FINALLY: I can tell you all about my month of travel insanity, which starts in 2 days! “Wait: you said MONTH?” That’s right! While my combo Costa Rica and Nicaragua itinerary spans a little over 2 weeks, it is just the beginning…
After some crazy adventures throughout Central America, I’m heading to Los Angeles for a day and a half layover; then it’s TAIWAN for an 11-hour layover in Taipei, hitting some exciting after-hour markets + nightlife; and finally, the BIG move to Indonesia on August 28th! *Squeals*
Not getting ahead of myself though: today & tomorrow are about Central America 😉
Nicaragua itinerary: Details of my assignments
I have partnered with Go Backpacking and Wandering Trader travel blogs for my upcoming trip to Central America, which kicks off this Tuesday, August 5th.
First up, I will be highlighting how Nicaragua is a serious contender against Costa Rica when it comes to adventure, culture and, most importantly, sustainable tourism. I will be supporting local guides and travel agencies; communities that sustain their families via homestays; in addition to staying at some unique lodges and hostels that organize volunteers and make donations to projects that directly benefit common Nicaraguans.
I finally took the plunge and bought a goPro by the way, so my YouTube channel will be teaming with new travel videos soon! I will be taking footage with my Canon G12 as well, climbing volcanoes, swimming in black sand beaches, getting lost in colorful colonial towns, and eating a variety of Latin food. Below are my plans for Nicaragua, day-by-day:
DAYS 1 & 2: late arrival to San Jose; visit Irazu stratovolcano & Cartago ruins
This is will be published either tomorrow or Tuesday before my flight, as I will also have a post dedicated to my Costa Rica itinerary. So come back then for the details! 😉
DAY 3: Costa Rica to Nicaragua Overland; Ometepe homestay
Rising around 4:30 AM in order to have time for a decent breakfast before taking the 6 AM TicaBus to Nicaragua. I will be getting off at the magical island of Ometepe, which was formed by 2 volcanoes inside one of the largest lakes in the world.
I have never visited a freshwater beach before, so my time in Lake Nicaragua will be special.
Yet another reason why my stay in Ometepe will be super special is because here I will be posted by Nicaraguan family through the incredible community known as Puesta Del Sol. It is basically 10 rural families that got their skills together in order to offer all-inclusive homestays to travelers, with 3 meals, for only USD $20 per person per day.
That is a steal, considering that’s what most travelers pay for a regular hostel bed anywhere else!
Most families don’t speak any English, so this is a great way to practice your Spanish, by the way. As you know, that’s my first language, so it will truly feel like a home away from home 🙂
DAY 4: Bicycle island tour, Ometepe
I have also partnered with the wonderful local guides of Ometepe Secret Adventures, who will be taking me on some incredible trips for the couple of days I’ll be in the island.
First up is a full-day bicycle tour 😀 Starting at 7 AM, we will go on and off the main road, while taking part of a bunch of adventurous stops and activities. These include:
- Ceiba Museum
- Mirador del Diablo
- Charco Verde Natural Reserve: Lagoon kayaking, monkey and birdwatching
- Chico Largo Adventure: rappelling, suspension bridges, canopy zip line
- San Jose Del Sur beach for lunch
- Punta de Jesus Maria Beach for sunset
- Dinner with my Nicaraguan family at Puesta Del Sol
As you know, I’ve had some struggles with my health in the past year, so I will be testing myself by going on this adventure. But I got to push myself and start somewhere…!
DAY 5: climb Concepcion Volcano; Nicaraguan hostel experience
Concepción is one of two volcanoes that form Ometepe island: and I am climbing it today! We are taking the shorter, more scenic trail by the Sabana entrance, near the town of Altagracia.
Afterward, we wind down and refresh from our hike at the following spots, in order:
- Ojo de Agua
- Playa Santo Domingo
Finish line is at Little Morgan’s hostel, where I will spend the night. Apparently, this is legendary party place and must-stop for backpackers in the region, so I knew I had to experience it for at least one night!
Specially since I decided to skip San Juan del Sur due to bad reviews about the quality of its beach and extreme “party / gringo vibe.”
DAY 6: Fincas & ancient sweat baths
On Sundays, Nicaragua pretty much SHUTS DOWN, so no public transportation readily available. Thankfully, Ometepe Secret Adventures will take me to Balgue to visit:
- Finca Magdelena
- Possibly Finca El Porvenir
- Temazcal Omeyocan
Now the latter is the one I’m really excited about. How so? Well, Temazcal is a sweat bath ritual, practiced by ancient people like the Nahalt, Aztecs, and other tribes.
Later that afternoon, I’m going back to my Nicaraguan homestay, Puesta Del Sol, for my last supper and overnight in Ometepe.
DAY 7: colorful Granada & Masaya LAVA night tour
There are mixed reviews about GRANADA. Word in the street says that it is a gorgeous, colorful city, but that it’s slowly turning into a tourist trap. Based on photos I really couldn’t skip it though, so I decided to stay 2 days and one night to experience it.
It also happens to be a good base for visiting the active Masaya Volcano, so it’s definitely worth the stopover for me.
I’m collaborating with Va Pues, considered one of the top local agencies and experts — whether you’re looking into Granada tours and/or a multi-day Nicaragua itinerary.
I decided to take a half day tour around Granada, plus a LAVA tour to the Masaya volcano after sunset. I am GIDDY about this one: really hope I get to see some fire!
DAYS 8-10: chilling in the beach town of Jiquilillo
After so much action, it’s time to wind down (but just a bit) at Monty’s Beach Lodge in Jiquilillo. They were gracious enough to offer me full room and board during my stay in the area, in order to interview the staff at the Lodge about their social tourism and volunteer projects they pioneer. Additionally, I plan to:
- Take my very first surfing lesson
- Climb the Cosigüina Volcano & see its crater lake
For the most part though, I’m hoping for some R&R — particularly yoga by the beach or their stunning ocean view deck. I’m sure I’ll be pretty exhausted by then and will need to recharge my batteries.
DAY 11: epic road trip from northern Nicaragua back to Costa Rica
OK, so this day is going to suck XD I will be leaving Jiquilillo, Nicaragua around 7:30 AM and won’t be getting back to San Jose, Costa Rica until about 8-9 PM.
Lots of connections–and flights are expensive.
If it weren’t because I was so fixated into visiting Cosigüina volcano, it wouldn’t have been so ridiculous!
Oh well… This is what I get haha.
Tomorrow I will post the details of my Costa Rica itinerary, as I did not want this post to be over 1300 words long 😉
Got more tips for my Nicaragua itinerary? Tell me below!