Once a war torn country, Nicaragua has recovered from this period and is now a diamond in the rough offering nature reserves rich in flora and fauna, an interesting history both ancient and the more recent revolution period of the Sandinista, Spanish colonial cities and warm, friendly people. It has been compared to what Costa Rica was like 30 years ago when that country was beginning its quest to increase tourism.
Nicaragua is known as the “land of lakes and volcanoes”. Fresh and welcoming, we’ve developed a tour like no other that keeps with our tried and true concept of learning about the country and its people at a leisurely pace; always balancing history, nature and culture.
Managua (1), Leon (2), Matagalpa (3), Granada (3), Ometepe Island (3), San Juan del Sur (1), Managua (1)
- Visit indigenous petroglyphs to learn about the first inhabitants of the Ometepe Island
- Hike around the crater of Masaya volcano
- Participate in a mask workshop creating characters from legends and folklore
- Visit a community where weaving on looms over 100 years old has created self-sustainability
- Visit a school and clinic
- Visit a farm
- Tour a cigar factory
- The culinary experience of Nicaragua- we’ve chosen some amazing restaurants for this tour
- Visit the archeological museum
- Stay in the colourful oceanfront fishing village of San Juan Del Sur
- Tour a privately owned coffee plantation
- Stay in a natural reserve rainforest inhabited by the exotic wildlife
- Museum of Myths and Legends housed in a former jail
- Visit Leon Cathedral and walk amongst white domes
- Las Isletas Boat Tour
- Learn about chocolate- from beans to bars…. Then taste!
Managua – Hotel Camino Real – 1 Night
Day 1 – January 26th
Today arrive in the modern city of Managua where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Leon – Hotel Austria – 2 Nights
Day 2 – January 27th – Breakfast and Dinner included
After a morning orientation, we will drive to Leon on our private, air-conditioned motor coach. Leon is colonial city rich in both monuments and historical places, but it is still not a polished tourist destination.
During our tour of the city we will be visiting a small but interesting museum, located inside a building- constructed in 1921-that once served as a prison during the Somoza Regime. It is commonly called, “Carcel la XXI”, or “Prison 21.” You may see some of the prison cells, as well as the protection wall that surrounds the building. This museum is dedicated to the Myths and Legends which were, and still are, passed on from generation to generation.
Included is time to explore Central America’s largest cathedral, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Here you will to learn about its history and visit the white rooftop domes to enjoy the astonishing views over the city.
In the evening we will experience Nicaragua through colorful flavours, scents and sounds at a local Restaurant, where a combination of music, rum and happy locals will make for a memorable evening.
Day 3 – January 28th – Breakfast, and Dinner Included
After breakfast we leave the city behind and instead spend time exploring the Juan Venado Nature Reserve via motorboat. A well-kept secret among tourists, the impressive mangrove sanctuary hosts hundreds of migrating bird species, crocodiles and nesting turtles. In a secluded area of the island, you’ll have time to enjoy a private walk or swim.
For lunch we drive to Las Penitas Beach on the Pacific Ocean for an amazing meal of fresh seafood.
The afternoon is free to relax before we return to Leon for dinner.
Matagalpa– Selva Negra Ecolodge – 3 Nights
Day 4 – January 29th – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included
Today we make our way to Matagalpa and beyond to the Selva Negra reserve. This relaxing and peaceful setting is ours to enjoy for the next 3 nights. Located in the mountains above Matagalpa its lush forest is the home of howler monkeys, emerald tucanettes and quetzals. Don’t be surprised if a monkey spends the night on the rooftop of your room!
Along the way we stop to visit San Jacinto Hot Springs, full of boiling mud holes connected to the Telica Volcano.
Before we reach our lodge we will travel through the Estelí region which is known for its world class tobacco and cigars. The Joya de Nicaragua is the primary cigar that the country exports; the first cigar factory was founded in 1964. However decades of war and Communist rule destroyed the brand and decimated the factory – and most of the rest of the country for that matter. Now making a comeback, this new Joya de Nicaragua Antaño cigar was created and we will tour the factory to learn about the production from the beginning to the final packaging.
