Experience Nicaragua

Mayan Gateway

This 14-day trip to discover Nicaragua is perfect for family or friends. During this guided tour, you will visit interesting points like León, Granada (Nicaragua’s oldest city), San Juan del Sur, and Ometepe, a large island in the middle of a freshwater lake. The natural beauty of Nicaragua is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. The country has a large untouched jungle with a variety of rich flora and fauna. This delightful country is also home to the two largest forest reserves in Central America.

City of Leon

Volcano Cerro Negro

Ometepe Island

San Juan del Sur

Highlights

Indio Maiz nature reserve, Leon Viejo ruins, colonial cities of Leon and Granada, Volcano Cerro Negro, indigenous towns, Ometepe Island, and San Juan del Sur.

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival

This Nicaragua adventure starts with a transfer to your hotel in Managua upon your arrival at the international airport.

Day 2. River San Juan

In the morning, you will drive to San Carlos. You may also choose to take a domestic flight. Upon arrival to San Carlos, you’ll meet a local guide and go down the river San Juan to the town of El Castillo (The Castle). This boat ride takes you to an area packed with fauna, known as the Gold Route. All over the expedition be ready to see many species of birds and monkeys typical of Nicaragua. Upon arrival at El Castillo enjoy free time to rest, explore and have a traditional dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 3. Indio Maiz Reserve

Today, you will embark on a boat expedition to the Indio Maiz Reserve, a region committed to the conservation of a broad sort of wildlife. The nature reserve is two miles from El Castillo, at the meeting of the river San Juan, and river Bartola. As you calmly ride this area of the river, you will see a multitude of species which could probably include tapir, crocodiles, manatee, harpy eagle, green limpet, and jaguar, as well as birds and monkeys. 

Later, you’ll go back to El Castillo for lunch, after which a local guide will show you this historic town. All over the excursion learn about traditional dishes, and local culture, and be amused by the belief, and the rich myth of the region. Later, you’ll have time to have dinner at a local restaurant and finally return to your hotel after a full day of discovery. 

Day 4. Return to Managua

After breakfast, you’ll take the boat back to San Carlos Pier. In San Carlos, you’ll drive back to Managua. The drive takes approximately five hours over the mainly desolated countryside. You can also choose to have an extra night in the area and get the domestic flight to return to Nicaragua, the following day. Upon arrival in Managua, you will have time to rest and relax. 

Day 5. Leon

Today you will visit the second oldest city of Nicaragua, León. The ruins of Leon Viejo have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It used to be the original location of León; today there is nothing but ruins. At León Viejo, you can see the foundations of the houses, as well as some partially restored significant buildings like the church. Get a great view of Lake Managua, the Momotombo Volcano, and the other volcanoes surrounding the city. After the tour, you will go to the city of León, where you will have a city tour. 

León is the second-largest city in Nicaragua. It is home to many historic Spanish colonial homes and churches. León is considered to be the intellectual center of the country. Your guide will show you many beautiful locations including the cathedral, the murals of the revolution, Museum Ruben Dario, and Gallery Ortiz-Guardian. The collection of the gallery includes work from European masters (Picasso, Chagall) and a stunning assembly of Latin American art. In the afternoon, you will have some free time to rest and relax.

Day 6. Cerro Negro

Hike the youngest volcano in Central America and most active in Nicaragua, Cerro Negro. Hike up the rocky side and down the sandy side. Visit the 2 active craters, feel the heat, smell the gasses and enjoy the views. In the afternoon, you will be exploring the Pueblos Blancos Indigenas (White Indigenous Towns) of Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, and Diria.

These small communities got their name because many of the buildings and streets were once constructed with a combination of volcanic rock, water, and limestone that gave them a chalky-white color. Each village has its special characteristic and with an average elevation of 1,600 feet, the views of the surroundings are spectacular. In San Juan del Oriente, you will see a pottery-making demonstration. This is a good place to buy some unique and inexpensive Nicaraguan pottery. Afterward, you will stop at the city of the Flowers Masaya where you will visit the marketplace. Here you can buy local handicrafts, such as paintings. At the end of the day, you will arrive at Granada.

Day 7. Granada & Masaya Volcano

Today you will visit the first National Park of Nicaragua, the shallow shield Masaya Volcano. This is the only volcano in the western hemisphere where you can drive to the rim. You will find an underground tunnel in this park, which was formed by lava flows. You may be able to find bats and look inside to observe the glowing lava in the dark crater mouth of the volcano. 

Later, you will discover Granada, which will surround you with unique colonial architecture. The city of Granada is known for its rich history, dating back to the Spanish conquistadors. Interesting places to visit are the churches: San Francisco, La Merced, Xalteva, and the neoclassical cathedral. You will experience a city tour through this delightful city. Pass by old colonial houses and visit an ancient fortress and a cemetery in colonial style with tombs of more than 400 years old.

