This 8-day tour takes us through the departments of León, Masaya and Granada – unique in Nicaragua for their artisans, European architecture, and preservation of precolonial Nicaraguan culture. A mix of city life and country living, with us, you will get a genuine glimpse of how life is lived in the land of lakes and volcanoes.
Our journey begins in the capital city. We’ll set off through Managua’s busy streets. For first time visitors and history buffs alike, this city tour will tell the story of civil war, natural disaster, and survival. We’ll visit plazas, statues, and monuments.
Viva León Jodido!
The city of León is a living reminder of the revolution. Vivid murals appear around every corner depicting sentiments and heroes. During our walk about town you will have a chance to talk to some of the men who were in the middle of the action and hear their personal stories. From the top of an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the León Cathedral, you will be able to see Volcano San Cristóbal (the highest in Nicaragua) down to Volcano Momotombo, the clean and tidy local market will impress as will the sophisticated art museums, showcasing a noteworthy collection of national and international art.
A short drive west from the ctiy lies the Pacific Ocean. Juan Venado Island separates the salt water from the mangroves. It will be a leisurely boat ride from the local fishing village to the thinnest strip of land where we will cross on foot to where the mighty waves roll in. Our captain will share with you how the local community is doing their part to protect this important ecosystem.
Flor de Caña, Nicaragua's national rum, continues to gain international recognition (even in Minneapolis, Minnesota!). We'll visit the heart of the operation in Chichigalpa and taste 18-year perfection.
Nicaragua is the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. Active volcanoes. None as active and young as Cerro Negro. A hike up in the late afternoon will offer a spectacular view of the sun setting over the volcanic chain and an easy "run" back down.
Masaya, The Cradle of Folklore
We head south to pineapple country. The undulating countryside is prolific. We’ll take you to visit with a local farmer making his living off this sweet fruit. See how life is lived in el campo (the countryside), its challenges and rewards.
Volcán Masaya National Park was established in 1979 as Nicaragua’s first national park. We’ll spend time exploring the park’s several craters, peering into one of the country’s most visibly active volcanoes.
The steep climb to Coyotepe, built as a fortress in 1893 to protect Masaya, later used as a prison, now a national landmark, offers a view that gives us some idea of just how much water and how many volcanoes make up this, the largest country in Central America.
We’ll pass through Los Pueblos Blancos on our way to Catarina, where local handicraft makers are famous for their woven fiber ad precious hardwood furniture, hand-turned ceramics, and sweets. In San Juan de Oriente, artists offer pottery-making demonstrations and sell their work alongside the narrow brick streets. In the hillside pueblo of Catarina is the Mirador, a vantage point that allows you to look out over Laguna de Apoyo, Granada, Lake Nicaragua, and the Island of Ometepe in the distance.
Granada, Colonial Jewel
We’ll give you time to explore the relaxed colonial city of Granada at your own pace. Granada is both the oldest city on the continent and the most developed tourist destination. Nowhere else in the country will you find such an array of excellent restaurants offering both local and international fare. We’ll show you the highlights, walk the colorful streets, tour the market, churches and museums.
Nearby, along the shores of Lake Nicaragua, a boat is waiting to guide us through the many water corridors around Las Isletas, an exotic tropical archipelago of 365 tiny islands of volcanic origin. A great way to get up close to myriad water birds that inhabit the shoreline and the curious spider monkeys that swing from the treetops. We will also debark to visit local families who make their living fishing the sweet waters.
Volcán Mombacho rises nearly 4,400 feet above sea level, its summit hidden in a dense cloud forest. We’ll hike around one of its forest-lined craters through an amazing ecosystem, home to colorful orchids and bromeliads, curious wildlife, fascinating insects, and over 160 species of birds. We'll follow the light of our headlamps into the evening in search of red eye tree frogs, owls, and the Bolitoglossa Mombachoensis salamander endemic to Mombacho. You'll also get a first-hand look at a shade-grown coffee farm and processing plant.
Rounding out your visit, you will spend the afternoon swimming in the thermal, crystalline crater lake waters of Laguna de Apoyo or opt to sail across it on a private catamaran. However you choose to use your time, it will be well spent!
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