For the adventure traveler who wants to explore and does not need a lot of infrastructure, Nicaragua is a dream local. Most sporting activities are not highly developed with tourists and this allows for a more authentic experience.
Nicaragua’s many rivers, lakes and two seas make it a fisherman’s paradise. Deep-sea fishing can be arranged in Corinto or San Juan del Sur in the Pacific and bone fishing is possible in the Caribbean at the Corn Islands. Lake Nicaragua is great for bass and perch fishing and the Island of Zapatera and its archipelago are home to Central America’s biggest annual fresh water tournament. In Pearl Lagoon on the Caribbean side as well as on the Río San Juan tarpon and snook fishing is very good. Several tour operators in Managua offer fishing, including Munditur Tours and Nicarao Lake Resort Tours.
Corn Island is first on most snorkeler’s lists for its fabulous coral reefs. Gear can be rented and boats hired out to find your private reef. Little Corn, the smaller of the two islands has amazing reefs that are teaming with life and very accessible. Big Corn also has some good reefs for masked exploring just off the Bayside Hotel’s peer. Pearl Keys of the coast of Pearl Lagoon also has some great spots to snorkel, bring your gear and a sense of adventure.
Trekking and Climbing
Nicaragua’s Pacific Region is great trekking country. It is possible to trek the Maribios volcano range in northwestern Nicaragua, starting at the extinct crater lake filled Cosiguina Volcano, which is the most westerly point of Nicaragua and walk on to Momotombo passing dozens of volcanoes including five active cones. Fences in Nicaragua are for animals; not people and the walker only need be friendly and somewhat proficient in Spanish. Local guides are useful and one should ask around each village to see who can take them forward and how far. Lodging during rural treks will be where you can hang your hammock, though organized treks can be arranged with Managua tour operators. Another great place for trekking is the Island of Ometepe with its breathtaking beauty, friendly populace and many dirt trails. Here it would be quite difficult to get lost with the two cones and lake as your guide. Climbing is possible on all of Nicaragua’s more than 50 volcanoes. Most climbs are non-technical, though entering into the craters will require gear. Despite the low maximum elevation of the Pacific Basin volcanoes, the climbs are not all easy. Most of the volcanoes’ bases are located just above sea level, so the ascent is more than it may seem at first. The steep grade of many of the cones, difficult footing with sharp rocks, sand and loose terrain, combined with serious heat, make some of the ascents a good physical challenge. Several Managua tour operators offer trekking or hiking including, Eco Volcano Tours and Tours Nicaragua.
Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast is home to some Central America’s best tube rides and point breaks. The real beauty is that they are empty just about any day of the week. Most surfing is along the coast of the southern department of Rivas, using San Juan del Sur as a jumping off point to reach breaks to the north and south. It is possible to rent a board in San Juan del Sur, but it would be wise to bring your boards and wax. Organized programs are available with guide and charter boat from Tours Nicaragua.
Nicaragua has great bird diversity and the sheer quantity of birds is often amazing. At recent count just under 700 species have been classified. Nicaragua has a great diversity of ecosystems and low population density. A good example is the Río San Juan area, home to the amazing Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve, a pristine area with primary rain forest and river habitats. The Los Guatuzos Wildlife Reserve has gallery and rain forest as well as ample wetlands. In the northern mountains around Jinotega, there are cloud forests that are home to many prize birding species and Laguna de Apoyo has a nice tropical dry forest with well-documented bird life. Tiny Chocoyero Reserve has almost one thousand nesting and very noisy species of Pacific green parakeets. Birding tours lead by an ornithologist can be organized with Tours Nicaragua in Managua.