Day 5 – January 30th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
Selva Negra Eco Lodge and Coffee Estate is a multiphaceted coffee estate exporting organic and sustainable coffee, and a world-class sustainable farm. This morning you will learn about their sustainable procedures on a tour through some of the many projects at the farm including free range pig raising, intensive cattle ranching, sausage and cheese production, compost and vermiculture production, organic laboratory, poultry production, as well as the methane gas generation from both human and farm animal excretes.
Free time this afternoon to relax and enjoy the views of the rain forest.
Day 6 – January 31st – Breakfast and Dinner Included
Travel to the tiny indigenous community of El Chile to learn about Nicaragua’s centuries-old weaving traditions. In the late 20th century the people were forbidden by their government to practice the craft which no one dared to defy. When the regime was overthrown in 1979, the El Chile community and an enterprising Argentine woman organized a project to rescue the traditional looms. Today you will see the local woman weave beautiful fabrics in vibrant colors from re-used cotton and sew them into bags pf all sizes which has saved their traditions and provided income for the community.
While we are here, we will stop by a local school (grades 1 to 9) and encourage our tour members to donate basic school supplies such as chalk, paper, pencils etc. They love baseball but don’t have any balls, bats or gloves.
We also visit a small medical clinic which is opened sporadically by a local health promoter – not a nurse or doctor.
Back at our lodge, the afternoon free to hike on the nearby trails, enjoy this natural setting, read a book….relax and enjoy!
After dinner we enjoy a bonfire with marshmallows!
Granada – Colonial Granada Hotel – 3 Nights
Day 7 – February 1st – Breakfast and Lunch Included
Today we’ll say goodbye to the northern area of the country to visit the south pacific region of Nicaragua. On the way we travel up to the Masaya Volcano National Park stopping at a small interpretive centre to learn about the history of the volcano and area. We then drive through the lava fields to take a walk around the crater to observe the volcanic action below.
After lunch, we check into the beautiful colonial city of Granada.
In the afternoon we enjoy a peaceful boat tour on Lake Nicaragua to explore the lake’s series of small islands, known as “Las Isletas”. There are 365 islets in the lake that were formed more than 20,000 years ago during a volcanic eruption. The islets vary quite a bit in size, and many are large enough to have people living on them. The nature is beautiful with lots of birdlife and amazing views of the volcanoes and Lake Nicaragua.
Day 8 – February 2nd – Breakfast and Dinner Included
This morning we climb aboard horse drawn carriages for a tour of this beautiful city where we will visit the cathedral, San Francisco Convent Museum, old railroad station and main plaza.
Granada was very important to the development of commercial routes during colonial times due to the possibility to enter the Caribbean and travel only 30 km to the Pacific Ocean by passing through the Cocibolca Lake and the San Juan River. Its Spanish roots can be seen everywhere from the cobble stone streets to its colonial architecture.
For those with a weakness for chocolate, you will enjoy our afternoon visit to the local chocolate workshop and museum. Here you will be able to see the chocolate making process from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar and test some for yourself – of course!
Day 9 – February 3rd – Breakfast and Lunch Included
Today we drive to the tiny village of San Juan de Oriente, an artisan town famous for its art work and pottery since pre-Colombian times. As we wander the village’s narrow streets to our pottery workshop, we will see all kinds of handmade necklaces, vases, plates and ceramic animals based on Nicaraguan folklore.
Before lunch, we visit the viewpoint of Catarina which is one of the highest hills surrounding the Apoyo Lagoon, and the panoramic view from there is superb.
This afternoon we visit talented artists who create masks of legendary characters from Nicaragua’s mythology and design their own “terror designer” masks for the cultural tradition called “Aguizotes”. You will have the opportunity to paint a small mask.
