By Joy Martin /


Nicaragua: Seven Scenes From Your Next Trip-of-a-Lifetime

If you’re seeking an easy escape that’s both close and epic enough to send you home with unforgettable memories, then look no further than Nicaragua, the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.” Rainforest-clad calderas and white-sand beaches meet with the sound of surf and cacophony of birdsong to create the perfect setting and soundtrack for this sun-soaked adventure abroad. A sight for sore eyes awaits!

Scene One: Streets of Granada

The oldest city in the Western Hemisphere happens to also be one of the last intact Spanish-Colonial destinations. Take advantage of Nicaragua’s warm, tropical climate and explore the sunny, cobblestone streets of Granada. Bask in the simple opulence of 16th-century churches and bring your camera to capture the charming, colorful blend of Latin American and European cultures expressed through a cool mix of architecture, art, music and cuisine.

Scene Two: Jungle Canopy from Above

No matter what time of year you visit Nicaragua, the rainforests will always be lush and dripping with fresh dew, light showers and the greenest green you’ve ever seen. Though Nicaragua is not even as big as New York, it features one of Mesoamerica’s greatest biodiversity hotspots replete with stellar wildlife, bodacious botany and surprises around every leafy corner. Get a birds-eye view of this paradise as you zip-line above one of the wildest jungle canopies in the world.12216114426_a3184c1d67_o

Scene Three: Masaya Volcano National Park

Featuring a 54-square-kilometer caldera, Masaya has seen only two lava flows since the 16th-century but is riddled with the remnants of this fascinating force of nature. Spend a day trekking along other-worldly trails keeping a sharp eye out for monkeys, iguanas, coyotes and Green Parakeets before reaching the remarkable crater of “La Boca de Infierno.” An adventure like no other, Masaya offers an unusual escape and heart-thumping hike that gets you up-close-and-personal with Nicaragua’s greatest shapeshifter.

Scene Four: Ometepe Island

Nestled in the heart of Central America’s largest freshwater lake, Isla Ometepe is a true “Oasis of Peace.” Kayak in Lake Nicaragua beside a backdrop of cone-shaped volcanoes and clamber through cloud forests in search of petroglyphs before enjoying the welcoming locals of Ometepe’s pastoral villages. Designated in 2010 as an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Ometepe also boasts Ojo de Agua, a natural spring with crystal-clear waters, where a plunge provides your reset button on life.


Scene Five: Your Dinner Plate

Like most Latin American countries, rice and beans are a staple Nicaraguan dish, but you’ll most likely see this classic at breakfast. Known as gallo pinto, this simple but savory fare can be dressed up or down much to the delight of your taste buds. Lunch and dinner favorites feature pork, corn, cheese or coconut in the form of nacatamal, quesillo and vigorón, to name a few delicacies. And, after a day on the water, get excited to sample fresh-off-the-boat seafood in the form of camarones al ajillo or rondón. Buen provecho!

Scene Six: On the Waves, Under the Sea

It’s finally time to try that sport you’ve always wondered about! Nicaragua is a great place for beginners and experts alike to surf the Pacific. With resorts like the Mango Rosa in San Juan Del Sur, the ideal opportunity to test your balance and boldness awaits, and when you’re wiped from wiping out, grab a standup paddleboard for total redemption. Want a new perspective? Don your goggles and fins and spend some magical moments witnessing the breathtaking underworld beneath the waves. Surfs up!

Scene Seven: Cocktail Hour

Whether you’re watching the sun dip below the Pacific or savoring a spectacular splash of color over the Caribbean, that cold beer or fruity drink with an umbrella is going to taste like heaven after your action-packed days exploring Nicaragua’s endless offerings of high places and sea-level spaces. Raise a glass and try to suppress that smile – you earned this one! Salud!

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