While most of the travelers go to Mexico and Costa Rica or Europe and Southeast Asia, Nicaragua doesn’t get the attention it deserves but it should. This South American gem is loaded with wellness and yoga retreats, rich history and exotic Latin culture, beautiful beaches and jungles full of wildlife, plenty of activities from surfing to volcano boarding.
Things may have changed since we last went to Nicaragua in 2012 but then it was one of the cheapest country in Central America. Although its reputation of being dangerous with all the scary stories we’ve heard, we never felt unsafe and we enjoyed our stay. As we always like to say, you just have to use common sense everywhere you go so you don’t end up in risky situations, and respect the locals. Also always keep an eye on your belongings, don’t bring valuable things and avoid walking alone in the dark in areas that are not considered safe.
Going to Nicaragua you need to slow down your mind, enjoy the moments, forget your worries and bring on the explorer and adventure spirit. With all of the beautiful colonial cities, volcanoes, jungles, wildlife, beaches and lakes you will find the thing that would charm your heart.
Our trip was mainly dedicated on surfing, and that’s why we choose to stay in San Juan del Sur – famous for that. But even if you are not into surf you can still enjoy visiting this area and the charming beaches around it, maybe just staying only a few days instead of a week. If you have a chance make time to see see Granada, Leon, Island Ometepe and Corn Island – Nicaragua’s Caribbean paradise. We don’t like to regret in life, but we could have used an extra week to see more of it’s bloom. So if you have the time you should plan at least 10-14 days to enjoy the most.
We stayed at Nica Yoga for 7 nights and our total was only $245, which was pretty cheap for the villa with swimming pool. But again, that was almost 5 years ago and we believe things may have changed, prices may have gone up and we are not sure if this place is still in business. It was a bit of a walk outside of town, but we didn’t mind it at all.
The town of San Juan Del Sur it’s a small colorful beach town that used to be a fishing village, but now it’s main business comes from surfing tourism and its the definition of a backpacker’s place. Some people say that theres’s not much to do in town and you can explore it in less than a day, but that’s not true. You will find lots of beach bars and restaurants, friendly locals, great taco stands and breathtaking sunsets. Night time there’s definitely a party culture and it’s the place to show your salsa moves.
San Juan Del Sur it’s definitely a place to slow your mind, relax, enjoy the beach and stunning sunsets, go for a surf, practice yoga, read a book or horseback riding on the beach.
When you are through relaxing or party and you’re ready to explore more, hope on a shuttle and go see some of the beaches nearby. North of San Juan Del Sur is Playa Maderas and it’s one of the most stunning Nicaraguan beaches with incredible views. It is an untouched paradise, a lovely sandy beach perfect for sunbathing, swimming or surfing. Bring some snacks or lunch with you because there’s not many options to eat, especially for vegans like us.
The next go south to Playa Hermosa, where Survivor was filmed. Great for surfing depending on the swell, as well for chilling on the beach. Less crowded, long stretch of white sand.
Other magnificent beaches a little bit more off the beaten path and not to miss are Playa Majagual, Playa El Coco, Playa Marsella.
Being vegans we had plenty to eat. Nicaragua offers abundance of tropical fruits, plantains, the gallo pinto ( rice and beans ) and guacamole. One of our favorite spots during the day was El Gato Negro for coffees, teas, smoothies, and a great atmosphere. It’s open only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cash only. We’ve heard there some new vegetarian/vegan friendly places that have opened since we were there.