What You Must See in Nicaragua

What you must see in Nicaragua - Central America - Cruise - Cruise Ship - Lucy Williams Global

Nicaragua is a beautiful country in Central America and I went to visit Granada, Nicaragua’s oldest city. On the way, I also got to see Lake Nicaragua and the Apoyo Crater.

We anchored off San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua which is a lovely beach town with seafood restaurants right on the beach.

From San Juan del Sur we drove to Granada that is around an hour and a half away. On the way, we visited Lake Nicaragua and the Apoyo Crater to break up the drive.

Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest lake. It has a black sand beach and looks out to volcanoes, it is a great view.

What You Must See in Nicaragua - Lucy Williams Global

Apoyo Crater

We stopped at the Catarina Viewpoint at Apoyo Natural Reserve to see the Apoyo Crater that was formed 23,000 years ago, it is now an enormous lagoon and it beautiful to look at with volcanoes in the distance.

At the viewpoint, there is a market selling souvenirs and handmade crafts, restaurants and bars and Indian tuk-tuk taxis to take you around the local area.

The drive to Granada was so interesting as we saw on the way how the people live in Nicaragua. People still use horse and carts to get around and bulls and carts to move things around. There are hundreds of banana plantations that go on for miles.


Granada is Nicaragua’s oldest city and it is a colourful picturesque colonial city. We had lunch at the La Francia Hotel that was originally built shortly after the city being found in 1524.

There was a fire in 1856 that destroyed the hotel and it had to be rebuilt. It is a grand yellow and white colonial-style building with a beautiful garden with exotic plants and flowers, which you only see when you enter the hotel.

We had a traditional lunch of a corn tortilla, a red bean paste, chicken and chicharrones (deep-fried pork rinds). The chicharrones were my favourite part, so tasty! Then followed by some coconut and lychee candies.

While we were eating our lunch, we were entertained by a traditional folkloric show with Nicaraguan dancers in traditional costumes.

After lunch, we walked around the main square of Granada to see the colonial buildings and the Cathedral of Granada.

Granada is very vibrant as all the building are very colourful. Every building is a different colour and as you walk down the street you see every colour of the rainbow.

The Cathedral of Granada is a bright yellow and white building with terracotta coloured domed roofs. Inside it is light and airy and they have started to paint the ceilings with scenes from the bible.

In the square, there are lots trees, so with the greenery and the colourful buildings, it is very pretty to look at. Also in the square, there are lots of market stalls selling souvenirs and handmade crafts.

What You Must See in Nicaragua - Lucy Williams Global - San Juan del Sur

Essential Info:

  • Weather 22*C – 37*C
  • Language: Spanish, a little English spoken
  • Currency: Nicaraguan Cordoba Oro, but US Dollars are accepted.
  • Wear lightweight clothing, a hat and sunglasses and drink lots of water (the bottle below keeps water cold for 24 hours)
  • Use lots of sunscreen and insect repellent

More on Central America 

MexicoCosta RicaEl Salvador

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Nicaragua, please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Nicaragua? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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What you must see in Nicaragua

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  1. December 30, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post! It’s very informative. Nicaragua is indeed a beautiful destination, for not just it is very rich in culture, but also for having beautiful sceneries. You really got me with your pictures, they are all lovely especially that outstanding view from the lagoon I can say it is indeed enormous. Again, thanks for sharing this post! Such a good read.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      Thank you glad you enjoyed reading. I loved all the colours in Granada.

  2. loisaltermark
    December 30, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Nicaragua is beautiful. I’m sorry we didn’t get to visit when we were in Costa Rica and were so close. It seems like there’s so much to see and experience.

  3. December 31, 2017 / 12:53 am

    I have yet to visit Nicaragua but I always here it is what Costa Rica was like 20 years ago. I would love to for a surfing vacation and spend a week catching waves on some tropical paradise. I love you picture of a Central American Tuk-Tuk. I looked into getting one to tool around town in back home but the import costs were outrageous. There is probably I reason they aren’t in America.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:13 pm

      I have been a few times over 5 years and it is better every time. It was funny seeing Tuk Tuk’s there, I wasn’t expecting it!

  4. December 31, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    I’m hoping to make it to Nicaragua in 2018. I’m especially drawn to the colorful colonial architecture in Granada and volcanoes around Lake Nicaragua.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      You will love it, it is a beautiful place, a lot of travel to get to each place, but worth it.

  5. January 1, 2018 / 6:54 am

    23000 years old volcanic crater sounds so amazing, a must see for sure. Nicaraguan dancers in traditional costumes too sound interesting. I was aware of only the Granada in Spain. This is new to me.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      It was and my photos really do no do it justice. Traditional dancers are always fun to watch. I’m sure that is where the name came from.

  6. January 1, 2018 / 9:06 am

    We’ll maybe visit Nicaragua later this year and I found some inspiration on your post 🙂 I didn’t know that Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest lake! Chicharrones sounds so delicious, I’m going to make sure I’ll try them 😀 The colourful buildings look so pretty in Granada <3 I'm looking forward to visit this country

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:19 pm

      I hope you have a a fantastic time there! It is a beautiful colourful country

  7. January 1, 2018 / 10:41 am

    Oh Nicaragua is now on our bucket list too!! The colorful colonial buildings in Granada look so picture perfect! And it’s stunning to learn that some locals still use horse and carts to get around, and that even bulls are still used to move things around. I definitely want to explore this place more in depth!

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:20 pm

      I recommend it! I was shocked to see how times had not changed with the horse and carts or bull and carts, but interesting to see.

  8. January 1, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    Granada looks like such a beautiful town! I love the colors/architecture of the buildings. I’ve always wanted to go to Lake Nicaragua as well.

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      I recommend Granada as it is gorgeous and so is the Nicaragua Lake.

  9. January 1, 2018 / 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the great recommendations! I love the architecture of all the buildings you featured! Would love to just go and wander around the city with no real destination in mind just to enjoy the design of all the buildings!

    • January 2, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      Granada is beautiful and when I go again I just want to walk around and look!

  10. January 3, 2018 / 5:47 am

    Oh awesome…we were just in Nicaragua ourselves, loved Grenada….we did a cute (and affordable) Airbnb there for a few days. Did you make it to Ometepe? Very cool island of those two volcanos (maybe the ones in your picture).

    • January 4, 2018 / 2:46 pm

      Glad you had a fantastic time there. I didn’t go to the island, but just got a photo of the volcanoes but it was not a very clear day when we were viewing them!

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