Begeleid: Highlights of Nicaragua

 

Day 1: Arrival Managua

Arrival at Managua International Airport and shuttle bus to your hotel.

Accommodation: : Hotel Camino Real**** or similar, Managua / Hotel Intercontinental Metrocentro***** or similar,

Managua Meals: none

Day 2: Managua City Tour – León Viejo – Juan Venado Reserve – Las Peñitas – León

After breakfast we will drive to “Loma de Tiscapa”, a small volcanic hill where Somoza’s presidential house was strategically situated. Today Sandino’s black metal silhouette rules over the hill and you can enjoy excellent views on old and new Managua from here. Afterwards we will drive along Lake Managua towards the ruins of “León Viejo”, first capital of Nicaragua which succumbed to the violent eruption of Momotombo volcano and a destructive earthquake. Here you will have the chance to learn about interesting colonial time episodes of this UNESCO site and understand why the first Spanish conquistadors settled Leon Viejo in this ferocious land. Then we will drive to the Pacific coast and will embark for a boat tour into the Reserve of Juan Venado, famous for its mangroves and wildlife. At Las Peñitas, on the way back to the cultural town Leon, we will admire a beautiful sunset (if weather permits).

Accommodation: Hotel Austria **(*) or similar, León / Hotel El Convento**** or similar, León Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: León City Tour – Cerro Negro Volcano (optional) –

León This morning, we will begin with the visit the old looking Cathedral “La Asuncion”, considered the largest in Central America and sheltering the remains of Nicaragua’s greatest poet “Ruben Dario”. We will also ascend to the roof of the temple to enjoy spectacular views of the city. Then we will visit the archive-museum house of Ruben Dario as well as the art museum of Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation which contains an impressive collection of European and Latin American art. As we walk through the city we still can see some of the old revolutionaries murals painted during the civil war. In the afternoon, we have the opportunity to travel 25 kilometers east from Leon driving past unique rural sceneries areas where traditional crops as cassava, sugar cane, peanuts, corn, and others are grown. Then we will reach to the base of “Cerro Negro”, regarded as the youngest volcano in Central America, formed in 1850. ORO Travel Discovering Nicaragua 103 Circuits This fascinating hiking trail will take us to the summit of this “black hill” and enjoy impressive view over the “Maribios volcanic chain”, nicely constituted by the active cones of San Cristobal and Telica. After descending on the sandy slopes of the volcano we drive back to León. Note: The excursion to Cerro Negro Volcano can be booked while in León. It takes one-hour hiking to get to the top of the volcano. A medium to good physical condition is required for this hike. The price is US$ 45.00 per person and should be paid to the guide. Minimum 2 people.

Accommodation: Hotel Austria **(*) or similar, León / Hotel El Convento**** or similar, León Meals: Breakfast.

Day 4: León – San Jacinto Hot Springs – Estelí: cigar factory – Selva Negra

After breakfast we will drive to San Jacinto Hot Springs, a unique phenomenon of this volcanic region where internal vents eject hot gasses, water and mud. Afterwards we will drive from the volcanic fertile soils of the Nicaraguan pacific basin to the north central region of Estelí, known for its top quality cigars. As we drive we will have the chance to pass by tobacco fields and then visit one of the many cigar factories in this area. Here we will learn about the painstaking process of selecting the best tobacco leaves, drying, rolling and packing. Then we will drive back to the highlands of Matagalpa, also known as the coffee hub. After taking our rooms at Selva Negra Lodge, you can enjoy the surrounding nature to the fullest.

Accommodation : Selva Negra Lodge**, near Matagalpa – Standard Room /

Bungalow Meals : Breakfast

Day 5: Selva Negra Nature Tour – Chocolate factory – Masaya Volcano National Park – Markt von Masaya – Catarina – Granada

Early in the morning we will start with a walking through the tropical forest of Selva Negra to learn more about the lush vegetation and biodiversity, and with a little luck you will be able to observe the rich bird life. After this tour, we will drive to Matagalpa and visit a small chocolate factory producing 100% Nicaraguan chocolate. Here you will learn about the history of the cocoa bean, varieties, roasting and grinding and mixing. Then we will drive from the highlands on the Pan-American Highway descending on the pacific lowlands to reach our next destination, Masaya’s Volcano National Park. This is a great opportunity to discover one of the most impressive active volcanoes in the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Here you will have the chance to observe the volcanic emanations of crater Santiago, outstanding landscapes of the area, as well as an informative museum about seismology in Central America. After this, we will go to the small town of Masaya, where we will visit the famous market. There we have the opportunity to see Nicaraguan handicrafts and acquire them at affordable prices. Before we head to the charming colonial city of Granada, we will visit the traditional village of Catarina, specialized in plant breeding. From this village we have a magnificent view of the Laguna Apoyo and the surroundings. Then, we will head to Granada, where we will spend the next two nights.

Accommodation : Hotel Patio del Malinche*** or similar, Granada / Hotel Plaza Colón**** or similar,

Granada Meals : Breakfast & Lunch

Day 6: Granada City Tour – Islets Tour – Granada

The oldest city in the western hemisphere of the Americas, Granada was founded in 1524 by the conquistador Hernández de Cordoba. Once the business and shipping capital for the entire region, today Granada proudly remains as one of the last and truly colonial cities: an undiscovered jewel. On this excursion, we will visit the Casa de los Leones, San Francisco Convent and its Museum, with its vast exposition of pre-Columbian statutes and pottery, the colorful market, the charming cobblestone streets, and numerous architecturally significant churches and monuments. In the afternoon, we'll embark on a boat tour of Granada's famous Isletas, an archipelago of inhabited islands formed by an ancient volcanic explosion, just off the shore of Lake Nicaragua. The rest of the afternoon is free at your disposal to explore the city on your own. ORO Travel Discovering Nicaragua 104 Circuits At night, we will enjoy a traditional dinner in the courtyard (patio) of a famous restaurant of the city, musically framed with a serenade with Nicaraguan folk songs.

Accommodation : Hotel Patio del Malinche*** or similar, Granada / Hotel Plaza Colón**** or similar,

Granada Meals : Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7: Granada – San Jorge – Moyogalpa – Ometepe Island

After breakfast we will drive south on the Pan-American highway, passing by several sugarcane and rice fields, as well as banana plantations, papaya, water melon and passion fruit. Then we will reach the small town of San Jorge where we take the ferry to navigate on great Lake Nicaragua to the volcanic island of Ometepe. Departing from Moyogalpa, one of the two main towns of the Island, we drive around the active volcano of Concepcion to visit “Charco Verde”, known for its dark green lake, lush surrounding vegetation, birdlife and howler monkeys. Then we will visit the water spring "Ojo de Agua", where you can take a refreshing dip in its clear waters. The rest of the afternoon is at your disposal in your hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel Villa Paraiso**(*) or similar, Ometepe – Standard Room / Lake View Cabin Meals: Breakfast.

Day 8: Ometepe Island – Moyogalpa – San Jorge – Managua

This morning we leave the hotel and drive back to Moyogalpa to take the ferry to San Jorge. Then we will head to the international airport in Managua.

Meals: Breakfast