7 road journeys (longest 5hrs), 6 boat journeys (by lake and river) and 2 flights (1.5hrs each).
On this tour we use a mixture of hotels. Most are small family run hotels, all are clean and safe with ensuite bathrooms. Many of the places visited on this tour are still relatively untouched by tourism, so often there are only 1 or 2 hotels available. We have tried to pick the ones we felt would best suit the nature of this adventurous tour.
• Dolores: D'Santos Boutique Hotel
• Ometepe: Villa Paraiso
• Granada: Hotel Con Corazon
• Solentiname: Cabañas Paraiso
• El Castillo: Rio del Luna or Hotel Victoria
• Managua: Hotel Casa Naranja
• Corn Islands: Arenas Beach
• León: El Convento
These hotels are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.
• Granada: Masaya market and volcano
• Granada: city tour
• Solentiname: Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge tour
• El Castillo: Indio Maiz Reserve tour
• León: city tour
Summary of nights
18 days, 17 nights: Dolores 2; Ometepe 3; Granada 2; Solentiname 2; El Castillo 2; Managua 1; Corn Islands 3; León 2.
Included in the journey price
• services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• all land and air transport
• accommodation as specified
• meals as specified
• excursions as specified
Not included in the journey price
• tips and insurance
• meals other than specified
• optional excursions
• arrival tax in Managua
There are a few days on this tour where optional excursions are available. These are booked locally through your tour leader or hotel once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $100 should cover participation in a wide range of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so can not be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:
• Dolores: tour of the coffee plantation or explore the hotels grounds and trails
• Ometepe: tour of the island including pre-Columbian petroglyphs
• Ometepe: Charco Verde Nature reserve
• Ometepe: hike up a volcano
• Granada: Las Isletas boat trip
• Corn Islands: walks along the coast and in the interior
• León: day trip to the Pacific coast or León 'viejo'
There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge.
The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba.
A budget of around $35USD per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir.
How to take it
Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in some shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. There are also only limited cash points in the more remote places that the tour visits, so you may need to budget for a few days when withdrawing funds or changing money.
We therefore recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them awkward to change as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).
Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.
Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.
If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.
International departure tax is included on the ticket but a small airport security tax (approx. $3) is payable locally either in local currency or US dollars. There is a $10USD charge on arrival in Managua for a tourist card.
This journey although not whistle-stop does include some relatively long days of travelling. In the remote areas that this tour visits infrastructure is still basic so vehicles may not be what you may be used to in Europe but we hope this adds to the nature of this trip. All walks and excursions are optional, so discuss with your tour leader if you have any doubts about their suitability. There are some early mornings, and temperatures and humidity can be high, and the sun is strong.
Situated well within the tropics, Nicaragua has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round at low altitudes. Temperatures are significantly modified by altitude – higher up it can be very cool at night. May-Nov is rainy season, but places on the eastern coast, the Caribbean side, tend to be rather wetter, and to have a longer rainy season, than those on the Pacific coast to the west. There’s a risk of tropical storms or hurricanes Jun-Nov.
Clothing and special equipment
Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. Warm weather clothing will be the norm for this trip, although some warm items and good waterproof jackets are also necessary for all departures. We suggest that you plan to 'layer' your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitoes thrive. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear.
A day-pack is useful for carrying around essential items, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
There is a checked baggage limit of 13.6kg on the flights between Managua and the Corn Islands. If you plan to travel with a lot more than this we can arrange for luggage to be safely stored in Managua and picked up on your return to the mainland.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America.
Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets.
You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.
Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Those with another nationality should check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at which costs $14 per person which must be done by you personally. Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the departure of flights. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.