The world is waking up to the many travel delights of Nicaragua: charming colonial towns, huge freshwater lakes, fiery volcanoes, lush Caribbean islands, world-class surfing and shady coffee plantations offering unbeatable birdwatching. And then there’s the vibrant folk art, the tasty traditional dishes, the award-winning rum and the incredible people. Mass tourism has thus far passed by and the best resorts in Nicaragua are remote, sustainable and boutique in style– bookable on Culture Trip.
Most visitors stay in the colonial city of Granada and take a day trip to visit the forested islands of Las Isletas in Lake Cocibolca, aka Lake Nicaragua. At Jicaro you’re just 15 minutes from Granada, but far from the hustle and bustle. The comfortable cabins are built from reclaimed timbers and the gourmet meals are organic. Relax by the infinity pool overlooking the mighty Mombacho volcano, stretch on the yoga deck or kayak as you ease into the tranquility of island life.
Rough-luxe doesn’t do justice to this eco-resort in Nicaragua, reached through a thickly forested nature reserve. You’ll stay in treehouse-style bungalows set in a private cliff-side jungle with outdoor showers and porches looking down on a crescent of sand. Beds are topped by an ingeniously silent and eco-friendly air conditioning unit, so you are lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves and woken by the distant whoops of howler monkeys. A dining area serves breakfasts and gourmet meals sourced from the in-house organic gardens.
Built on a hillside to exploit the panorama of the Masaya volcano and the large crater lake below it, this remote ecolodge in Masatepe is all about unwinding and taking in the views, especially from the infinity pool. The natural theme continues in the palm-thatched cabins, which are decorated with funky murals of colorful wildlife. For a day out, head to the craft market in the town of Masaya or take an evening tour to the volcano to see the bubbling lava sloshing over the sides of the deep crater.
With the San Cristobal volcano looming in the background, this isolated resort-style complex and marina in Chinandega, on the shores of the Aserradores estuary, is a place to get away from it all. Large suites with balconies prioritize the view, and an infinity pool is a refreshing escape from the heat. Sports fishing in the open ocean is one of the draws for visitors looking to land a dorado or marlin, and surfers will love the famous breaks on the nearby Aposentillo beach.
Nicaragua’s best-kept Caribbean secret is the pocket paradise of Little Corn Island, where lilting English Creole is the local tongue and every beach is a short walk away. Tucked among the palms on the northern tip of the island, the rough-luxe cabins of Yemaya overlook golden sands and crystal waters. There’s no main pool, but there’s snorkeling, kayaking and paddleboarding in the ocean. To ease into island life, start with a spa treatment, take a yoga session or bliss out on the beach with a cocktail.
Treehouse villas set in thick forest overlook a stunning crescent beach at this hippie-chic ecolodge and spa on the wild Pacific coast. Work on your asanas at a large thatched yoga deck, and bust out any remaining knots with a massage or spa treatment. For more action, take out a paddleboard or head to the nearby surf spots. There are no TVs in the rooms, as the emphasis is on getting away from it all, but the wifi is strong enough for a sneaky catch-up of your favorite box sets.
A family-friendly condo complex in Nicaragua that also has long-stay options, Gran Pacifica is only an hour from the international airport, but is unspoiled enough to feel remote. Rooms and suites are spacious, and there’s an infinity pool with loungers overlooking Playa San Diego beach. Activities include sports fishing and horse riding, and the resort has three nine-hole golf courses.
With 157 rooms and located in the main restaurant and shopping area of Managua, the Real InterContinental offers the level of service and comfort you would expect from a five-star hotel. Families and couples will appreciate the large pool when the city starts to swelter, and there’s a well-equipped gym. A wide choice of meals at the three on-site restaurants runs from home-style favorites such as pizzas and pasta to fine dining on seafood and steaks. The Metrocentro Mall, with clothes shopping and a food court, is a short walk away.
Reached by boat on a choppy ride from Pearl Lagoon, this tiny Caribbean hideaway in the Pearl Cays is aimed at A-listers, with a maximum of eight guests staying in suites crafted from driftwood and a staff of 25 to wait on them. The lucky castaways who wash up here can swim in crystal-clear waters, kayak to other islands or just laze in the infinity pool. A gourmet chef serves fresh-caught lobster with coconut milk in a nod to Creole cuisine, and every day is a cocktail 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.