Sustainable Adventure Guide to Nicaragua

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Advisor - Mica Sangiacomo
Curated By

Mica Sangiacomo

  • All-Inclusive Travel

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Adventure Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Wellness Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • Hiking

  • Island

still lake surrounded by lush trees with mountains in the background
Curator’s statement

Nicaragua is an incredible destination for all types of travelers from solo adventures, honeymooners, friend groups, and families. Known for its diverse terrain, endless waves, volcanoes and colonial architecture. Spend a few days on Lake Nicaragua immersed in the sounds of the jungle and end your trip by the ocean riding horses into the sunset.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

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Day 1: Arrive in Granada

two wooden lounge chairs on a dock on calm water

Arrive in Granada and transfer to Lake Nicaragua to your first hotel of the trip, Jicaro Island Resort. Your driver will pick you up with refreshments and give you an overview of your next few days. You'll get dropped off to the boat shuttle at Lake Nicaragua and be on your way to the island retreat. Soak in the fresh air and scenes from the boat.

Once you arrive to Jicaro Island, unpack and get settled into your casita. Put your feet up on your private hammock and listen to the sounds of the jungle. Go for a swim in the pool or the lake, or take the kayaks for a spin for sunset.

Eat dinner at the hotels restaurant and get a good nights rest for the rest of the week ahead.

After dinner, be sure to put in your coffee orders. The staff will drop off fresh coffee and pastries to your balcony at the time of your choosing.

Day 2: City tour of Granada

view from a carriage pulled by a white and brown horse down a tree lined street

Enjoy your fresh coffee, tea, juice or whatever your morning treat might be, and relax on your deck until breakfast. Eat breakfast at the hotel restaurant.

You'll then be transferred by boat to start a tour of the colorful city of Granada. Take a horse carriage ride through the city and learn about the history of the city. Don't worry, they treat the horses well! You'll stop every 10-15 minutes to give the horses a rest, giving you a chance to learn about different parts of the city.

A few notable stops throughout the day include, a beautiful cemetery with marble tomb stones from Italy, climbing the bell tower, visiting a local market, and stopping by Tio Antonio, a hammock shop that gives back to the community and provides visually and hearing impaired locals employment opportunities.

For lunch, your guide will take you to a cafe on the hilltop with views of the city and Mombacho, the active volcano near the city.

Make a pit stop at a pottery studio and learn about the history of clay in Granada. You'll get the chance to make your own bowls and buy authentic pottery. Bring cash!

To end the excursion, hike up Mombacho and peak over the ledge to see the lava boiling. You'll be able to see it at dusk. Real life Mordor!

You'll likely get back to the resort just in time for dinner. Eat a delicious home made meal and get some rest.

Day 3: Rancho Santana

pink and purple sunset on the ocean of a small empty beach

Soak up the quiet morning on your balcony and eat breakfast at your leisure. Spend the morning at the resort. Go for a swim or kayak!

Leave for your next adventure at Rancho Santana around 1pm. The drive is about 2 hours.

Rancho Santa is a resort and residential community located on 2,700 acres on land. The property is home to 5 beaches, all with different wave breaks for all levels of surfing. You’ll find endless adventures from horseback riding, yoga, sand boarding, cooking classes, world class mountain biking, hiking, tennis, pickleball, cooking classes - to name a few!

There are multiple accommodation types suitable for all travelers from hotel rooms, casitas, residences, and villas.

Upon arrival, get settled and walk around the property. Grab a drink at the pool bar and watch the sunset.

For dinner, eat at La Finca y El Mar. Order the ceviche, papaya salad and spicy shrimp. Every restaurant on the property is farm-to-table and prepared fresh daily.

Day 4: Surf's up

surfer runs down a rocky beach shore towards the water with rock island formations in the distance

There is no shortage of activities on the ranch. Have breakfast at their cafe and go to a morning yoga class in their open aired yoga studio overlooking the ocean.

Spend the afternoon at one of the five beaches with a private surf instructor, learning to ride some of the best waves in the world. The instructors all speak English and will be sure to get you up if you're a beginner!

After a few hours in the water, eat lunch at La Taqueria. Order the homemade guacamole and taco tasting platter. Delicious.

Keep the afternoon open to relaxing by the pool, walking on the beach or playing tennis or pickleball on the courts.

End the day at La Boquita, a restaurant on the property. The menu is tapas inspired. Order anything from salads picked fresh that day, pizza, sushi and paella.

After dinner, enjoy a private bonfire on the beach with s'mores.

Day 5: Farm tour

coast of a lush green island on a sunny day

Spend the morning on a farm tour, where you'll visit the farm and gardens on the property. Learn about how they raise and care for animals and grow fresh fruits and veggies for guests to enjoy. Take a garden cooking class and make an authentic dish with ingredients you picked yourself!

Eat lunch at La Finca y Mar and take the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 6: Horseback riding adventure

view from horseback on a beach

Enjoy the morning by taking a yoga or workout class they offer, or go for a hike or mountain bike ride on one of the many trails on the property. There are mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes for rent.

Spend the day at the pool or check out the spa and pamper yourself with a cold and hot plunge and full body massage.

Just before sunset, head down to the equestrian center and for a horseback riding sunset adventure. You'll walk through the woods which leads to the beach and trot along the waves crashing while watching the sunset.

For dinner, eat on the property or go to a recommended restaurants nearby.

During the rest of your stay, take advantage of all of the natural beauty and activities the ranch has to offer. Explore the beaches, go sand boarding into the ocean, and get to know the locals.

Ask about a tour of Conectando Corazones, a neighboring school community. The tour gives guests a chance to learn about the local community and give back to what has helped make Rancho Santana what it is today. On the tour you'll visit a school that caters to special needs children, a community hospital that runs on a donation basis, and a school that is home to 300 elementary students, 100 secondary students and a few students that move on to college with scholarships. After graduation, some of the kids come back to teach. Our guide said to us, “the kids are so happy every day when they run into school. This is their home.”

Need to Know

Looking for more adventurous travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 3 Days like a Local in Lake Tahoe.

Advisor - Mica Sangiacomo

Travel Advisor

Mica Sangiacomo

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