Why Nicaragua Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

JUNE KIM

June is well versed when it comes to spontaneity, and this journey encompasses just that.

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13 JUN - 2022

Call it a smorgasbord for foodies, a playground for adventure seekers plus a culture shock in the best form. Nicaragua may have it all.

Travelling the world is no easy feat, so excuse me while I take notes from the pro on all things intrepid. Nothing tests the nerves more than a new city with little expectations. June is well versed when it comes to being out of her comfort zone and tackling the unexpected. With an in depth background of food and travel, we turn to June to give us the lowdown on the stunning and not-so-basic hotspots in Central America’s isthmus, Nicaragua.

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Here are the highlights of my 6 week stay in Nicaragua:

Q. What made you want to visit Nicaragua?
Is it dangerous? Would you recommend travelling in a group? Any places to avoid?

Nicaragua was definitely more of a spontaneous part of my trip.

I needed a cheap/flexible flight out of the U.S to show customs. Costa Rica ended up being the best option, and from there, I caught a direct bus to Nicaragua. Despite not having heard much, I am stoked with the outcome of my trip. It wasn’t at all glamorous, but having the balance between calm and chaos was great.

No, it’s not dangerous, there are always lots of people around and the locals are super friendly and accommodating! (I recommend learning a bit of Spanish before you go!)

Yes! I’d definitely recommend traveling with a group. Lots of the guided hikes and activities are all in groups, so it would be fun to rally your friends up for a trip. :)

No places to avoid in my opinion!

Ometepe Island

A short ferry ride from Rivas brings you to the largest island in a freshwater lake - in the world! If you enjoy hiking volcanoes, trekking to waterfalls or relaxing in natural springs - renting a motorbike for the day is the best way to explore the beautiful island.

I highly recommend visiting Ojo de Agua - a natural spring pool with volcanic water rich in minerals. Surrounded by a tropical forest and a neighbouring bar conveniently located - you can spend a relaxing day here, before heading to Punta Jesus Maria to see the sun set.

If you’re game for a knee-punishing 8 hour day hike, take a guided tour up Volcan Concepcion- an active volcano 1600 metres above Lake Nicaragua. The steep ascent through the tropical forest brings you to an impressive 360 view of the island.

Leon

Leon is a small, vibrant city close to the coast. Its’ streets are littered with street vendors, and hosts an impressive fresh produce market.

A short scenic drive from Central Leon brings you to El Cerro Negro- a magnet for thrill seekers. Upon arrival you are greeted by a confronting 45 degree angle of volcanic rock, where you sled down at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

During my stay here, I signed up for another volcano hike- this time overnight. Although challenging, the final stop at Laguna Asosoco made it well worth the sweat and tears.

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Popoyo

Popoyo is a sleepy beach town which attracts surfers from around the world. Spend a few nights here to escape the chaos of the cities and enjoy the sunsets, and
take surf lessons with a local.

Must do:
Santana beach
Guascate beach
Visit El Gigante

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Ocotal

Half way through my stay, I headed far up north to Ocotal to experience a change of scenery. I spent 2 weeks volunteering on a coffee plantation surrounded by a tropical forest. I recommend looking into volunteer work during your travels to experience a fully immersive cultural exchange.

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