nicaragua pacific coast beach

Nicaragua Travel Itinerary for Families

I’m always intrigued when a destination is described as “the way another awesome destination was 30 years ago.”

I’ve heard Tulum, Mexico described as the Playa del Carmen of 30 years ago. And Maupiti as the Bora Bora of years past.

So my obsession with Nicaragua officially began when I read that Nicaragua today is a version of what Costa Rica was 30 years ago.

where to stay in ometepe

This implies a lack of tourist crowds, minimal tourism development, and lower prices. With this comes more authenticity and greater opportunity to carve out a unique experience on a Nicaragua travel itinerary.

And while still emerging from a turbulent history and struggling as one of the poorest countries in Central America, it sounds like Nicaragua is set to become the next big thing. Of course that comes change.

So NOW is perhaps the perfect time to visit Nicaragua.

As my family gears up for an epic adventure through Central America, I thought I’d share some of the research I’ve been doing with regards the best Nicaragua travel itinerary for families.

Use Granada as a Home Base for Several Days

Granada is a charming colonial town and certainly worth spending a few days exploring. Book one of the many nice hotels, or an inexpensive Airbnb or other vacation rental, and explore Granada and surrounding region.

historical sites in nicaragua

Granada is a good place to ease into your Nicaragua travel experience. Enjoy the well-preserved churches, courtyards, and fountains around town and know you have access to more creature comforts than elsewhere in the country.

Spend a Few Nights on Ometepe Island

Ometepe Island is all about unique nature. Located in the middle of the massive Lake Nicaragua, one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the world, this island is teeming with unique jungle wildlife and is also home to two volcanoes (one active and one dormant).

Kids can check out petroglyphs or join in on a challenging hikes around the volcanoes.

where to stay on ometepe island

It’s a good idea to plan for at least 2 nights, and maybe three if you have time, staying overnight on Omepete Island.

Now, you have to make a choice. Do you head west and explore the Pacific Coast or further east, and chill on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast? The vast majority of travelers head west and complete their Nicaragua travel itinerary along the Pacific coast.

Head West and Explore the Pacific Coast

With a wide variety of beaches along Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, it’s a fun part of the country to explore. Beginning in San Juan del Sur, get a feel for the unique surfing culture here. Considered the best surfing area in all of Central and South America, this town has grown up around the surfing industry.

surfing in nicaragua

Even kids can try their hand at the sport, with plenty of lesson opportunities in the region. To escape the crowds, consider staying further north around Rancho Santana.

This Granada – Ometepe – San Juan del Sur circuit should take between 7 – 10 days. Even for Nicaragua, this is a “well worn” tourist circuit, some would say.

Discover Nicaragua before the others do and come away with a greater understanding of both the volatile past and a passion for this country’s vibrant modern culture.

Want more? Check out my complete Nicaragua Family Travel Guide here.

Have you traveled in Nicaragua? I’d love to hear your tips and thoughts!  

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