Nicaragua is one of Central America’s best kept secrets, with vast lakes, giant volcanoes, vibrant heritage, and extensive rainforests. As the name translates, “surrounded by water,” bordered by Honduras and Costa Rica, Nicaragua hugging the Pacific Ocean on the west and east side, and the Caribbean with its plentiful surf and sandy beaches. Not only will you be off the beaten track here, it will stay away from the crowds, and it also boasts the ultimate in luxury experiences.
1. Enjoy a private island
Jicarao is a unique National Geographic inn located on a private island within the Granada Islands in Lake Nicaragua, the perfect getaway for a few nights. This upscale eco-lodge is a short boat ride from the UNESCO city of Granda. Stay in one of the private casinos and enjoy everything from relaxing in a hammock, daily yoga, couples massage, infinity pool, and locally inspired cocktails all the way to the gourmet food on offer. The friendly and helpful staff here do the accomodation, and organize any activity of your choice if you wish.
2. Lift Mombasho
As the land of lakes and volcanoes, it would be rude not to visit Mombasho, which rises 1,344 meters above sea level. Hire a private guide and take one of the three hiking trails up. You will wander through the cloud forest and reach the lush peaks and craters of Mombasho, all while being in the company of many howler monkeys. Enjoy many panoramic views of the areas overlooking Granada and the islands of Lake Nicaragua.
3. Private walking tour of Granada
Founded in 1524, Granda is the oldest colonial city in the Americas. Book a private sightseeing walking tour. Amidst the hustle and bustle of this quiet and peaceful city, Cathedral Square is where you’ll see more locals than tourists. Wander the surrounding cobbled streets while learning about the history and culture of Nicaragua. Home of Nica’s local dish, vigoron, be sure to try the city’s signature dish before you leave.
4. Experience the magic of nature
Juan Venado Island can be visited by private motorboat, or if you are feeling more adventurous, you can use a kayak. It is located only 22 km from the city of Leon, opposite the small fishing village of Las Benitas. This nature reserve is a protected area and a vital coastal wetland. Keep your eyes peeled, during May through November it is a vital nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles. With no one living on the island, you will enjoy complete peace and quiet while exploring the stunning nature. Between the island and the coast lies a mangrove forest, home to a variety of birds.
5. Boutique R&R
The Mukul Hotel is Nicaragua’s first ultra-luxury resort, including a world-class spa and David McLay Kidd golf course. Built by billionaire Flor de Cana rum and Nicaraguan businessman Carlos Pellas, Mukul embodies the essence of Nicaragua in quintessential luxury. This secret hideaway is located on a large private beach that offers a wide range of experiences such as mountain biking through jungle and nature reserves for trekking and helicopter rides. For the ultimate R&R, the hilltop spa has 6 themed cassettes, where you can relax in your own private sanctuary.
6. Catch some waves
Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast is a favorite among seasoned and novice surfers. With over 30 miles of coastline, the Emerald Coast has emerged as one of the best surfing destinations in the world. It is located between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean, and you can enjoy the sea wind most days of the year. To refuel after surfing, lovers of fine dining will want to head to La Mesa in Mukul for a gourmet tasting menu paired with wine.
7. Take a dose of caffeine
Book a private tour of Selva Negra, coffee tours here are a great opportunity to learn about coffee, in the country famous for its delicious mugs. Coffee is one of the country’s main exports. Explore the beautiful grounds of Selva Negra and the views from the estate while experiencing the coffee process, history, climate, sustainable use of by-products, and social programmes.
8. Corn Islands Diving
The Corn Islands are located on the Caribbean coast of the country. Here you will find one of the best diving spots in Nicaragua, Blowing Rock. Giant volcanic rock summit attracts a lot of marine life. You are bound to see much more amazing marine life than the tourists in this off-the-beaten-track destination.