36 hours in Nicaragua

A tour around the volcanic paradise

36 hours in Nicaragua

For many years, Nicaragua was off the touristic trail because of its turbulent political climate. Today, with the political upheaval in the past, Nicaragua is attracting backpackers, families and older travellers to experience its fascinating culture and natural beauty. In this guide, you will discover the top things to check out during a weekend getaway in the country.

Masaya craft market (Managua)

To get a good look at Nicaraguan handicrafts you should visit the Managua market, where you will see woven hammocks in an array of bright colours, carvings, jewellery ceramics and other traditional items made by local artisans. Also try the food and drinks sold at the market to experience authentic Nicaraguan cuisine.


Nicaragua is home to a plethora of active and extinct volcanoes, and a visit to Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya, where you can swim in a volcanic lake, is an absolute must. Located just outside Managua, this volcanic area has twelve miles of hiking trails winding between former lava fields and a huge sulfur-spewing crater.

Volcano boarding

Fancy sliding down the side of an active volcano on a snowboard? Who doesn’t? At the Cerro Negro volcano you can do just that! An abundance of volcanic gravel covering the sides of the volcano has made boarding extremely popular. Depending on your level of expertise, you whoosh down the slopes on your bottom or you can do it action hero style standing up.

Plaza de la Revolución

Plaza de la Revolucion is located in the historical centre of Managua on the shore of Lake Xolotlan . The architecture dates back to colonial times and adjacent to the square are some of Managua’s most important buildings including the Catedral de Santiago, Rubén Dario National Theater, the National Palace of Culture and Parque Central.

Catedral de Santiago

Known as ‘the old cathedral’, Catedral de Santiago was built in the 1920s but was heavily damaged in the earthquake of 1972 and abandoned. A great example of neoclassical architecture, its abandoned state also gives it a wonderfully spooky atmosphere.

Rubén Dario National Theater

Named after the famed Nicaraguan poet, the theatre is one of the most famous in Central America. It was one of the few buildings that survived the 1972 earthquake. The theatre hosts a whole range of activities such as concerts, exhibitions, and cultural performances.

Parque Central

In Parque Central you can find many historical monuments dedicated to national heroes and poets.


With beaches stretching along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, there is no shortage of places to lay in the sun and go for a swim. Nicaragua’s beaches are also home to some great waves, making it a popular destination for surfers.

Beaches along the Pacific Ocean are generally more developed for tourism and the surfers tend to stick to this coast. The closest beach to Managua is Pochomil Beach, where you can find bars, restaurants and activities such as horse riding. If you want to enjoy a more quiet beach you should go to the untouched Caribbean coast, which gives you a chance to appreciate the wonderful Nicaraguan landscape without distractions.

Further reading

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