Nicaragua is a fascinating country, and a firm favourite on the backpacker circuit through Central America. Here are 10 things you should know before you go.
There are volcanoes everywhere
As with other Central American nations, the Ring of Fire runs through Nicaragua. Down the Pacific side of the country, you can see volcanoes everywhere you go. From the active volcano at Masaya to the crater lake at Apoyo, there are lots of opportunities for visitors to appreciate these natural wonders.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Certain parts of the country are inaccessible except by plane
If you’re planning on visiting the Corn Islands or other parts of the Caribbean coast, be aware that the area is only really accessible by plane. While it’s not too expensive to get there, the extra cost can be too much for many budget travelers.
It’s an affordable destination
Central America is known as a generally affordable place to spend time, and Nicaragua is the cheapest country in the region. The cost of living is very low, and if you eat street food you can get by on $20 per day.
The Caribbean coast is an isolated paradise
If you manage to get over to Bluefields and the Corn Islands, you’ll find an unspoilt paradise waiting to be discovered. With interesting history and amazing nature, it’s worth the flight from Managua.
Security is generally not a problem
While neighbouring countries have a big problem with crime and there are frequent travel warnings, Nicaragua is relatively safe. Crime rates are lower, and if you take normal precautions, you should be fine.
Don’t miss the street food
Main meals in Nicaragua can get a bit monotonous, with black beans, rice, and fried plantains an almost constant feature, so you should make sure to try as much street food as possible. There are loads of different snacks at bargain prices, and you’ll get to spend time with the locals, too.
Learn the history
No one is expecting visitors to complete a degree in Nicaraguan studies before they arrive, but having a basic grasp of the history of the country will make your trip much more enjoyable. If you understand why there is revolutionary street art everywhere, or constant references to Sandino, you’ll get more out of your time here.
It’s great for surfing
Stick to the Pacific coast and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to surfing beaches. There are top spots all down the coast, and several great ones near the party town of San Juan del Sur.
It’s a good spot to learn Spanish
Those on longer trips through Latin America would do well to learn some basic Spanish, and Nicaragua is a great place to do so. The city of Granada, in particular, offers a good selection of schools and cheap accommodation, which means you can learn without breaking the bank. Take a look at our rundown of some common Nicaraguan words and phrases, too.
Take the chicken bus
There is no need to get shuttles or taxis around Nicaragua. Public transport is safe and affordable, and you’ll learn more about the local culture when you’re sharing a seat with two locals and all the produce they’ve bought at the market that day.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.