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Nicaragua for 17 days...Need help with Itinerary

Chicago, Illinois
12 posts
Nicaragua for 17 days...Need help with Itinerary

Hi! I'm doing a solo backpacking trip for 17 days in Nicaragua and would like some recommendations. I want a mix of hiking, surfing, relaxing, and a little bit of clean fun. I'm hoping I could have time for Granada, Leon (especially camping one night at Telica), and Ometepe. Do you think I could have time for SJDS, Popoyo and Little Corn too? Also wondering what it's like further north around Esteli a if that's worth it. I get in to Nica around 7pm on a Sunday and am wondering if I should stay the night in Managua or head right out from there. I'm on a budget and am looking to stay in hostels most the time. Thank you so much!

Aquaholic Fish and Surf Charter
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
What SUP
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Moke Huhu
Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
7,928 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: Nicaragua for 17 days...Need help with Itinerary

First night : if you can afford $40 for an airport taxi (they will try to get more so bargain) you can go straight to Granada (ask other tourists at the airport if they want to share a taxi with you). Or you can stay overnight in Managua for example at the Nicaragua Guest House. Friendly people, clean rooms with bathroom ($20 for a single), nice patio, breakfast included. 10-15 minutes from the airport. Hostal La Casa de los Abuelos (same area) is supposed to be great too. A taxi from the airport to the hostel in the evening might cost you $15 (I bargained hard and got them down to $10, in comparison going back to the airport from the same hotel was $5 with a street taxi called by the hotel). The next morning take a taxi ($2 or so) to either the UCA for a minibus to Granada or Mercado Roberto Huembes for a bus to Granada.

Granada can be seen in a day (including the isletas by boat tour or kayak). Day trips from Granada : volcano Mombacho, Laguna Apoyo and the pueblos blancos. Then bus to Rivas, taxi to San Jorge and boat/ferry to Ometepe. We like both volcanoes (very hard climbs and very different), Charco Verde (beach, nature trail with wildlife and ziplining nearby), Ojo de Agua (natural spring pool), waterfall hike (San Ramon). Kayaking possible too. Buses are available but not that many depending on where you are going (and hardly any on Sundays). Taxis are a possibility but not cheap. You can rent scooters/motorbikes.

From Ometepe you could go back to Rivas and go to either SJDS or Popoyo. I believe Popoyo is hard to get to (I don't think a bus goes all the way). In SJDS the best beaches are north and south of town so you need to find transportation there (shuttle, taxi, maybe bus).

Then back to Rivas and on to Masaya. You could spend the night and visit the volcano (and the artisan market). Masaya is a non touristy city and we enjoy it. Walking to the malecon, sitting in the park and watching people.

Then bus to Managua (if you don't end up at the UCA, taxi to the UCA) and minibus to Leon. Nice colonial city (don't miss the cathedral roof and the street food behind the cathedral). We loved Telica overnight (we went with Sonati) ! We also liked Cerro Negro (it is so much more than boarding or running down, great views, active crater...).

You could decide to skip SJDS and Popoyo and go to Las Penitas near Leon instead (30-45 minute bus ride). Nice fishing village, nice beach and a nature reserve. We don't surf but people were surfing there and there is a surf school. Next to Las Penitas is Poneloya with supposedly good surfing as well.

Or check out Jiquilillo (farther from Leon though). We stayed at Rancho Tranquilo. Lots of people like Rancho Esperanza.

I don't think you have time for Esteli. Or Little Corn. Granada with day trips : 3 days. Go to Ometepe and 3 days there : 4 days. SJDS/Popoyo or beaches near Leon : 4 days. Travel day to Leon : 1 day or 2 days if you stop in Masaya. Leon : 4 days (with Telica).

Lots of hostels everywhere. We liked Hamacas in Granada. Dona Chilo in Moyogalpa (Ometepe), Asi es mi Tierra (Balgue, Ometepe). We also stayed at Finca Magdalena in Balgue (cheap but very basic). In Masaya I highly recommend Hotel Regis ($5 per person and clean, friendly people...). In Leon we stayed at Sonati, Hostal Guardabarranco and Hostal El Albergue. In Las Penitas try Oasis or Barca de Oro.

2. Re: Nicaragua for 17 days...Need help with Itinerary

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