As a country that starts with N listed on, “Nica”, as Nicaragua is often abbreviated, is around a third the size of Germany, but has only around 6.1 million residents. In the capital Managua live approx. 1 million people. In addition to volcanoes, rainforests, the central highlands and the coastal areas on the Pacific and Caribbean, Lake Nicaragua is an important natural area: Central America’s largest inland body of water is around twelve times the size of Lake Constance. The volcanic island of Ometepe with the volcanoes Concepción and Maderas rises from its floods.

Nicaragua 1

  • Day 1: Arrival Europe – Nicaragua – León
  • Day 2: León – capital of the revolution
  • Day 3: Hike to the Cerro Negro volcano
  • Day 4: Telica volcano day tour
  • Day 5: León – Matagalpa
  • Day 6: Hiking in the cloud forest of Cerro Arenal
  • Day 7: Matagalpa – Granada
  • Day 8: Masaya, Masaya Volcano & Isletas
  • Day 9: Mombacho volcano & Laguna de Apoyo
  • Day 10: Laguna de Apoyo – The unique volcanic island of Ometepe
  • Day 11: Hike to the San Ramón waterfall
  • Day 12: Impressive nature experience – kayak tour on the Río Istián
  • Day 13: Hike to the Maderas volcano
  • Day 14: Isla de Ometepe – Managua
  • Day 15: Adiós, Nicaragua!
  • Day 16: Welcome to Europe!

Gradually, lianas, ferns and orchids hanging from the trees take over. Butterflies flutter through the cloud forest, with luck we may even come across the Quetzal, the bird of the gods. Along the Pacific coast, the volcanoes line up like pearls, we venture on several and even on the most active ones. And when we neither hike, paddle nor swim, we let ourselves be told in colonial cities about their revolutionary past.

Meals: B = breakfast / L = lunch / packed lunch / D = dinner

1st day:

Arrival Europe – Nicaragua – León

Descent on Managua, the capital of Nicaragua – our adventure in the “land of a thousand volcanoes” begins!
We are taken to our hotel in León and have time to rest before strolling through the “capital of the revolution” the next day.

No international flights are included!

Travel time: about 1.5 hours
overnight in a hotel in León (Hotel Azul or similar)
(- / – / -)

2nd day:

León – capital of the revolution

With breakfast in our stomach, we go on a city tour in the heart of León. The city, founded by the Spanish in 1524, was the capital of Nicaragua until 1855. Today León is an important intellectual, cultural and religious center of Central America. In its more recent history, traditionally liberal León sees itself as the “capital of the revolution”. Wall paintings and monuments recall the revolutionary past. Today it is ruled by the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front), which emerged from the guerrilla organization and through whose help the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown in 1979.
In the afternoon we take an excursion to the nearby Pacific. We take a deep breath in its pleasant sea breeze and hear the sound of its waves.

Travel time: approx. 30 minutes.
Overnight in a hotel in León (Hotel Azul or similar)
(B / – / -)

3rd day:

Hike to the Cerro Negro volcano

Hiking boots laced? Then on to our day trip to the Cerro Negro volcano. The volcano rises black into the sky from the green landscape that surrounds it. It is the youngest volcano in Nicaragua and with 726 m the smallest of a whole series of volcanoes that belong to the Cordillera de los Maribios. Our ascent (approx. 1.5 hours) is rewarded with an impressive all-round view. We take a careful look into the active crater and hear the rustling of the hot lava. See the fiery embers far down in the crater and feel its heat rising up the crater walls. The fine black sand under our feet and the steep terrain invite many visitors to participate in a spectacular sport: so-called volcano boarding – boarding down the volcano on a board.

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Hike: approx. 2 hours
overnight in a hotel in León (Hotel Azul or similar)
(B / – / -)

4th day:

Telica Volcano Day Tour

After breakfast we start our day tour to Telica volcano. The ascent leads us first over corn and bean fields. Once at the top, the fantastic panorama of the Maribios volcano chain and the spectacular view of the active crater compensate for the efforts of our ascent. The volcanoes line the Pacific coast like a pearl necklace. With this outlook at the latest, it becomes clear to us why Nicaragua is nicknamed the “Land of a Thousand Volcanoes”. To be precise, there are 28 volcanoes – seven of which are still active.
After we have thoroughly enjoyed the impressive view, we start our way back. The descent takes about 1 hour and then we drive back to our hotel.