Day 8. Granada Isletas

​​During this day, you will have a kayak tour in Lake Nicaragua to observe the Granada Isletas (little islands). The natural beauty of the islands is spectacular, and history buffs will enjoy the Fort of San Pablo, a Spanish fort that was largely unsuccessful in preventing pirate attacks on Granada. The islands are located in an exotic tropical archipelago of 365 tiny volcanic islands. Enjoy a quiet wilderness experience with the sound of birdsong overhead, as you cut silently through the glassy water.

Day 9. San Juan del Sur

This morning, you will head to the surfing town of Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur. The long waterfront is lined with seafood restaurants and beachside decks looking over the sailboats and fishing boats that are in the majestic bay. San Juan del Sur has emerged as a popular spot for the adventurous traveler and the retiree alike. Surrounded by beaches, like Maderas, Yankee, Tamarindo, and Remanso, San Juan del Sur proves to be perfectly located as the social hub of your traveling surf trip or if you just want to relax and rest. The remainder of the day will be free to rest and relax. 

Day 10. Horseback riding

Today, you will have the option to join an amazing horseback riding tour in Chilamate Ranch. Guided horseback rides for intrepid guests seeking an authentic experience in Nicaragua. The excursion departs from the ranch through the community, into open terrains and over hills for astonishing sceneries, overpassing a river various times for exotic wildlife seeing (virtually secured to watch monkeys) and later to a remote beach for a refreshing pause and more riding adventure. This solar-powered privately owned ranch procures limited, and more cozy groups to assure just the best of experience. 

Whether you are an experienced rider or this is your very first time on a horse, we have the optimal excursion for you. In our schedule, we have various choices including private groups, and lessons. This ride is remarkable for nature admirers. Wildlife and birds line the river along with regional parties of Howler Monkeys. There will be chances for trotting and loping at the beach! It will depend on the riding ability of each guest. 

The health of the horses is very important, they are just 14 to 15 hands and even though quite strong we reserve the right to restrict the guest’s weight up to 185 pounds (84kilograms). The ride itself can be as brief as one hour and up to two hours, however, you should allow a minimum of three hours for this excursion. 

Day 11. Ometepe Island

You will depart to Ometepe Island today. Ometepe is considered the largest island in the world found within a freshwater lake. The island is a 276-square-kilometer jewel in the great lake of Nicaragua. It houses two majestic volcanoes connected through a small strip of land. 

Local and international travelers admire Ometepe for its nature, hospitality, beautiful landscapes, the two volcanoes, a rich archeological background, relaxing beaches, and its numerous natural reserves and forests that enjoy high biodiversity. The island is currently inhabited by friendly people who love their territory, dedicated to fishing and high-quality agricultural production; made possible by the fertile soil.

You’ll visit the natural park Ojo de Agua. This is a natural spring of crystalline waters. Ojo de Agua is a river of clear water with medicinal properties that rejuvenate your skin. Rustic facilities have been built on this farm, including pools, thatch-roof huts, and hiking trails. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the healthy Ojo de Agua. This freshwater source feeds two large swimming pools set into an old-growth forest. 

Day 12. Volcano Maderas

Today we offer you the optional hike to the Volcano and Lagoon Maderas. The truncated cone of Maderas is covered in a thick cloud forest. On its summit, a crater lagoon was formed where you can swim in a serene setting. Because of its ecological and archeological importance, most of the Maderas side of the island has been designated a nature reserve. The cloud forest shelters a diverse flora and fauna life, including howler and Capuchin monkeys, many birds, butterflies, amazing orchids, and ferns.

Day 13. Santo Domingo

You will have a moderate hike in the lagoon of Charco Verde today, and afterward, you can relax at Santo Domingo Beach. The Lagoon of Charco Verde owes its name to its green water, which is due to the plentiful vegetation on the shore. This ecological reserve covers 20 hectares of tropical dry forest and is home to many species of animals, as well as local and migratory birds. Within the reserve, you will find the mystical lagoon of Charco Verde with its emerald green waters. Today it’s a tranquil spot in an unspoiled area of old woodland, where you can quietly observe the beautiful fauna. 

Beach of Santo Domingo. The Beach of Santo Domingo is a 4 kilometer long stretch of gray sand. The water of the lake is always choppy but nicely warm and shallow making it safe for bathing and swimming. You can relax in the constant onshore breeze with a view to the jungle-covered Maderas volcano, watch egrets preying on small fish, or take a walk to the north along the beach, framed by dry forest vegetation. 

In the afternoon, you will be taken back to Granada.

Day 14. Return home

Unfortunately, your journey ends today. Our Discover Nicaragua experience ends today with a private transfer to the International airport of Nicaragua in Managua. But if you’re not ready to go home just yet, why not extend your Nicaragua tour package? Contact us for more information.  

Expenses included

14 days & 13 nights

$2,500 per guest

Private transportation, door to door service

 13 nights accommodation in small boutique hotels and jungle lodges

Local certified onsite guides

All park entrance fees

 Ferries

Daily breakfast

Taxes

Price varies by group size

Not included: flights, travel insurance and other expenses than indicated

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