This colonial beauty with a past was recently named the #4 destination for Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2015” list. A more affordable, equally attractive eco-tourism destination than Costa Rica, Nicaragua is climbing the lists for its superb landscapes, natural features including volcanoes and cave systems, and an abundance of history from Mayan ruins to civil war landmarks. While it may be one of Central America’s poorest countries, it’s also one of the most beautiful, making it an undiscovered gem perfect for any group vacation south of the border.
You’ve probably heard about the miraculous beauty of Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park but you might not have heard about Nicaragua’s spectacularly stunning Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya. Exploring Spaniards once thought that it was the gate to hell as the crater continuously emits eerie clouds of sulfurous smoke from the craggy earth’s crust. As the most heavily venting volcano in the entire country, Masaya is a sight to experience and it’s easy to do so. Drive up to the very tip of the volcano’s cone and look down into the pit, located inside of a larger volcano known as El Ventarron.
For the beach goers in your group, there’s no better place in Nicaragua, and perhaps the whole Caribbean, than the Pearl Keys. Located off the shores of Pearl Lagoon town, the Pearl Keys are a small secluded island chain with confectioner’s white sand beaches, picture-perfect palm trees, and unimpeded vistas of the turquoise sea. The larger islands are home to lagoons of intense beauty although you can find sensational sites at any of the islands, just under the waves and relaxing on the soft shores. Dive to meet underwater creatures like dolphins, sea turtles, schools of tropical fish, and various species of rays among other colorful, exotic animals.
Nicaragua is also home to incredible cultural attractions including historic landmarks, religious institutions, and more. The San Francisco Church and Convent is the oldest in Central America and its beautifully preserved robin’s egg blue facade, spectacular statues, relics, and historic museum exhibits make it one of the top picks for Nicaraguan tours. The Granada Cathedral, likewise, is one of the most beautiful in Central America with its grand saffron colored colonial architecture rising above the city as a symbol of its pride, religious fervor, and history.
From cultural attractions in the city to natural beauty, both volatile and serene, Nicaragua is a sublime destination for any travel group. Proximity to Mayan ruins, the Caribbean Sea, tropical rainforests filled with animals you only see in zoos, and much more, Nicaragua is a frontrunner for travelers from around the globe.