Are you yearning for an outdoor adventure of epic proportions? Well, look no further.
Nicaragua is a haven for travelers of any variety. For some the goal is to manifest their freedom in a series of thrill seeking, death-defying acts, risking their life and their sanity at every bend. Others crave the peace and solitude of a thriving forest; hiking preserves while admiring unfettered wildlife and natural beauty amidst the backdrop of an oceanic jungle tropic. Or perhaps it is a relaxing island getaway you crave? Well, here lie the most beautiful and isolated beaches the Caribbean has to offer.
Although it is comparable to neighboring Costa Rica in terms of environment and climate, the attitude of Nicaragua is less tourist-dominated and as such it is more relaxed and unrestrained. Not to mention the dramatic decrease in prices. All in all, Nicaragua is a place for firsts (and lasts…). With sights and activities that exist nowhere else in the world, the intrigue and splendor of this nation are likely to be the last thing you will ever forget.
Never heard of it? Pass this chance up and you never will again. This Leon-based tour is exactly what it sounds like. After a guided two hour trek up Cerro Negra – an active volcano, you are handed a wooden platform with a handle and a jumpsuit. The task? To slide back down the volcano without falling off. Although the actual descent lasts only a few minutes, it is a utterly unique experience – to feel the heat radiating from the ground beneath you as you plow through the earth, sending a flurry of rocks and gravel flying around you in every direction. (The tour is an offer based out of the local Bigfoot Hostel – Click Here for more information) (Image via ThePirata)
2. Flee for Your Life at the Running of the Bulls
To traverse the city of Granada is like stepping into the past. The town is slowly restoring the Colonial-Era buildings and expanding it’s own quaint charm – complete with cobble-stone streets and horse drawn carriages. Except during the annual Running of the Bulls – a time when locals and tourists alike flock to the streets to witness a grand spectacle. Unlike it’s well-planned Spanish counterpart, the Nicaraguan event is, in fact, what it claims to be – a series of bulls loosed upon the main street amidst a sea of taunting, yelling, alcohol-soaked daredevils, all trying their hardest not to get gored. (Past attempts bore witness to one enraged bull knocking down a telephone pole, a stampede through a supermarket, and a local flying 12 feet in the air after being gored in the backside.) All in all, it makes for a very entertaining spectacle – just make sure to stay a bit out of the way, or at least remain sober long enough to dodge the stampede when necessary.
(Image via MatadorNetwork)
3. Unwind at a Caribbean Paradise
The Corn Islands in the Caribbean Sea are among the most relaxing and beautiful places to visit. Little Corn is a tropical paradise that has not yet succumbed to the tourists – perfect for escaping pressures and relaxing by the sea. By contrast, Big Corn provides a more vibrant lifestyle- home for numerous bats, restaurants, water sports, and dive spots. (For more information Click Here.)
(Image via ToursNicaragua)
4. Place Your Bets on a No-Holds-Barred Cock Fight
I was a bit surprised by this one too (though I’m not sure why). This brutal spectacle of violent sportsmanship was actually quite entertaining, more so to watch the frenzied locals placing their bets and shouting their encouragement than the actual fights itself (though my money was on the albino chicken pecking around the outside of the ring). It only helped that the admission fee included an unlimited supply of local beer, and 32 oz bottles of Tona went a long way to fueling this frenzy – ultimately resulting in an extensive chase around the forest for a runaway rooster. (Image via NelsonGuirado.com)
5. Trek the Volcanoes of Isla de Ometepe
Want to climb one of the world’s largest active volcanoes? Tour-guide optional. This small jungle-ridden island is the product of two volcanoes rising out of the sea, and while only one is still active, both are available to climb – Concepcion, the larger of the two, is complete with lava flows and sulfurous belches of smoke, while Maderas is currently home to a hollowed-out crater and a lake to swim. Just be warned- the hike is intense! (Our unguided trek up Concepcion persisted for almost seven hours before we allowed our weary, sweat-soaked bodies to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the sea and countryside around. It was undoubtedly worth the wait.)
(Image via Destination360)
6. Behold Creation… of the World’s Finest Rum
Flor de Cana is undoubtedly one of the highest quality rums to be found. What could be more satisfying then to get a first hand look at how it is made? Tours of the factory in Chichigalpa are provided daily, and come complete with a tasting – of every rum produced (2 of which are not even available for sale). (Tours must be arranged in a major city prior to arrival.) (Image via TheRumHowler)
7. Defy Gravity on a Tree-Top Zip Line
Few things are more exciting than to whiz through the air at speeds over 40 mph. The platforms are built among the trees themselves, and you can witness the natural beauty of the forests as you race over the ravines and waterfalls. (Hopefully you are more skilled than I was, as I got stuck on almost every attempt. After getting caught in the line and spinning in a circle for a good 60 seconds, a guide had to come after me to untangle the line. But at least I got a more complete view of the forests?)
(Image via Travelpod
8. Surf the Waves at San Juan del Sur
This relaxing beach town has grown in popularity as both a vacation getaway and a haven for surfers. If you are unfamiliar with the process, don’t fret – there are a variety of rental shops that also provide lessons and training tips. (Image via TicoTravel)
9. Wander the Cloud Forests-
These forest reserves derive their name from the high altitudes at which they are found, causing the clouds to settle around the tree-tops themselves. They are home to the most dazzling array of plant life and exotic animals, including howler monkeys, jaguars, and even the rare emerald-plumed quetzal. The lush habitats can be traversed extensively by willing hikers and admirers and are located within a close proximity to the major cities.
(Image via 2GoGlobal)
10. Survive the Five-Minute Floods
The winter season in Nicaragua is a mystical conundrum – within a matter of minutes the sky can turn from a sunny calm to a torrential downpour. My first day in Leon was a prime example of this. After wandering the streets in shorts and sandals, the sky suddenly darkened and the heavens themselves opened up to unleash a pounding fury upon my shoulders. The narrow cobble-stone streets were shaped in steep inclines and descents, an effect which only heightened the impact of the perpetually flowing river that flooded the city. It grew to a height of what had to be at least 4 feet, and I had to push my way through a chest-high force that threatened to knock me over. After finally reaching my destination, I stopped briefly to dry off – during which time the rains ceased and the warmth and sunlight returned once more.
(Image via LatahLibrary)