First of all, for some, the thought of traveling to Nicaragua is unsettling. A third world country ravaged by war in the 70’s and 80’s, the second poorest country next to Haiti in the western hemisphere, and political corruption. However, the thought of backpacking in Nicaragua takes on a whole new vision.
Set aside your previous thoughts of war, poverty, and corruption about this country. Nicaragua has been reborn into a new country over the past few years. In fact, the CIA has ranked it the safest country in Central America. The native people are utmost some of the nicest in the world and the country is beautiful to boot.
Nicaragua is a backpackers dream location. From colonial cities that seem like they haven’t been touched since the 1500’s to isolated beach villages on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts to the booming metropolis that is Managua, the capital, the backpacker will a huge number of inexpensive hostels, guest houses, camping, restaurants, and nightlife.The colonial cities of Leon and Granada cater to the backpacking crowd. Leon, once the capital of Nicaragua, boasts the ever popular Big Foot Hostel. Big Foot Hostel is famous for it’s amazing Mojitos and inexpensive, amazing food. Another great hostel in Leon is more of a hotel than a hostel, private room can be had for $35 USD a night with hot water shower and cable TV. Both Big Foot Hostel and Los Balcones offer free wireless internet.
Twenty minutes west from Leon lies the popular yet undiscovered beach towns of Las Penitas and Poneloya. Both are quaint fishing villages with miles of uncrowded beaches and amazing surfing. One of my favorite destinations in Nicaragua, Las Penitas offers one of the most amazing hotel/hostels I have ever stayed it. This place is called Playa Roca Beach Hotel. Playa Roca offers simple yet amazing accommodations at very inexpensive rates. An ocean front private room with private bathroom can be had for $35 USD. With great food, an amazing rancho to relax in, and a laid back vibe; Playa Roca is choice when I go to Nicaragua. It also boasts free wireless internet.
Granada is located south of Managua on the massive Lake Nicaragua. Granada is a colonial city that offers great opportunities for backpacking. One can explore the nearby volcano, Mombacho, explore the rustic avenues of Granada, go kayaking on Lake Nicaragua, and many other exciting activities. When in Granada, I would recommend staying at Hostel Oasis. Hostel Oasis offers free wireless internet, free DVD movies, cable TV, and a safe, clean environment. Check out the main town square of Granada where one can find some great shopping.
In closing, I would like to recommend visiting ViaNica.com, a great online resource for everything Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a very amazing country that is still misunderstood by most of Western culture. A mysterious land filled with plenty of undiscovered rewards!