Ometepe Island- Villa Paraiso Hotel - 3 Nights
Day 10 – February 4th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
From Granada we travel to San Jorge Port where we board our ferry to Ometepe Island. Isolated from the rest of Nicaragua by the Cocibolca Lake, Ometepe feels far away from the rest of the world. Proclaimed as the “Oasis of Peace”, the island is a mesmerizing place, entrenched in history, and full of stunning sights and activities.
Our lodge for the next 3 nights is located in a unique ecological reserve of 20 hectares, bordered by a kilometer of private beaches. In the Ecological Reserve different types of birds such as scripts, egrets, herons, as well mammals like howler monkeys can be seen. This Ecological Reserve also includes a variety of plants and flowers.
We will then delve further into the archaeology aspect of Ometepe Island during a visit to El Ceibo Arqueology Museum which has an impressive display of more than 1500 pieces as well as a coin museum. Previous visitors have been impressed with not only the quantity, but the quality of these exhibits as well.
Tonight we enjoy the sunset at Punta Jesus Maria lookout before going for dinner in town.
Day 11 – February 5th – Breakfast and Dinner Included
After breakfast we visit one of the best places to see indigenous petroglyphs at Finca El Porvenir, on the slopes of the volcano Maderas. Ometepe is famous for its rich pre-Columbian past and belongs to the great rock art areas of the world. Ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings) and stone statues have been found all over the island, along with sites containing ceramic urns, pottery and utensils.
In the afternoon we enjoy the famous Ojo de Agua Springs which is a natural pool of pristine cool water from the volcanic region with mineral healing properties. Imagine a place where you can relax under the shade of the tropical forest and bath in volcanic water, sipping coconut water!
Day 12 – February 6th – Breakfast Included
Free day to enjoy Santo Domingo Beach or do some of the numerous optional activities on the island such as:
Butterfly farm, kayak within the wetlands, horseback riding, quad bike, scooter or bicycle rental, birding by boat, volcano hike, fishing.
Or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful view of Maderas Volcano and Lake Nicaragua.
San Juan Del Sur- Hotel Victoriano (1 Night)
Day 13 – February 7th – Breakfast Included
We have an early morning to catch the ferry at 9:00am to the mainland and before making our way to San Juan Del Sur. This small town in front of a beautiful bay used to be a small fishing village but now has become one of the most important beach destinations in Nicaragua.
Before we get to the hotel we’ll make a stop at lookout Cristo de la Misericordia, which is a 25m statue of Jesus – one of the tallest in the world – overlooking the town and Pacific Ocean.
Lunch will be in town where many restaurants are located oceanfront and offer delicious, fresh seafood.
After lunch the balance of the day is free to enjoy at the beach. At night there are many options to enjoy nightlife at restaurants, bars or discotheques.
Managua – Hotel Camino Real – 1 Night
Day 14- February 8th - Breakfast and Dinner Included
Enjoy a free morning in this beautiful town before driving back to Managua to spend your last night in Nicaragua. This evening we have our farewell dinner to reminisce our favorite memories from the trip.
Day 15 –February 9th
Adios! Today we transfer to the airport for our flights home.
2024 Nicaragua- A Jewel Revealed Tour Dates & Prices
January 26th return February 9th, 2024
Tour Cost per person based on double occupancy $3990.00 CAD
Air Fare: Flights to Nicaragua are available from many Canadian cities. Contact our office for air fares and flight information. Call for air fares from your city
Single supplement $900.00
In order to make each tour a special experience space is limited to 20 people. We encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment and for the best air fares.
Flights: Call us for flight and air fare information from your closest airport in Canada as we can often access flights not easily found on the Internet and offer alternatives.
Tour price includes:
- 14 nights accommodation based on double occupancy
- Meals: all breakfasts, 3 lunches and 9 dinners
- All admissions and cultural visits listed in itinerary
- Air conditioned motor coach transportation
- Fully escorted by a Canadian Tour Leader and Nicaragua (naturalist) guide
Not included: Travel insurance, Tourist Card $10 USD paid upon arrival, air fare.
Transfers: To and from the airport to your hotel are included on the tour dates. Airport transfers can be arranged for a cost when you purchase extra nights before or after the vacation.