The Pacific coast of Nicaragua offers budget travelers a host of sights, activities, and inexpensive accommodations.
From volcanoes, to colonial towns, to some of the best surf in Central America, there is never a lack of something to see or do in Nicaragua. Notorious on the gringo backpacking trail for years now due to low prices and high chance for adventure (and partying), Nicaragua is slowly gaining popularity with all types of travelers. And with good reason, as we feel this country is almost criminally under-rated.
Below is our list of Top attractions and activities in Pacific Nicaragua, in no particular order. Don’t miss out!
Things to do in Nicaragua
Volcano Boarding in Leon
Volcano boarding has become an extremely popular thing to do in Nicaragua, and with good reason. While it might sound like a bit of a cheesy cheap thrill, it’s actually loads of fun!
Big Foot Hostel in Leon can hook you up with an unforgettable day of sand boarding on Vulcan Cerro Negro (Black Hill Volcano). Signing up costs $31 bucks plus a $5 entrance fee to the park, and includes all transportation and two mojitos upon safe return to the hostel. A fantastic and highly memorable way to spend 5 hours in Leon.
Not to be missed!
Things to do in Nicaragua – Visit Ometepe Island
This island on Lake Cocibolca is home to two volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas. Of the two, Concepion is a bit more active, but both volcanoes are hikeabe. Neither of these hikes are super easy so bring your A game, your hiking shoes, and proper supplies. You can use Ometepe Expeditions or Omepete Tours to book your excursion.
Ometepe Island also offers many budget, eco-friendly accommodations, and is a great place to relax and regroup if you partied hard in Leon, Granada, or San Juan. Make sure to visit an organic farm or coffee plantation to see how the locals make their living off of the fertile soils of Ometepe.
Casa De Olas and Fishing in San Juan del Sur
Visiting a hostel as one of the things to do in Nicaragua?
It seems add, we know. However, it is our opinion that Casa de Olas is one of the greatest hostels in the world. From the Feng Shui placing of the infinity pool and the horse shoe bar, to the spectacular views afforded from its station in the hills above San Juan del Sur, to the family atmosphere its owners try to convey, no other hostel in Nicaragua provides you with the same feeling of peace, relaxation, and community.
We stayed hre twice in the last 4 years, and found ourselves getting stuck. We delayed moving on for days and days, just to hang out with all the great people we met during our time at Casa.
As an added bonus, the hostel arranges unforgettable fishing trips for those who like to catch their food in the ocean. Reel in some tuna? The owners, Fred and Carla, will let you use their immaculate BBQ grill so that you can eat your fill of the morning’s catch. Just remember to share with all your new friends!
Surf or Kick up Sand at Maderas Beach
Playa Maderas is a long time favorite for surfers visiting Nica, and it can make for a great day out on the water for any visitor.
Located just 10 km north of San Juan del Sur, this slice of sandy heaven is known for having some of the most consistent surf breaks on the Pacific coast.
If you don’t surf enjoy the views with a plate of yummy fish tacos, kick back with a local Tona cerveza, and relax at one of Nicaragua’s best beaches. Either way we reckon hitting this beach should be near the top of your list of things to do in Nicaragua.
Just leave all your valuables at home as there has been a recent rash of petty theft at this popular hangout.
Want to book accommodations in Nicaragua? We recommend using the following sites:
Disclaimer – We have included a few handy little affiliate links in case any of our readers want to book accommodations. We receive a small commission for any sales made, without any additional cost to you, our dear reader.