Five Places to Visit in Nicaragua
Nicaragua, the land of lakes and volcanoes. This is the most common combination when thinking of Nicaragua. There are many more places to see and visit in this beautiful Central American country, however: from remote islands to nature reserves, from big cities to colonial Spanish ruins. Those who visit Nicaragua realize right away how much this country is underestimated by tourists, who usually prefer Costa Rica or Panama. As a teaser, we at Mydas Travel have selected 5 must see destinations. Let's start with the first: Managua and Managua Lake.
MANAGUA AND MANAGUA LAKE
It is perhaps exaggerated to say that the capital of Nicaragua is a must. However, if we add the homonymous lake, and maybe even the nearby Chiltepe peninsula Nature Reserve to the mix, we end up with not one, but three destinations, that deserve at least a couple of days stay.
In Managua we particularly recommend places such as Managua's Revolution Square, the Old cathedral, and the many festivals that take place throughout the year, mainly Alegria por la vida (early March), a carnival parade with music and costumes.
Omotepe is a lovely island inside Lake Nicaragua (the other big lake of the country), with an ancient history of pre-Colombian people, conquests, pirates, and finally tourism. On the island there are two volcanoes, Concepcion, and Maderas; the first one is active, while the second isn't. It is possible to hike along the slopes of both volcanoes to enjoy the magnificent view from the top... and there are even those who like to sand ski (to ski downhill with a snowboard on the sand)!
Kayaking, swimming, birdwatching, paragliding, trekking... there are plenty of activities that can be enjoyed in the Apoyo lagoon. For nature lovers, wildlife sightings are very common, thanks to the rich and varied fauna of monkeys, parrots, anteaters, squirrels, and iguanas. Along the Apoyo lagoon banks, especially in the north-western side, there are numerous accommodations for sleeping and eating. This beautiful natural oasis is approximately a forty minutes drive from the capital Managua.
MIRAFLORES NATURAL RESERVE
The Miraflores natural reserve, a national park located 32 km from the town of Estelì, is another gem for nature lovers. The reserve is a true paradise of flowers, trees, birds, mammals, and farmland from 9 different communities of small farmers. Some farms also rent bedrooms, as well as horses and bikes to ride along the trails.
THE RUINS OF LEON VIEJO AND THE TOWN OF LEON
If you get tired of the hustle and bustle of Managua, or of the natural park or of hikes along volcanoes' slopes, then we suggest you stay in the town of Leon for a couple of days. Here you can find the only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nicaragua: the ruins of the old Leon and the cathedral designed by architect Diego José de Porres Esquivel. Sip a drink in the shadow of this monument and enjoy the mild climate that here lasts all year around!