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Nicaragua Explorer

Group Tour

14 Days From £3,095

Overview

Few countries in Latin America combine so much unique history and authentic culture with stunning nature and geography as Nicaragua. Enjoy Nicaragua’s passion for food and laughter in an active journey that traverses the countries tropical ecosystems and campesino culture.

This two-week group tour visits all the best that this off-the-beaten-path country has to offer, from the temperate cloud forests of the northern mountains to the biologically intense rainforests of the south. ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

13 x Breakfasts
12 x Lunches
13 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use minibuses, boats, a ferry and a traditional canoe on a fishing trip in the Bartola river.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

2 nights x Premium
10 nights x Superior
1 night x Simple

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in mainly three star hotels, with three nights in more basic en suite wooden cabins, with un-heated showers for one of those nights.  Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Nicaragua Explorer
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN MANAGUA

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN MANAGUA

Welcome to the land of lakes and volcanoes! If arriving on the suggested international flight, customs formalities will need to be completed, which are usually not too long, before heading to the arrivals hall, where the tour leader will be waiting with a sign. We’ll then transfer to our hotel in the capital, Managua, to settle in and unwind from the long the flight. In the evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Hotel Europeo or similar
Dinner

DAY 2: MANAGUA - GRANADA

DAY 2: MANAGUA - GRANADA

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a city tour around Managua’s old town buildings and national museum, following a visit to the first crater lake of the tour, Tiscapa, for a peaceful reminder of the wonderful nature present, even in the capital. We’ll then head to the picturesque city of Granada, perched on the banks of the grand Lake Nicaragua, for an afternoon tour of its colonial buildings via foot and horse-drawn carriage ride. The tour includes key sites, such as the San Francisco Covent and La Merced church, wonderful panoramas over the town, lake and volcano, and a visit to the oldest part of this historic city. The evening is at leisure.

Hotel Patio del Malinche or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: GRANADA

DAY 3: GRANADA

Surrounding the city are wonderful quaint villages, each known for a local trade or speciality. We’ll start our full day tour by exploring these charming villages, giving us the opportunity to try local sweets, watch a potter at work in their home, and lunch overlooking the surrounding areas, lakes and volcanoes – a great photo opportunity. In the afternoon we’ll head to the birdwatching paradise of El Chocoyero Nature Reserve to walk the forest trails to the park’s waterfall, home to hundreds of green parakeets that live in the rock walls. The day will conclude with a night tour around the rim of the incredible Masaya volcano where, smoke and magma level permitting, we’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of gazing down the volcano’s crater to witness the bubbling molten lava swish from side to side.

Hotel Patio del Malinche or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: GRANADA – SAN JORGE - OMETEPE ISLAND

DAY 4: GRANADA – SAN JORGE - OMETEPE ISLAND

Early this morning we’ll transfer to the tiny port town of San Jorge to catch the ferry to Ometepe Island, whose skyline is dominated by the twin peaks of volcanoes Concepcion and Maderas. Upon arrival to the island we’ll transfer to a lakeside hotel to settle in. Continuing on to the Charco Verde Nature Reserve and Chico Largo lagoon, we’ll hear about local legends inspired by this green lake, that owes its wonderful colour to its high algae content. This evening will see us enjoy a nature night tour in search of the island’s wildlife.

Hotel Charco Verde or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: OMETEPE ISLAND

DAY 5: OMETEPE ISLAND

A tour of the island’s history gets underway this morning at the Museum of Pre-Columbian artefacts to pay homage to the island’s original inhabitants. We then stop at Finca Magdalena, a working, community-run farm, where we can witness hidden, indigenous rock carvings. There will be a chance for a dip in the lush natural spring of Ojo de Agua to cool off from the tropical sun, before meeting some of Ometepe’s current inhabitants. We are invited to lunch at an islander’s home this afternoon and, if in session, may also have the opportunity to visit a local school, before concluding the tour back at the hotel.

Hotel Charco Verde or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: OMETEPE ISLAND

DAY 6: OMETEPE ISLAND

An active day today allows us to explore more of the island’s impressive nature with a range of options to suit all abilities. Optional activities today include hiking to San Ramón waterfall on Maderas volcano, climbing Concepción Volcano or kayaking through the inland Instián River for glimpses of local tropical birds, reptiles and monkeys, as well as spectacular panoramic views of the two volcanoes sprouting up from the island. No matter the option, we’ll be sure to have earned those million-dollar photos and a cool refreshing dip in the lake. The rest of the day will be free to relax on the island.

