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Group - Discovery

Cotinga: Off the beaten track Nicaragua

18 days from £2,886pp

Nicaragua

Ometepe

Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.

Transport

7 road journeys (longest 5hrs), 6 boat journeys (by lake and river) and 2 flights (1.5hrs each).

Accommodation

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: Reserva Silvestre Privada Concepcion de Maria (former D’Santos Boutique Hotel)
• Ometepe: Villa Paraiso
• Granada: Patio del Malinche
• Solentiname: Cabañas Paraiso
• El Castillo: Rio del Luna or Hotel Victoria
• Managua: Hotel Los Robles
• Corn Islands: Arenas Beach
• León: Hotel Austria

On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Meals

Breakfast daily.

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.

Optional Excursions

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’

Currency

The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba.

Budget

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).

Tipping

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.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport Taxes

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.

Journey Grade

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.

Climate

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 15.8kg 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.

Vaccinations

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.

Visas

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. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Travelling Alone

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.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Nicaragua?

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.

What's the official language of Nicaragua?

Spanish.

What's the official currency of Nicaragua?

Córdoba. Notes can be obtained from exchange houses and also from banks which will supply advances on a debit or credit card. There are ATMs in large towns where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave UK, and amounts may be limited. ATMs allow you to choose between dollar or córdoba notes but the latter come in large denominations – try to break them down when you can. There are no ATMs (as of 2016) in El Castillo or the Solentiname islands and only one on Ometepe – bring cash with you to these places.

What's the time difference between the UK and Nicaragua?

GMT -6 hours.

What countries does Nicaragua combine well with?

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as tiny, friendly El Salvador and wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Nicaragua?

Semana Santa, (Easter, throughout Nicaragua). Processions inspired by biblical stories. Popular traditions include “the donkey procession,” on Palm Sunday; a procession of pilgrim carts that come from all parts of Nicaragua and gather in Granada; San Lázaro’s pet dog blessing in Masaya; and San Juan del Sur’s beach party celebration.

Fiestas de Masaya, Masaya, end of Sep for 3 months. A celebration on Sundays of parades and tamarindo music. It includes the Fiesta del Toro and Fiesta de los Aguisotes in late Oct and ends with the Procesión de San Jerónimo on the first Sunday of Dec.

International Poetry Festival, Granada, second week of Feb annually. Over 150 poets from all parts of the world congregate at this week-long event to recite their best poetry. 

Warning

On 22 April 2018 The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all but essential travel to Nicaragua.

The advice follows a series of protests in a number of cities. Further information can be found on the FCO’s website.

What's included in the price

  • services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • all land and air transport
  • accommodation as specified
  • meals as specified
  • excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Granada: Masaya market and volcano
  • Granada: city tour
  • Solentiname: Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge tour
  • El Castillo: Indio Maiz Reserve tour
  • León: city tour

What's not included in the price

  • tips and insurance
  • meals other than specified
  • optional excursions
  • arrival tax in Managua

What's included in the price

  • services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • all land and air transport
  • accommodation as specified
  • meals as specified
  • excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Granada: Masaya market and volcano
  • Granada: city tour
  • Solentiname: Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge tour
  • El Castillo: Indio Maiz Reserve tour
  • León: city tour

What's not included in the price

  • tips and insurance
  • meals other than specified
  • optional excursions
  • arrival tax in Managua

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

Meet the team