Nicaragua Explorer | Trip Itinerary
Day 1: Private Guided Transfer Managua International Airport / Managua Hotel.
Meeting at Managua International Airport by our local representative. You’ll be transferred to your select hotel, where you check-in for an overnight stay.
Hotel options: Premium-Real Intercontinental; Moderate-Los Robles
Day 2: Private Managua city tour (morning) then be transferred to Matagalpa area
Managua has been the capital of Nicaragua since 1852. Managua has a very warm and sunny climate. To the north, one can find the old city center. This area was destroyed by an earthquake in 1972. On the contrary, the southern part of the city is now called the future downtown of Managua and is where most of the investments are being made. We will get acquainted with both areas.
Among the places to visit are the: “National Historic Park Loma de Tiscapa”. In this location we’ll get to know an important part of the city’s history. We’ll also get to know in much detail, the story behind national hero Augusto Cesar Sandino and the Somoza dictatorship. We will see the ruins of the old presidential palace, also destroyed by the earthquake that leveled the city. Then we will drive down to the old city center to visit the “Park of Peace”, a very important symbol of the peace Nicaraguans are now enjoying. In this historic place, the guns which took so many lives are now burned and buried forever.
We will also visit “El Malecon”, for a closer look at Lake Managua and the surrounding areas. We will see the monument to Simon Bolivar, in the avenue of the same name and also the National Theater Ruben Dario, New Presidential House, Palace of Culture and other buildings.
We will also see the future center of the city with its modern and new metropolitan cathedral. Here we will notice the growth of the city and the new investments in hotels, bars and restaurants, modern gas stations, casinos, banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and residential areas.
Ending the visit with a stop at Huembes market for souvenirs. We will have lunch at a local and very typical restaurant before heading to the north of Nicaragua and our stop for the next two days: Selva Negra in Matagalpa.
At the Bavarian-style gatehouse the guard lifts the red and white stripped bar permitting entrance into the unique world of Selva Negra. Here at more than 3,000 feet you will have to pinch yourself to believe that you are still in Nicaragua. Selva Negra is a sustainable coffee plantation that welcomes tourists. From the food on the table in the lakeside restaurant to the electricity in the quaint half-timbered cabins, everything needed to run this little kingdom is produced at Selva Negra. Located in the highlands of central Nicaragua, the hills of Selva Negra are draped in green year round and the temperature is always comfortable. (B)
Both Premium and Moderate option: Selva Negra Eco lodge/1 bedroom bungalow– Matagalpa/2 nights
Day 3: Morning Regular Coffee Tour at Selva Negra – Afternoon at leisure
This comprehensive and sustainable experience turns coffee enthusiasts into coffee experts! Jump in a truck with your local expert and visit the plantation to see the coffee trees, the Coffee Cherries learn during the visit about the coffee harvest season, the process of drying, roasting ending with the coffee packing. For the afternoon, just relax or do some hiking at the fourteen trails that Selva Negra private reserve offers to the visitor. Six of the trails are designed for horses which make this beautiful and pristine cloud forest easy to explore either by foot or horse. (B)
Day 4: Private guided transfer from Matagalpa to Leon passing by Chinandega, a town well known for its sugar cane production
Your day will be full of different experiences of Nicaraguan History. First a visit to the Chorotega Museum (open Monday thru Fridays) in which you will have the chance to enjoy more than 1500 pieces of Pre Columbian Indigenous art that varies from 500BC and 500 AC. This is the best collection in the zone. You then continue to the city of Leon to see the main churches including the monumental cathedral, the largest in Central America and also Heritage of Human kind by UNESCO, located at the main square. We will also see the birdhouse of Ruben Dario, the “Ortiz Gurdian” art gallery and the “El Convento” hotel and its colonial architecture. During the walking tour get to know the historic murals of the city and understand the role played by Leon in the social, economic and political development of Nicaragua. (B)
Hotel options: Premium-El Convento; Moderate-Hotel Flor de la Sarta
Day 5: Private guided transfer from Leon to Granada with tours of Leon Viejo and Granada city.
The colonial city of Leon was founded by Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in the year 1524 next to Lake Xolotlan and the active Momotombo volcano. The city was actually built next to the town known as Imabite but in the year 1610 it was moved to its current location after being destroyed by a series of eruptions from the Momotombo volcano and the city was basically buried. That is why the city is called the Central American Pompey. The ruins were found in the year 1967 and were declared Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In Leon Viejo you will have a very interesting tour where you will learn about the early history of the first capital city of Nicaragua. On the hill where the fort is buried, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Momotombo volcano and Lake Xolotlan.
You will then continue to Colonial Granada, named after the city of Granada in Spain. This city has plenty of colonial churches, narrow streets and large homes with beautiful indoor patios, tiled roofs and pretty colonial colors. You will have the opportunity to walk around the main plaza to see “La Merced” church, the house of the Zamora family, the famous “Casa de Los Tres Mundos” and the San Francisco convent. Here, you will have the opportunity to see and take pictures of mysterious idols made by our ancestors. This is an impressive collection of genuine pre-Columbian sculptures in human and animal shapes. During the tour we will learn the history of the city, and about the adventures of filibuster William Walker, who invaded the city in the year 1855.
Hotel options: Premium-Plaza Colon/Superior; Moderate--Patio del Malinche/Superior---3 nights
Day 6: Private half day trip to Masaya Volcano National Park & Masaya Market
The vehicle will go up to the hill and within only a few steps you will see the impressive Santiago crater, active since 1946. Learn from your local expert how the Aratinga Strenua manages to live in the toxic crater walls as well as the history of the Spanish priests who explored the volcano and the superstitious beliefs held by the natives who inhabited the area.
After enjoying the magnificent Masaya Volcano, you will continue to Masaya Artisan’s Market. Nicaragua is rich in handicrafts, and you’ll have a chance to browse the stalls of this comfortable market as you search for the perfect gifts and souvenirs to remind you of this lovely country. Return to your Granada hotel in the late afternoon. **If you begin your tour on a Saturday, you'll visit the Masaya area on a Thursday--when there is a special folk lore night/Jueves de Verbenas/ in the market beginning at 6:00 PM. If you are interested in this event let us know and we calculate your trip price with this small addition. (B)
Day 7: Morning private tour to Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve –afternoon at leisure
For our visit, our vehicle will lead the way to the foot of the mountain where we will get in touch with the park keepers. Then we will switch vehicles and start our way up to the top on a four wheel drive. The adventure begins on a paved road and right from the start we will be surprised by the biodiversity of this natural reserve. Surrounded by exuberant vegetation and enjoying breathtaking views. When we reach the summit, we will understand why this ecosystem is a cloud forest. The park ranger will give instructions to everyone so we can enjoy our visit.
We will then take the trails of the volcano (For approximately 1:45 minutes) to learn a lot about the flora, the fauna, the ancient people who lived there and the vulcanology of the area. If the day is clear enough, we will visit an impressive viewpoint to observe the plain pacific region of Nicaragua, the neighboring city of Granada and the great lake of Nicaragua and its islands. When we return from our walk, we will visit the biological station where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or purchase snacks. Our guide will let us know when it is time to board the vehicle that will transport us back to the foot of the mountain. This is considered a moderate hike. The afternoon is free for your to explore Granada at your own pace. (B)
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast at your the hotel. Private unescorted transfer from the hotel in Granada to the Managua International Airport (approximately 1 hour) to flight home. (B)
B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner
Recommend Tues thru Friday for optimum Museum visits
4 people/2 rooms
2 people/1 room
4 people/2 rooms
2 people/1 room