Hotel Charco Verde or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: OMETEPE ISLAND – SOLENTINAME ARCHIPELAGO

DAY 7: OMETEPE ISLAND – SOLENTINAME ARCHIPELAGO

Leaving Ometepe island this morning, we’ll transfer to the Solentiname archipelago in the south to experience a hardly-visited part of Lake Nicaragua. Transferring via boat and land will afford us some wonderful views of the lake, Ometepe island and the rainforest on the southern shores. Once we have arrived at the south end of the lake, we’ll meander, by boat, through the 36-island archipelago to one of its only four, sparsely inhabited islands. Getting back in touch with nature, we’ll spend this evening in a rustic, eco-cabin, allowing us to appreciate the views and sounds of the wildlife around us.

Albergue Celentiname or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: SOLENTINAME ARCHIPELAGO – LOS GUATUZOS WILDLIFE REFUGE - EL CASTILLO

DAY 8: SOLENTINAME ARCHIPELAGO – LOS GUATUZOS WILDLIFE REFUGE - EL CASTILLO

Early this morning we’ll take a private boat tour of Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge for a chance to spot the local wildlife home to these wetlands, followed by a hike through the reserve and a visit to a turtle and caiman nursery. We’ll then switch to a river boat to begin a journey from Lake Nicaragua, down the San Juan River inland, to the small fortress town of El Castillo. The afternoon will see us learn all about the importance of the colonial fortress in protecting the town from pirates and its link with the famous British admiral, Nelson, before heading to the hotel for the evening.

Hotel Victoria or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: EL CASTILLO

DAY 9: EL CASTILLO

A day out exploring El Castillo’s biodiverse surroundings today will start with an exploration of the Indio Maiz Reserve. Via a series of boat excursions and a two-hour hike through the rainforest, we’ll begin a hunt in search of the reserve’s residents including, sloths, manatees, primates and reptiles, as well the elusive jaguar. After cooling off from the quest, with a swim in the Bartola river, we’ll board a traditional, wooden canoe and delve into the lives of local fisherman, who will teach us old fishing techniques still used today. We’ll then have the rest of the day at leisure.

Hotel Victoria or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: EL CASTILLO – SELVA NEGRA

DAY 10: EL CASTILLO – SELVA NEGRA

After breakfast we’ll make an early departure as most of the day will be spent transferring through this fascinatingly rich country to an organic coffee hacienda in the northern mountains, where we will spend the next two nights. Upon arriving at the accommodation, enveloped in the private cloud forest reserve of Selva Negra, we will have the rest of the day free to unwind and enjoy the tropical, Bavarian-style mountain lodge.

Selva Negra Ecolodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: SELVA NEGRA

DAY 11: SELVA NEGRA

An early morning nature hike in the cloud forest sets off the day; usually the best time to spot local howler monkeys, agouti, bell birds and many other bird species including the iconic Quetzal. After lunch, workers of the lodge’s renowned organic farm will take us around the vast grounds, via a minibus tour, introducing us to their self-taught sustainable farming techniques in coffee, cheese, meat, poultry and flour production. We will then sit down for dinner to sample the produce in the hotel’s wonderful farm-to-table restaurant.

Selva Negra Ecolodge or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: SELVA NEGRA – LOST CANYON - LEÓN

DAY 12: SELVA NEGRA – LOST CANYON - LEÓN

After breakfast, we’ll make a cheeky morning visit to a nearby artisan chocolate shop in the neighbouring city of Matagalpa, before heading to Nicaragua’s other colonial gem, León. There will be a stop en route at the Lost Canyon private nature reserve, which assists with the release of endangered species such as the spiny-tailed iguana. We will be able to get involved and help release the igaunas into the reserve, following a short hike to the relocation area. Upon arrival at our hotel in Granada we’ll have the rest of the day free to either relax in the hotel or go for an independent walk around town.