Travel time: 45 minutes.
Hike: approx. 3 hours.
Overnight in a hotel in León (Hotel Azul or similar)
(B / – / -)

5th day:

Leon – Matagalpa

After breakfast we continue to the north of Nicaragua to Matagalpa to the “Hotel de Montaña Aguas del Arenal”. The family-run hotel is located at an altitude of 1,300m in the middle of the Cerro Arenal nature reserve, which is one of the most scenic protected areas in Nicaragua. After lunch together, we go to the Fairtrade-certified coffee cooperative La Solidaridad in La Banquita. Talk about the life of the coffee farmers, the work of the cooperative and fair trade.

Nicaragua received the Responsible Tourism Award from LATA (Latin American Tourism Association) in 2017 and actively contributes to the protection and preservation of biodiversity as well as the country’s cultural assets. More information can be found under Info.

Driving time: approx. 3 hours.
Hike: approx. 3 hours.
Overnight stay in a hotel (Hotel de Montaña de Aquas del Arenal or similar)
(B / L / D)

6th day:

Hiking in the cloud forest of Cerro Arenal

Today we experience first hand the ecosystem of a cloud forest, that of the Reserva Cerro Arenal. The nature reserve is dominated by its unique biodiversity. 80% of the diversity of plants is in the treetops. Our hiking trail first leads through coffee plantations, in which various varieties are grown using different methods. A slightly enchanted nature reveals itself to us: Moss-covered lianas hang from the trees, in between ferns, creepers, exotic orchids. Various butterflies flutter through this flora, such as the large, blue morpho butterfly. With a bit of luck we will even meet the “god bird” Quetzal, whose breeding area is located there. Sometimes the clouds hang so low that they give this area a slightly mystical aura.
With many beautiful pictures in mind, we return to the hotel and have time to let the impressions of that day work on us.

Hike: approx. 3-4 hours
overnight in a hotel (Hotel de Montaña de Aquas del Arenal or similar)
(B / L / D)

7th day:

Matagalpa – Granada

We leave the highlands of Nicaragua behind and continue to Granada. “The pearl of Nicaragua”, as the city is also affectionately known, is one of the oldest cities in Central America. In the afternoon we let ourselves be surprised by the center of this delightful city: We stroll down the cobblestone streets, encounter magnificent colonial architecture, many cathedrals, colorful house facades and let their charming flair affect us. No wonder that Granada was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Numerous lovingly furnished bars and restaurants invite us to linger.
The Austrian actor Dietmar Schönherr (†) and the former Nicaraguan Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal have converted one of the old patrician houses on the Plaza Mayor into the cultural meeting place Casa de Los Tres Mundos. The house is now an important cultural center where young painters, musicians and poets from all over the world come together.

Driving time: approx. 3 hours
overnight in a hotel in Granada (El Hotel con Corazón or similar)
(B / – / -)

8th day:

Masaya, Masaya Volcano & Isletas

Today one of the most famous national parks in the country awaits us: the Volcán Masaya. The Masaya is the only volcano in Latin America where you can drive directly to the crater rim. And, it is the most active volcano in Nicaragua. Depending on the volcanic activity, we can take a careful look into its active crater. After our 1-hour hike around the neighboring crater of San Fernando, we learn interesting things about the formation of our planet and the volcanoes and the flora and fauna of Nicaragua in the visitor center.
In the village of the same name, Masaya, we visit the Mercado Artesanías, where we have lunch (not included) and buy souvenirs to take home. The “cradle of Nicaraguan folklore” – this is how the area around Masaya is also called: it is considered the heart of Nicaraguan handicrafts.
Strengthened, we drive back to Granada to explore the many picturesque isletas (islets) in Lake Nicaragua in the afternoon by boat tour (approx. 2 hours). Over 300 small islets of volcanic origin are located in the largest inland lake in Central America.

