"THIS TIME AROUND, I ENCOUNTER THINGS I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE: ECO-TOURISM OUTPOSTS ON NICARAGUA'S STUNNING PACIFIC COAST, AND PRISTINE CLOUD FORESTS THAT, 25 YEARS AGO, WERE OCCUPIED BY ARMED GUERILLAS"
MARY TALBOT, NEW YORK TIMES
Waves and beaches to die for, thriving adventure tourism, colourful sun-drenched colonial cities and an island which is home to not one, but two volcanoes.
The Nicaraguan secret is out. After several decades of civil war, political strife and disastrous American interventions, this country is slowly repairing itself. In comparison to neighbouring Costa Rica, it's cheaper and much more 'off-the-beaten track', making it ideal for a backpacking trip of at least a month.
Change is likely to come quickly - Chinese investment is soaring and plans are underway for the construction of a canal to rival Panama's - however, for the moment, Nicaragua can still provide a quintessentially Central American experience for every traveller.
So, you're thinking of going to nicaragua?
Heading to Nicaragua for some great surf and beautiful beaches? You'll be spoilt for choice! Whilst every backpacker will hit up the infamous San Juan del Sur, we recommend heading a little off the beaten track to discover Playa Gigante - you'll struggle to leave! But for those looking for a real taste of affordable Caribbean paradise and with a little adventure along the way, put Little Corn firmly on your itinerary.
Nicaragua's capital, Managua, is a major transit hub and you'll be hard pressed to avoid it but thankfully there are two great places just down the road. Granada, the country's colonial gem and Laguna de Apoyo, a thermal crater lake that just screams to be jumped into.
Like a little more grit in your city? Don't forget Leon - the true home of the revolution and THE place to learn a little more about Nicaragua's colourful history. And, whilst you're there, you simply have to tick off #2 on CNN's thrill seekers bucket list and tobogan down an active volcano!
And talking about volcanoes, don't forget to hop over to Ometepe, a stunningly beautiful island in the middle of Lago de Nicaragua home to a couple of volcanoes - hire a motor bike and explore the dirt roads alone or join a tour to hike to the highest peak.
We've written a lot about Nicaragua (we were there for two and a half months!) but here are a few of our most popular posts to help you plan your next adventure!
But if you're looking for somewhere in particular, check here - we've probably written about it!
"OUT OF THE MIDST OF THE BEAUTIFUL LAKE NICARAGUA SPRING TWO MAGNIFICENT PYRAMIDS, CLAD IN THE SOFTEST AND RICHEST GREEN, ALL FLECKED WITH SHADOW AND SUNSHINE, WHOSE SUMMITS PIERCE THE BILLOWY CLOUDS."
our hidden gem
Every country has them; those secret little towns, beaches or hidden cafés that no-one seems to have found yet - or at least written much about.
For us, it was this place. So, go ahead and take a look, but just try and keep it between us, at least for a little while....