The 13 best places to visit in Nicaragua

 

In the historic centre of the countries capital, Managua, is one of the cities major attractions and most notable landmarks, the Revolution Square, also known as the Plaza de La República. The square is surrounded by large government buildings, a public park and the Old Cathedral Of Managua, which remains an imposing structure despite being condemned after the earthquake of 1972.

 

Pictured is the Old Cathedral Of Managua.

13. Plaza De La Revolución

 

East of mainland Nicaragua off the Caribbean coast are the big and little Corn Islands, two beautiful sandy dots in the crystal clear Caribbean waters. Though both islands are considered to have the best coastline in Nicaragua, big Corn Island is more built up with colourful wooden houses and small markets and little Corn Island is a car free haven with a thick jungle centre.

12. Las Islas Del Maiz

 

In the north west of the country, just north from the city of León and part of the Volcanic Nature Reserve Complex is the 1,061 metre (3,481 ft) high Telica Volcano, one of the most active in Nicaragua. A moderately strenuous five hour trek will get visitors to its peak, past bubbling mud pits for a view of the smoking crater. From this peak it's also possible to see the 1,745 metre (5,725 ft) San Cristobal Volcano, the tallest peak in the country.

11. Telica

 

Built in 2009 in the city of San Juan Del Sur near the border with Costa Rica is the Christ Of The Mercy Statue, a statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the sea wall and the cities bay. Measuring 26 metres (85 ft) high it is the tallest statue in Nicaragua and one of many giant Christ monuments located throughout Central and South America.

10. Cristo De La Misericordia

 

Discovered as recently as 2004 in the north of the country close to the border with Honduras is the protected area of Somoto Canyon National Monument. Within the deep forests visitors can swim, tube or trek through or along the high walled natural canyon landscape taking in amazing views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

9. Monumento Nacional Cañón De Somoto

 

North east of the city of León in the Cordillera De Los Maribios mountain range and part of the Volcanic Nature Reserve Complex is the Cerro Negro, at the time of writing it is Central America's newest volcano. Created as recently as 1850 AD, set against a backdrop of verdant green jungle this dark blot on the landscape literally translates as the 'Black Hill'. Its proximity to the city of León along with its relatively low elevation of 728 metres (2,388 ft) above sea level in wonderful surroundings have made it a top attraction for hikers visiting the area.

8. Cerro Negro

 

South east of the capital, Managua, encompassing an area of 35 square kilometres (13.5 square miles) is the protected area of Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve, encompassing the natural volcanic crater lake of the same name. Tranquil and picturesque, Lake Apoyo attracts tourists with various activities such as swimming, kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, bird watching, paragliding, boating and nature spotting.

7. Reserva Natural Laguna De Apoyo

 

In the extreme north west of the country on a peninsula extending into the Gulf Of Fonseca is the Cosiguina Volcano Natural Reserve, named after the 872 metre (2,861 ft) volcano that dominates the area. Visitors can trek to its summit for views into the substantial crater lake as well as out towards the Gulf Of Fonseca where they can see Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador all in the same scene.

6. Reserva Natural Volcan Cosigüina

 

In the south of the country close to the border with Costa Rica is Lake Nicaragua, sometimes known as Lake Cocibolca or Lake Granada, the largest lake in Central America. At the western end of the lake is Ometepe, meaning 'Two Mountains', an island formed by two volcanoes, namely the 1,394 metre (4,573 ft) Maderas Volcano and the even taller 1,610 metre (5,280 ft) Conception Volcano. Both peaks can be trekked to their summit, with both offering some of the most amazing views over the jungle covered island, the surrounding lake and beyond.

5. Ometepe

 

On the northern side of Lake Managua in the Volcanic Nature Reserve Complex is the 1,297 metre (4,255 ft) Momotombo Volcano, a symmetrical stratovolcano that is the symbol of Nicaragua. Considered the finest hiking trip in the country, visitors require a permit to climb this active giant with its constantly changing trails due to landslides and avalanches. For those who reach the peak, they will be met with some of the most incredible scenery anywhere in the country, overlooking Lake Managua to the south and the large geothermal fields to the north.

4. Momotombo

 

Once the shared capital city along with the city of Granada, León is today the second largest city of Nicaragua after Managua. Famous for its abundance of historical Spanish colonial Baroque churches, León has found itself a major destination for travellers. The jewel of the city is the Cathedral Of León, also known as Our Lady Of Grace Cathedral, built in 1814 AD it is the largest and most well known church in the Americas due to its distinct architecture. Because of this historical and regional significance, the Cathedral Of León has bee recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Pictured is Our Lady Of Grace Cathedral Of León.

3. León

 

In the south west of the country bordering Lake Nicaragua is the historic colonial city of Granada, which just like León has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its many historical grand buildings among narrow cobbled streets of colourful shops and houses. Regarded as the most beautiful city in the country, from the centre of the city where the 1751 AD bright yellow symbolic Our Lady Of The Assumption Church dominates, to the well maintained gardens and parks at the lake front, it remains Nicaragua's most visited destination.

 

Pictured from the bell tower of the Iglesia La Merced.

 

Another site worth seeing close to the city is the Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve slightly south of Granada.

2. Granada

 

Between Granada and the capital, Managua, covering an area of some 54 square kilometre (21 square miles) is the countries largest and first designated protected area of land, the Masaya Volcano National Park, containing two volcanoes and five craters. The easily accessible Masaya Volcano stands at 635 metres (2,083 ft) above sea level with viewing platforms that allow visitors to see directly into the crater mouth and witness the bubbling molten lava.

1. Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya

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