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Nicaragua has an enticing draw to it, pulling people of all the sorts to come for vacation. From the surfers looking for the best shore break to those wanting to dive into the colors of the colonial towns, each place in Nicaragua has a special atmosphere to it.

Loving each place for it’s own reason, there is much to choose from when heading to Nicaragua. Here are some of the main places to see in Nicaragua and what to love about them:

1. San Juan del Sur

What it’s about: People head here for a few reasons, typically to catch some of the best waves around. The beaches are booming with local surfers and those who flew around the world to get a taste of the Pacific Ocean. Being in San Juan del Sur also affords you the ability to go into town at night or during the day to dine and shop around. The small town has many shops and good food with local artists doing what they do best. 

What to try: Take a surf lesson + dive into tacos

Fun fact: San Juan del Sur has a sister city in Newton, Massachusetts.

2. Granada

What it’s about: This colonial time is booming with more colors then the rainbow, quite literally. With most of the action happening around the town square, this vibrant old-world town is filled with life. Many come here to experience the culture that defines the modern-day Nicaragua, like taking to the streets for dancing, tasty food carts, and leather shops.  

What to try: Take a cigar-rolling class + hunt for leather goods

Fun fact: The city was founded in 1524 and was arguably one of the first European-like cities on mainland America. 

3. Tola

What it’s about: I would like to think of this place as the great escape. Sure most people go to surf, but many go to just sit in the jungle hilltops and take in the views. The place to decompress, and just be. 

What to try: Yoga class + fresh ceviche 

Fun fact: During the rainy season, the jungle is a lush green and during the dry season, it goes to a forest-brown color. 


Love all these places? So do I! Want to experience them? Consider an El Camino Trip where they take you through these places on a curated trip with all the experiences and accommodations included. Discover El Camino at:

Read more on my personal El Camino expereince here

+All photos from the El Camino photographer on the Nicaragua trip

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

I use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

I use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

I use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Rental Car

Self-driving is the best way to explore most destinations. I use Discover Cars for our rental cars, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

I use Priority Pass to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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