Nicaragua is the heart of Central America. With its nickname, “The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” visitors to Nicaragua will find this hidden gem destination boasts natural beauty unlike anywhere else in the world. Volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and two oceans are the centerpiece.

There’s plenty to explore in Nicaragua, as it’s home to two of the largest forest reserves in Central America. It’s also home to Central America’s largest lake, Lake Nicaragua, a natural treasure among locals.

Outside of its unique landscape, it’s a multicultural and multilingual hub.  Nicaragua has a rich history and culture that captivates its visitors. With so much to do and explore, here are seven must-see destinations when visiting Nicaragua.

Cerro Negro

Cerro Negro is the newest volcano in Nicaragua. Located in Leon’s Maribios Volcano range, it gets its name from the jet-black gravel, solidified black lava flows, and the black sand dunes that surround it.

Sitting more than 2,280 feet above sea level, Cerro Negro is one of the most active volcanoes and a top attraction in Central America. After you hike for about an hour to the summit, the fun begins as it turns into a fun volcano boarding adventure.   

Corn Islands

Travelers who want a taste of the Caribbean should head to the Corn Islands, made up of Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island.  It’s a spectacular location for relaxing on white sandy beaches. There are boutique, family-owned hotels on the islands where visitors will experience the comfort and welcoming spirit of locals. The Corn Islands are also great spots for snorkeling and diving.


Estelí is the new tobacco capital of the world. Nicaragua’s fertile highland soils are said to be superior even to Cuba for tobacco growing. For cigar lovers, a cigar factory tour should be at the top of your itinerary as Estelí produces some of the best cigars in the world.


Granada is one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in Central America.  Located a little less than 40 miles away from Lake Nicaragua, Granada is home to stunning Spanish colonial landmarks.  At the center of attention is the city’s main plaza, Central Park. It dates back to the 1500s and is a colorful, neoclassical facade of the Cathedral of Granada.

Lake Nicaragua

While not officially a world wander, Lake Nicaragua plays a huge role in the culture and psyche of Nicaraguans. Lake Nicaragua is one of the main reasons why people call their country the land of lakes and volcanoes. The best way to see Lake Nicaragua is on a boat tour from the main city, Managua.


Located in western Nicaragua, León is the second largest city with a population of 180,000 people. It’s known as the artistic and intellectual heart of the country as it’s home to some of the greatest poets.

While there, visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site, Cathedral of León, is a must. It’s the largest temple in Central America.  Other highlights in León include exploring the colonial architecture, hiking, and kayaking.

Masaya Volcano National Park

Masaya Volcano National Park is the first and largest national park in the country. It includes two volcanoes and five craters. The volcano is located at the center of the National Park and is stunning to witness up close as the entire park feels otherworldly. One of the best ways to experience the volcano is through a night tour.