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Sabbatical & Experiential Travel to Nicaragua

Holidays & Sabbaticals to Nicaragua – In a Nutshell

Known as the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’, Nicaragua offers travellers a unique experience of relatively untouched natural landscapes. It’s comparable to neighbouring Costa Rica in its diverse natural beauty, yet visited by far fewer tourists. As a result, travelling here feels like an extraordinary, off-the-beaten-track discovery. Most famous are its volcanoes, some dormant, some active. You can easily climb the smaller ones, or drive up to the top to see red-hot lava and plumes of white smoke. The country is fringed by both the Pacific swells and placid crystalline Caribbean, so surfing and snorkelling are both popular activities.

Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest lake, a 100-mile freshwater stretch inhabited by bull sharks. The Bosawas Biosphere Reserve covers 2 million acres — 15% of the country — a dense swathe of virgin rainforest where pumas roam and 3-toed sloths hang. City wise, charming Granada is a colonial gem, with colourful houses, leafy plazas and a Spanish feel. University town Leon is considered the cultural centre of the country and feels like a living museum thanks to its revolutionary murals and crumbling 300-year-old mansions. And finally the idyllic white-sand beaches. With very little tourist infrastructure, the palm-fringed Corn Islands, lapped by the azure Caribbean sea, are a castaway dream.

How to Get to Nicaragua

Unless you overland from Costa Rica or Honduras, you’ll fly into Managua, the capital city. Most visitors move straight on from here and take a road transfer to Granada, Leon or the Pacific Coast, or a hopper flight to the Corn Islands. There are no direct flights from the UK to Nicaragua; you’ll need to go via Europe or the US (flight time 12-15 hours). You can fly directly to Managua from several US hubs; the average flight time is 4 hours. Although there are long-distance buses, consider renting a car while you’re here (a 4WD is best). Roads are decent and it’s the easiest way to reach the more remote areas.

When & Weather – Nicaragua

The climate is tropical and hot year round. Dry Season is Nov-April; Rainy Season is May-Oct, but downpours are short bursts rather than constant showers. Hurricanes are possible late August to October. Temperatures range between 21°C (70°F) and 32°C (90°F).

Who will Nicaragua Appeal To?

The country’s breathtaking and underdeveloped natural landscapes are best suited to:

  • Adventure seekers
  • Active travellers
  • Solo travellers
  • Photographers
  • Beach lovers
  • Wildlife enthusiasts
  • Honeymooners
  • Culture Vultures
  • Families


Nicaragua has an ever growing inventory of accommodation with boutique properties, historic hotels, beachside casitas, eco lodges and friendly guesthouses. In general the accommodation here is simpler than in other Central American countries, and fantastic value as a result.

Off The Beaten Path

  • Scale the dormant Apoyeque volcano and swim in its thermal crater. Or surf down the ash-covered slopes of active Cerro Negro
  • Peek into the smoking Masaya volcano and spot a colony of green parakeets that live in the crater!
  • Boat between the 36 islands of the Solentiname archipelago and admire local primitive art
  • Ride the rolling waves at Playa Maderas on the Pacific coast
  • Visit the indigenous peoples of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — the Sumos and the Miskito


  • The Corn Islands are home to noisy howler monkeys and roaming iguanas. In the surrounding Caribbean Sea you can dive with barracudas, spotted eagle rays and hammerhead sharks
  • Lake Nicaragua is inhabited by rare bull sharks
  • Puma and jaguars roam the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the Amazon
  • Look up and you may see 3-toed sloths and harpy eagles
  • Endangered sea turtles nest on the sandy Pacific beaches

Nicaraguan Experiences you shouldn’t miss:

  • Admiring revolutionary murals in Leon
  • Climbing ‘the twin peaks’ on Isla de Ometepe: 2 volcanoes, 1 active, 1 dormant
  • Luxuriating at Morgan’s Rock, a world-class resort
  • Wandering around colourful Granada, with its Spanish colonial architecture
  • Relaxing on 3km of pristine white sands at Montelimar
  • Buying colourful hammocks and wooden handicraft at Masaya’s Mercado Nacional de Artesanía
  • Touring a coffee plantation in Matagalpa
  • Boating around the serene Las Isletas
  • Visiting native communities and photographing wild orchids in Miraflor Nature Reserve

Giving back

La Esperanza Granada is a non-profit, non-political and non-religious NGO, funded by donations from individuals, groups, foundations and schools. Located in Granada, Nicaragua, La Esperanza is a volunteer group focusing on children’s education. ‘Born’ in 2002, the organisation started in one small village on the outskirts of Granada, and now helps more than 2,000 children in poverty-stricken areas. Spend some time volunteering in Nicaragua as part of a sabbatical or longer trip. Opportunities to make an impact beyond volunteering are available.

Start Planning

Our experienced team will guide you through a number of ideas based on how you would like to experience Nicaragua.

Consider visiting Nicaragua in combination with its neighbouring countries Costa Rica and Honduras as part of a wider Central Americas itinerary.

Browse our gallery for inspiration and read the sample itinerary below to whet your appetite.

No matter how long you have to travel, we’ll guide you through the planning process to ensure a trip is carefully pieced together to suit your interests, pace of travel and budget.

Contact us to start planning a holiday or sabbatical to Nicaragua.

Signature Sabbatical Itinerary – Intrepid Nicaragua

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