourly.

Top Ometepe Activities

  • Hiking the bigger volcano, Concepcion. This hike takes around 8 hours and by law you need a guide. Book this HERE.
  • Go swimming in cold spring baths.
  • Kayaking through the island. Book HERE for a good tour provider.
  • Watch the sunset from Punto Jesus Maria
  • Grab lunch in the Santo Domingo area for views of the beach
  • Hike the 45 minute hike to San Ramon Waterfall. (Hopefully, you won’t have to witness a boa fall from the top of the fall plunging to its death.)

Transportation TIP:

While the island may seem small getting around will require transportation. My group and I opted to rent ATV’s for the day which added to our experience and made it easy for us to move around the island in a fun and efficient way.

Rent an ATV HERE // Rent a motorbike HERE

Ometepe Accommodation Option

Casa Mauro – They provide an awesome orientation of what you can do on the island during check in. Our group felt like we were back in class. All sat in front of a large map of Ometepe absorbing all the information shared by the staff member. They help coordinate the rental of transportation, rooms are clean, breakfast isn’t included but worth the additional cost. They give you big portions and prepare it when you want. Additionally, they provide you with a ride to the pier, free of charge.


After what felt like a number of buses to get here. Which in hindsight wasn’t a long journey, 2 hours at most. We made our way to Granda, the Spanish colonial city of Nicaragua. While here, I highly recommend exploring historical sites in Granada, Visiting:

  • Central Park to take in the colorful architecture
  • Walk around “Calle La Calzada” and “Calle La Libertad” for shops, restaurants and lovely homes in Granada.

Top Granada Activities

Cigar Rolling Workshop – Nicaragua is known for its cigars with some of the best cigars being exported to other countries. That’s not to say you can’t experience the best and roll your own in one of the shops in Granada. We spent part of our day at Dona Elba Cigars and I can’t rave enough about this place. Professional cigar rollers explain Nicaraguan cigars as they roll cigars based off your preferences. Robustos for Amanda and I and Mint for Linford. They guide you into rolling your own from start to finish. Then we’re welcomed to lounge in the shop to finish the cigars they made for us with courtesy rum. The whole experience was relaxing and educational. Book your workshop HERE.

Volcano Masaya Lava Watching – Drive to the top of the crater and se the glowing lava bubble at night. Be warned, that due to its sulphur content, one cannot stay too long near the lava. I should know, I ended up worsening my car sickness due to the exposure to sulphur. You can book a tour HERE which I recommend than trying to do this on your own.

Granada Accommodation Option

Hostal Oasis – A big hostal with a pool, happy hour and breakfast included. Despite its size and the number of people staying here the hostel was tame. Big plus, if you fancy a workout while traveling the hostel provides a complimentary week access to the gym Pure . The gym is only a short 10 minute walk and the machines will get the job done. They also offer yoga, massages and cafe items for an additional cost.


Sadly parted ways with members of our group and only 2 were left. Linford, a lad from the Netherlands and myself. We continued our Nicaragua adventure: Volcano Beach and headed to Leon.

Leon is the second oldest city and former capital for Nicaragua, just like Granada. It is no surprise, this would make both cities rivals. Similar to the likes of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Leon is a busy city, walking around is the best way to get a sense of how lively it is.

Bite Size Notes When Visiting

  • Central plaza is where the majority of locals and tourist alike will be enjoying people watching.
  • Visit Our Lady of Grace Cathedral.
  • Many visit Leon to go volcano boarding in Cerro Negro, an extreme version of sledding. Just one of the 101 things you can do on the volcanos in Nicaragua.
  • Cerro Negro is the youngest volcanos in the world.
  • Volcano boarding here is the #2 activity by CNN’s thrill seekers bucket list. Many tours are offered in Leon for this but I recommend this one HERE.

Leon Accommodation Option

Via Via – Across the street of the infamous party hostel, BigFoot Hostel. (Another great option. ) Calm, plenty of hammocks, buffet breakfast included. If you do fancy some entertainment, the front of the hostel is a restaurant bar. It offers live music and game nights.

Las Brasiles

After a multi city Nicaragua adventure: volcano beach and city exploration, the final stop had to be secluded. My pick after Linford’s volcano boarding choice in Leon was to head to Las Brasiles Nicaragua. (About a 45 minute journey from Leon.) You spend your time here enjoying the beach, taking surf lessons, playing volleyball and perfecting your tan. Or enjoying drinks on a hammock, turtle watching at the lodge below and my favorite, doing yoga on the beach.

Are you sold? Linford certainly was and stayed an extra night. I parted ways to my next Girl Takes Mundo Latina solo journey stop – Guatemala aka my Motherland.

Las Brasiles Accommodation Option

Surfing Turtle Lodge – Super laid back vibes in this turtle sanctuary lodge. Offers various beach side activities in Las Brasiles Nicaragua like Sea turtle nesting tours, beach yoga and beach horseback riding.

Final Note

Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano, Beach and City Exploration

Nicaragua, was my 50th, and it was beautiful. The people I spent my time with were amazing and friends who I’ve made for the long haul. Realizing there is more to do on volcanos than just hiking has been noted and appreciated. Discover all the Nicaragua Adventure: Volcano Beach and city activities you can do. Use Viator in Nicaragua HERE, and be sure to book in advance to secure your spot.

Ready For Your Nicaragua Vacation?

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