Nicaragua is an unbelievably special place with its own magic. Life moves pretty slowly here. True, its colonial cities are full of charm. Its landscapes are spectacular. But its greatest asset are its people. We would like to encourage you to get to know the authentic Nicaragua, off the beaten path where people are hard-working, modest and warm.

The “popular” education that was born before and during the revolution has left its mark. Take the time to talk to people, practice your Spanish and mingle and you’ll soon feel at home here, especially at our beloved Tortuga.

Come with low expectations, slow down, soak up the human kindness, drink lots of rum, and we think you’ll love it too.

  • Night hikes and camping trips to the volcanoes.
  • Volcano boarding on nearby Cerro Negro.
  • The ruins of León Viejo.
  • The nearby beaches of Poneloya and Las Peñitas where you can surf, boogie board, horseback ride, take a boat tour of the Juan Venado Nature Reserve, relax, and eat fresh fish.


If warm weather is what you’re looking for, there’s not really a bad time to come. The rainy season (or winter, as Nicaraguans call it) is off and on from July to November but it will stay dry for entire days, especially along the Pacific coast. The hottest months here are February to May with peaks around 37 °C. If that’s too hot for you, you should envisage an escape to the ocean (30 minutes away) or to the Northern towns of Matagalpa or Estelí, both about 2 hours from León by bus.

From the moment rainy season ends in November, it gets hotter and drier, so a great time to come is from late November through February when it is not rainy or too hot, but still green and lush. Nicaragua is in the northern hemisphere, but they call their seasons opposite of ours because of the rain.

From the US: Airfare to Nicaragua from the U.S. is generally between $400 and $700 r/t, and can be as low as $350. Tickets from the east coast are always cheaper.

There are direct flights from Houston (Continental), Atlanta (Delta), Miami (AA), and Fort Lauderdale (Spirit). The only place to fly into is Managua (MGA).

When you book your tickets, keep in mind that if you get in late and leave early, you may have to spend your first and last nights in Managua – not great, but not the end of the world. Alternatively, we can send our driver to pick you up at the airport anytime you like.

From Europe: There are no direct flights from Europe; with the major airlines, you need to connect through Miami, Houston, Atlanta, Panama, San José or San Salvador.

Nicaragua’s official currency is the cordoba. However, US dollars are also widely accepted. Smaller bills are recommended.

You need to pay a US$10 visa fee at immigration (visa is valid for 90 days).

There is only one small baggage claim room. In an emergency, the pharmacy just after the exit has a phone that you can ask to use, and they will let you pay in US dollars. There are also ATMs in the central atrium of the airport where you can withdraw cordobas with your debit or credit card.

Leon and nearby beaches and volcanoes could easily be enough to fill a week-long trip. After that, the obvious stops on the small but growing tourist trail would be Granada (beautiful colonial city) and San Juan del Sur (beach town and epicenter of coastal tourism).

Other good stops are Laguna de Apoyo (super chill volcanic lake with great swimming), Ometepe Island (more rustic; in the middle of the giant lake; cool hikes), or, for the more adventurous with more time, the higher altitude coffee and cigar lands up North – interesting cities and a few farms/natural reserves well worth a visit!

If you’re looking to enjoy the even more relaxed vibe of the Caribbean coast, the easiest option is to fly there with La Costeña ( The trip to Bluefields can be done by land/river – for those who have the time and patience.

Nicaragua is one the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, but you wouldn’t know it unless you got off the beaten path. You can have a very rugged or a very luxurious trip – the choice is yours.

  • You can get by without much Spanish at all, but that doesn’t mean you should try to speak English or plan on it. In the very least, you should learn a few basic phrases, and start interactions by asking in Spanish if you can speak English.
  • You don’t need a visa from the US, Canada and most European contries. Check Cancilleria Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores for more info. You can stay up to 90 days.
  • You don’t need any special shots. Malaria pills are up to you. Most expats who live down there don’t take them.
  • Expats drink the water in Leon, Managua and Granada, but do not in other places. It may not be worth it if your trip is short. You can buy bottled water or bring drops.



The Hostel for the Tranquilo Traveler