Driving time: approx. 30 minutes.
Hike: approx. 1 hour.
Overnight stay in a hotel in Granada (El Hotel con Corazón or similar)
(B / – / -)

Day 9:

Mombacho volcano & Laguna de Apoyo

Rested, we set out for the nearby Mombacho volcano, a 1,400 m high, extinct volcano. We are located south of Granada, in the nature reserve of the same name – in the Reserva Natural Volcán Mombacho. We can expect an impressive view of the city with its more than 300 “Isletas” in front of it, through which we chugged the day before and which the eruption of this volcano brought to light thousands of years ago. In the reserve itself we explore rare plants and beautiful orchids that nestle in the lush green tropical forest. There are several hiking trails. The Reserva Natural Volcán Mombacho is very well developed for tourism.
We continue to the Laguna de Apoyo. There we can relax, unwind or end the day with a refreshing bath.

Driving time: approx. 30 min.
Hike: approx. 3-4 hours
overnight stay in Laguna de Apoyo (San Simian Eco Lodge or similar)
(B / – / -)

10th day:

Laguna de Apoyo – The unique volcanic island of Ometepe

The volcanic island of Ometepe is on our agenda today. A ferry takes us from San Jorge to the island (approx. 1 hour). We dock in the port of Moyogalpa and are brought to the hotel. With approx. 270 km² the island of Ometepe is the world’s largest volcanic island in a freshwater lake. The island surprises us with its incredible biodiversity. It was not for nothing that UNESCO declared it a biosphere reserve in 2010. In Nahuátl, the language of the indigenous people, “Ometepe” means something like two hills: the two volcanoes Concepción and Maderas formed the island.

Driving time: approx. 1.5 hours
overnight in a hotel on Isla de Ometepe (Hotel Villa Paraiso or similar)
(B / – / -)

11th day:

Hike to the San Ramón waterfall

Today we put a little strain on our hiking shoes again – we go to the San Ramón waterfall. Its water plummets over green cliffs on the southern slope of the Maderas volcano. During and after the rainy season, the waterfall shows its most beautiful side. The diverse nature of the island is a feast for the eyes, dominated by numerous mighty ancient whale giants and exotic orchids in different colors. With a little luck, monkeys, whites or the blue morpho butterfly will run in front of our camera lens.

Hike: approx. 4 hours
overnight in a hotel on Isla de Ometepe (Hotel Villa Paraiso or similar)
(B / – / -)

12th day:

Impressive nature experience – kayak tour on the Río Istián

Today we allow our feet a little relaxation break. We explore the Istián River by kayak. We paddle comfortably along the river, always accompanied by the two volcanoes Concepción and Maderas. Our tour invites you to be amazed. Not least because of the wonderful landscape, the turtles, the birds, monkeys and the small caimans, which we can see with a little luck.
(If the river’s water level is too low, the tour will be carried out on Lake Nicaragua.)

Overnight in a hotel on the Isla de Ometepe (Hotel Villa Paraiso or similar)
(B / – / -)

13th day:

Hike to the Maderas volcano

Early in the morning we set off for the already extinct Maderas volcano. Halfway through we pause briefly to enjoy the view of the Concepción volcano and Lake Nicaragua before continuing the hike. There is a lagoon in the inactive crater. Good shoes and walking sticks are required today: Today we are hiking through the dense Maderas cloud forest. Due to the high humidity and vegetation, the paths are often very muddy and slippery. Caution is therefore advised, especially when descending.
Optional: If you like, you can take a trip to the natural swimming pool “Ojo de Agua” instead – there you can enjoy a wonderful bathing experience in the midst of wonderful nature.

Hike: approx. 8 hours (+/- 1,300 m)
Overnight in a hotel on Isla de Ometepe (Hotel Villa Paraiso or similar)
(B / – / -)

14th day:

Isla de Ometepe – Managua

Today it is time to say goodbye to Isla de Ometepe. The ferry takes you to the mainland in the morning and then back to Managua.

Driving time: approx. 2 hours
overnight in a hotel in Managua (Best Western Las Mercedes or similar)
(B / – / -)

15th day:

Adiós, Nicaragua!

Our journey is coming to an end. We get on the plane and while flying back we browse through all the beautiful impressions and pictures of this wonderful country and its people.

No international flights are included!

16th day:

Welcome Europe!

We set foot on European soil full of new impressions. “It takes a while to arrive. Many indigenous peoples know that the soul needs time to get from one place to another, ”is Christian Hlade’s tip for a successful journey.

Nicaragua 2

Nicaragua Tour Plan