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What to Do with a Week in Nicaragua

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The western part of Nicaragua is a great place to experience the country’s beaches, volcanoes, and cultural samplings – but you may not know what to do with your time if you only have a week. Use Granada, on the western shore of Lake Nicaragua, as a base for exploring the nearby volcanos. If you get the chance, take a boat out among the hundreds of islands that pepper the lake. To the southwest, enjoy the beaches, the heat, and the quietude in San Juan del Sur.
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Calle Cervantes, Granada, Nicaragua
Nicaragua doesn't have the pre-Hispanic historical sites that Guatemala or Mexico do, but the museum in the old Convento de San Francisco in Granada holds a collection of ancient stone carvings worth checking out. The figures are from the island...
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Charco Verde, Nicaragua
We spent a day on the island of Omatepe, in Lake Nicaragua. We stopped at the Charco Verde lodge for lunch, and afterward did a short hike around the adjacent nature reserve. We circled a small lagoon, where we saw egrets and howler monkeys in the...
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San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua
I have to admit I was a little worried about making a stop at a ceramics studio. I've made these stops before, where you're supposed to see the traditional processes and all that, but it's really a slick showroom for a factory and they spend the...
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Mombacho, Nicaragua
After many hot days in Nicaragua, it was a relief to get up into the cloud forest on the Mombacho volcano. We did a short hike that took us past lots of cool plants and fumeroles where you could feel the steam coming out of the mountain. We even...
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Nicaragua is proud of its volcanoes. We visited this one on a half-day trip from Granada. It's not every day you can look down into a steaming volcanic crater. And you don't even have to hike. You just drive right up to the edge. If you go at...
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Calle La Calzada. De la Catedral 1 1/2 cuadra al Lago., Granada, Nicaragua
It felt nice to walk into the Hotel Dario. The trees and fountain in the courtyard make you immediately forget the heat of the street outside. The tile work and staircase showed a craftsperson's touch. The rooms were simple, but clean and...
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Granada, Nicaragua
Taking a boat out among the 365 islands near Granada was my favorite thing we did in Nicaragua. We went with Tierra Tours (we arranged it the night before, but we probably could have set it up that morning), and Carlos, our guide, was terrific. We...
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Calle El Calvano, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Colibri From our experience, Nicaraguan cuisine is not the most exciting in the world. It’s not bad, by any means, but once we’d had our fill of rice and beans, and gotten some fresh fish and shrimp down at the touristy restaurants along the beach...
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Playa Maderas Maderas, Nicaragua
In a few years, there will probably be a guidebook to the various beaches along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua near San Juan del Sur. They each have different characteristics—some big, some small, some better for surfing, etc. We didn’t have time...
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Calle Sotavento, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
When it’s hot in San Juan del Sur—which, from our experience, was always—the place we wanted to be was the pool at the Pelican Eyes resort. The hotel is set up on the hill overlooking the town, so you swim with a commanding view of the bay and the...