Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, is known as the land of volcanoes and lakes and for good reason. Its spectacular scenery is characterised by magnificent peaks and vast lakes, along with rainforests and jungle which provide plentiful scenic opportunities for its visitors. At the same time, Nicaraguan cities offer some of the most beautiful and historical architecture and fascinating cultural sites in Central America.

Granada is Nicaragua’s first city, and a bustling metropolis offering much for the visitor. The city is the oldest in the New World, and having been built as showcase for Spanish architecture, still has some fantastic buildings and architecture on display. There is a great live music scene here, and many of the modern amenities to be expected of a big city. From nearby Volcán Concepción there are stunning panoramas of the city.

Nicaragua’s second city, León in the northwest, is the cultural heart of the country and boasts some fantastic churches and museums, including the largest cathedral in Central America. Visitors will find colonial and pre-colonial architectural delights here also. León has a thriving arts scene and visitors will be enchanted by the galleries, plays and poetry that are available in León. It is also a great place to take a language course.

For those looking to experience the natural delights of a Nicaraguan holiday, the country’s beautiful national parks can provide an education in the flora and fauna of the region. Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in the north, and Indio Maiz Biological Reserve in the south are both home to jaguar, cougar, anteaters, and many types of monkey.

For beach holidays, Nicaragua is becoming more and more popular. The Pacific coast is renowned for surfing, and the San Juan del Sur area is a tourist spot. The Caribbean coast with its many islets, bubbling hot springs, and dramatic jungles and beaches is becoming more accessible and is definitely a great experience for the adventurous.

Visitors can fly direct to Nicaragua’s Managua International Airport from many destinations, but may want to connect through the region’s hub in Costa Rica for more frequent flight options. Accommodation is typically cheap, even for mid-range rooms with air-conditioning.