23 days in Nicaragua Itinerary

23 days in Nicaragua Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Nicaragua Itinerary

Start: Cluj-Napoca
Fly + Drive:  26​h
1
Leon
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
Esteli
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
3
Matagalpa
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 45​min
4
Isla de Ometepe
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
5
San Juan del Sur
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Granada
— 6 nights
Fly:  25​h
End: Cluj-Napoca

4
nights
Leon

Leon ©
A cultured and storied city, Leon attracts guests from all over the world, drawn to the second city's style, thriving intellectual life, and liveliness.
Step out of Leon to go to Las Penitas and see Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve, which is approximately 54 minutes away. There's much more to do: get impressive views of Cerro Negro Volcano, take an in-depth tour of Museum of Legends and Traditions (Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas), see the interesting displays at Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian, and kick back and relax at Playa Las Penitas.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Leon vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

Cluj-Napoca, Romania to Leon is an approximately 26-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone changes from Eastern European Time (EET) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -8 hour difference. Traveling from Cluj-Napoca in December, expect Leon to be much hotter, temps between 38°C and 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Esteli.

Things to do in Leon

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Cerro Negro Volcano ©
Cerro Negro Volcano
Catedral de la Asunción ©
Catedral de la Asunción
Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian ©

2
nights
Esteli

Esteli ©
Sitting up in the north central highlands, Esteli enjoys a fairly mild climate throughout the year.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Thu): hike along El Jalacate and then stroll through Reserva Natural Miraflor. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the dramatic scenery at Esteli Waterfall, then take an in-depth tour of Museo de Historia y Arqueologia Alejandro Davila Bolanos, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at National Reserve Tisey Estanzuela.

For where to stay, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Esteli driving holiday planning site .

You can drive from Leon to Esteli in 2.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Traveling from Leon in December, expect Esteli to be a bit cooler, temps between 28°C and 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to catcht the bus to Matagalpa.

Things to do in Esteli

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Reserva Natural Miraflor ©
Reserva Natural Miraflor
El Jalacate ©
El Jalacate
Esteli Waterfall ©
Esteli Waterfall

2
nights
Matagalpa

Matagalpa ©
Nicaragua's second city, Matagalpa offers an authentic window into the country's cultural and natural heritage.
On the 28th (Sat), deepen your understanding at Escuela de Espanol Colibri, make a trip to Mirador El Calvario, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia San Rafael del Norte. On the 29th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at Artesanias Mujeres del Plomo and then take in the awesome beauty at Cerro Apante.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Matagalpa trip planner .

Take a bus from Esteli to Matagalpa in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In December in Matagalpa, expect temperatures between 28°C during the day and 21°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) early enough to take a bus to Isla de Ometepe.

Things to do in Matagalpa

Wildlife Parks Nature

Side Trips

Artesanias Mujeres del Plomo, Iglesia San Rafael del Norte
Highlights from your plan
Cerro Apante ©
Cerro Apante
Escuela de Espanol Colibri ©
Escuela de Espanol Colibri
Mirador El Calvario ©
Mirador El Calvario

3
nights
Isla de Ometepe

Isla de Ometepe
Isla de Ometepe may be small in size, but it boasts two large volcanoes that dominate its landscape and influence the local lifestyle.
Isla de Ometepe is known for nature, beaches, museums, outdoors, and adventure. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: ponder the design of Ojo de Agua, explore the activities along Laguna Charco Verde, contemplate the geological forces at Volcan Concepcion, and step off the mainland to explore Isla Ometepe.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Isla de Ometepe trip maker site .

Traveling by bus from Matagalpa to Isla de Ometepe takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) to allow time to drive to San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in Isla de Ometepe

Parks Nature Theme Parks
Highlights from your plan
Isla Ometepe
Isla Ometepe
Ojo de Agua ©
Ojo de Agua
Volcan Concepcion ©
Volcan Concepcion

3
nights
San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur ©
Set in a crescent-shaped bay, San Juan del Sur has become known as a popular surfing spot and coastal holiday destination for Nicaraguan families and international visitors alike.
San Juan del Sur is known for adventure, beaches, spas, wildlife, and outdoors. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: kick back and relax at San Juan del Sur Beach, head outdoors with Da' Flying Frog Extreme Adventure, examine the collection at ChocoMuseo San Juan del Sur, and get interesting insight from Tours.

For photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the San Juan del Sur sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Isla de Ometepe to San Juan del Sur in 2.5 hours. In January in San Juan del Sur, expect temperatures between 35°C during the day and 28°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can go by car to Granada.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Bordport
Highlights from your plan
San Juan del Sur Beach ©
San Juan del Sur Beach
Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia ©
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve ©
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve

6
nights
Granada

Granada ©
The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Venture out of the city with trips to Masaya Volcano (in Masaya), Apoyo (in La Laguna de Apoyo) and Managua (Santiago of Managua Cathedral, Puerto Salvador Allende, & more). There's much more to do: head off the coast to Islets of Granada, get impressive views of Mombacho, take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Catarina, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Granada attractions app .

Drive from San Juan del Sur to Granada in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 10th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Granada

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Managua, Masaya, Mirador de Catarina
Highlights from your plan
Islets of Granada ©
Islets of Granada
Mombacho ©
Mombacho
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced

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