El Convento or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: LEÓN

DAY 13: LEÓN

Our penultimate day in Nicaragua will be spent exploring, arguably, its most iconic city. A morning city tour will take us through this student city’s revolutionary history, from its colonial buildings and churches to the bustling local market and wonderful vista from the grand León cathedral. After lunch, we’ll head to the active Cerro Negro volcano for a unique opportunity to visit its charcoal west face with incredible contrasting views of the verdant surroundings. The tour begins with an hour’s hike over the rocky trails, making informative and guided stops along the way admiring its stunning landscape. In the early evening we head back into town to enjoy a final group dinner together.

El Convento or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN MANAGUA

DAY 14: TOUR ENDS IN MANAGUA

After breakfast and a leisurely morning, we’ll transfer back to the international airport in Managua, around two hours away, in time for our return flight home.

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Superior

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Premium

Excellent standards without the big price tag

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Supporting the Centro Social Tio Antonio

On this tour we will visit Centro Social Tio Antonio, a social centre which runs a variety of projects to generate employment for people with disabilities or who are excluded from society. For example, they run a coffee shop for deaf people, where visitors can learn the basics of sign language. Another project is the Hamaca Workshop, which we will be visiting on our tour of Granada, who create hammocks from plastics collected in the streets to promote the reuse and recycle method.

Lost Canyon

On this tour we will stop at Lost Canyon private nature reserve, founded by Wild Frontier’s US Latin America Specialist, Richard Leonardi, in 2005. The 98-acre reserve is host to tropical dry forest, an endangered habitat worldwide and an important habitat to many of Nicaragua’s flora and fauna, including the native Nicaraguan spiny-tailed iguana. Richard started a capture and release program for this endangered species, relocating individuals found nesting in the surrounding areas to the safety of the reserve. Local rangers are employed to conserve, reforest and maintain the reserve and its several low-impact hiking trails.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
KL 757 Schiphol Airport (AMS) 12:55 Panama City Airport (PTY) 16:45
KL 3019 Panama City Airport (PTY) 18:34 Managua Airport (MGA) 19:16
KL 1002 London Heathrow (LHR) 08:40 Schiphol Airport (AMS) 11:00
KL 3024 Managua Airport (MGA) 14:26 Panama City Airport (PTY) 17:05
KL 758 Panama City Airport (PTY) 18:55 Schiphol Airport (AMS) 12:20
KL 1017 Schiphol Airport (AMS) 13:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 13:50

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for Nicaragua.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

NB. Please note that as of January 2016 US policy (subject to change) has stated that anyone wishing to travel to or via the USA must have a biometric passport. In addition, anyone who has travelled to several countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen or Somalia since March 2011, is required to apply for a US visa (rather than just an ESTA). If you are affected by this, the process is fairly straightforward and you can read more about it here:-
www.wildfrontierstravel.com/us-visa .

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Panama

Why not extend your time in Panama City to explore the cultural and natural highlights. The infamous Panama canals are accessible from the city, as well as the Emberá Quera indigenous community at the mouth of the Gatún River. There is also the option to go wildlife viewing in the rainforest of the nearby national parks or simply explore the city, where you can meet ex-gang members who can tell you their stories of the streets. Allow 3-4 days. 

Morgan's Rock

Morgan’s Rock: Extend your time in Nicaragua and travel to Morgan’s Rock on the Pacific Coast. Stay in an ecolodge located on a stunning private beach with more than 4,000 acres of private nature reserve. Multiple sport activities are included such as paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking. Allow 5-6 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Nicaragua is blessed with a tropical climate and can be visited all year round. However, the peak season tends to be from December to April, due to the dry season running from November to May, where temperatures range from 23C to 34C. Although the rainy season is between May and October, temperatures are still pleasant and range from 20C to 30C. With fewer visitor numbers during these months, it can still be a fantastic time to experience the country. September and October are usually avoided by visitors due to the tropical storm season on the Atlantic coast.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a moderate state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however, please note there will be a few hikes (2-4hrs) on the tour through tropical forest or up volcanoes. Additionally, we will spend three nights in more basic en suite wooden cabins, with un-heated showers for one of those nights. Please note also that it will be necessary to wade a short distance in shallow waters out to where our boat is moored on DAY 7 as there is no official dock.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.
On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard/Elite policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking. 

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 10806 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION