9 Adventures in Nicaragua

9 Adventures in Nicaragua

When you think of traveling to Nicaragua, the first thing that probably comes to mind is surfing and while there's plenty of great spots to catch a perfect break, the central American country has so much more to offer when you venture off the beaten path. Here's a list of our favorite activities to try when you take the flight south.

1. Climb a Volcano
Have you ever heard of the Pacific Ring of Fire? Let me tell you about it. There’s volcanic activity that encircles the entire Pacific Ocean from Japan to South America and this lovely geological feature shows her good side in the country of Nicaragua. Hitch a ride to the northern city of Leon. You’ll find not one, but two beautiful cities, Leon & Leon Viejo. Both are rich in culture and history dating back centuries. Leon Viejo thrived until the 16th century, when a series of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes caused the city to be moved to a location further from Vulcan Leon. Now that you know the history, it’s time to climb Vulcan Leon. Oh you’ve never climbed an active volcano? You haven’t lived! Notice where the lush, green jungle gives way to black rock. That’s from a recent eruption.
2. Go Volcano Boarding
Alright, alright, alright! So you made it to the top of the volcano. Now what? Lucky for
you there’s a quick way down. It’s time to volcano board. Yes, I said that right. You can
book this awesome adventure through a number of vendors. We chose to go with
BigFoot Hostel. They’re an awesome company located in the heart of Leon and will take you via bus all the way to the base of the volcano. You’ll take the hike up and plunge down the side at up to speeds of 55mph! It’s a rush you’ll never forget. Oh, and it's a great hostel to party at when you're done on the volcano. First one down gets free shots!
3. Horseback Riding Through The Jungle
How much more badass can you be after climbing a volcano, then riding a board down it, then riding off into the jungle on a horse? That’s right. Get on your horse. Here's where to do it: http://www.harishorses.com/

There's plenty of places to travel by horse, but by far the best we found was on a volcanic island called Isla Omotepe. It's right in the middle of Lake Nicaragua and made up of not one, but two dormant, or mostly dormant volcanoes. You can ferry across by boat and I highly recommend renting a 4x4 SUV or truck because where you're going, there aren't any roads. I'm talking straight up jungle jeep trails through mud, dirt, and tears. Don't let that dissuade you from visiting though, because the reward far outweighs the risk. You can stay at a number of places. We recommend Hotel Villa Paraiso. At the time we visited a private room with a view ran us a whopping $35 USD per night. Not bad for a lake side hotel with views of the mountains and the water. We rented our horses through Haris Horses and had a great time.
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4. Hike To A Waterfall
One of the most beautiful features about this volcanic island is the lush rainforest that encircle it the mountain. There's a trail head on Vulcan Maderas that will take you to Cascada San Ramon. If you have time, get yourself to this remote part of the island and make the trek to the falls. You can go by yourself or hire a guide at the hotel/hostel you are staying at on the island.
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5. Visit An Organic Coffee Plantation
Everyone likes coffee, but you are a caffeine connoisseur? Well this place will make your taste buds explode. It's like Zeus himself walked down from Mount Olympus and blessed the earth on which this plantation stands to bring forth coffee beans as nectar for the gods. Ok, maybe I'm being dramatic, but it's the best damn coffee you'll ever drink. I must have had at least 4 cups to myself. I didn't sleep for the rest of the trip, but I didn't care, it was worth it. We took a private tour with a local farmer. You should too. 
Meet Jelo.
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He's been growing coffee beans on the volcanic soil for generations and we could tell by the cups he brewed for us that his recipe had been perfected over the years. The name of the plantation is Finca Madgdalena and here's a link to find them: http://www.fincamagdalena.com/
The farm also doubles as a hostel, so if you want to wake up to the best damn coffee on earth, you can book yourself a place to stay for a while. 
6. Repel Down A Waterfall
We went during the dry season, so the title may seem deceiving, but depending on the time of year you go, you'll see water. This was a great experience for us and we went with Aracne Repelling Tours. You can find them here: http://www.aracnerappel.com/ 
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One of the perks of going through Aracne Rappelling Tours is that once you've finished the tour, you can add a zip-lining tour through the canopy to get yourself back to the village. Which brings us to our next adventure.
7. Zip-lining Through the Canopy

Once we finished dropping down the canyon. We met our next outfitter. We went with: 
The canopy tour was epic. We were flying above the tree tops with an ocean view. It doesn't get much better than that. 
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8. Find a Secluded Beach
We found our own Shangri-La at Morgan's Rock. There's a resort, but if you walk down to the beach, you won't find a soul. We hung out at a beach cabana for hours and never saw another person. If you walk down the coast, you'll be met by howler monkeys or pelicans. The water is warm and almost like bath water. I jumped in every few minutes for a refreshing swim, well maybe just to float around for a bit. There's great places to surf or paddle board here and local spots to rent if you don't have the gear. My travel partner decided she'd hang out in the hammock instead.
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9. Float in the Treetops
This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We met up with some good friends in San Juan del Sur and decided to spend a few extra dollars on an AirBnB. It was worth every penny. The home that we stayed at was called Tres Pesces and was built on a mountain ridge overlooking the jungle below and the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. The best part? The infinite pool at sunset.
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All in all, you don't have to break the bank to get the most out of Nicaragua. We spent over a week traveling across the country, hitting every adventure tour we could sign up for and stopping at every mountain, volcano, or lake to grab a picture. It was an amazing immersion into a different culture and something I'd do again in a heartbeat. From stopping at road side bbq's for local caught fish to escaping monsoons in the jungle, Nicaragua was full of surprises and never short on adventure. We hope this helps as a guide for your next trip and wish you all safe travels.
Happy Trails
Aris A. Ford
Freeman's Collective
Ps. Here's some helpful stuff to pack!
Your passport
Bug spray
Bathing suit
Hiking Shoes/Sandals
Warm climate clothing for the days you'll be visiting
FMC Hawaiian 5-OH! SnapBack