Maybe you got a chance to see the movie The Bucket List – a 2007 comedy-drama film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The movie is a story of two terminally ill men that escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. This movie will move you to tears, and also move you to really re-think life and things you may have put off doing -for example travel to a different country.
Nicaragua is now on the travelers radar with its natural beauty and old-fashioned charm that has yet to be ruined despite occasional internal political strife. It’s home to a fascinating low-key, slow-moving Latin American culture, inexpensive to travel and live in, and is often referred to as the new “Costa Rica” . Nicaragua is a hot destination spot for families, retirees, and backpackers looking for cheap beer, hiking, surfing, and affordable luxuries.”So if you have been thinking about taking a trip SOMEWHERE and you are not quite sure WHERE, here are a few suggestions~
1. Eat a quesillo or Nacatamal
Nica food is more than just gallo pinto, a constant dish of rice and beans that is popular in most Latin countries and seemingly on every plate. A favorite dish is the Nacatamal, a moist tamale filled with pork, chicken, veggies or other fillings and wrapped in a banana leaf to cook. And for a cheap but yummy meal, try eating a meal from a “fritanga” , local food served from a sidewalk vendor. Everything is on display and you choose the dishes you want.
2. Volcano Boarding Down Cerro Negro
Volcano boarding may not sound like crazy fun, but it will be a once in a lifetime experience! Born in 1850, Cerro Negro is Central America’s youngest volcano and one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes. The 726 meter high volcano Cerro Negro is located near the city of Leon and is reached within a 40 minute drive. You will have to hike up Cerro Negro, which will take you about an hour. Your adventure really begins as you will slide or surf down the 728 meter high volcano in less than 3 minutes. It is a spectacular descent going down Cerro Negro’s black sand slopes on volcano boards.
3. Tour the city of León
This city was Nicaragua’s capital until 1857. To this day it remains the country’s intellectual capital and is home to the National University. Remnants of the political wars, national heroes and important parts of Nicaraguan history can be seen in the graffiti and murals around the city. There are a lot of colonial style churches here, many art museums, and a burgeoning food movement. Restaurants and comfortable bars abound throughout the city.
4. Do a Homestay/ Volunteer/ Learn Spanish
Want to enjoy some volunteerism? Take part in a local community project. There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer, learn Spanish, and farm. Esteli, Ometepe, and León are popular choices for folks wanting to contribute or ”give back”. There are organizations offering sustainable eco-tourism projects which help local families poverty as well as conserve the environment.
There are dozens of schools offering Spanish immersion programs throughout the country as well.
5. Visit the Corn Islands
Located off the coast of Nicaragua, The Corn Islands are two islands about 70 kilometers east of the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. These Islands are a gorgeous place for a relaxing vacation retreat. Most people come to the islands to snorkel, scuba dive, fish, soak up the sun, and relax with a good book. You’ll almost feel like you are in a totally different country. The majority of inhabitants are of Jamaican Descent and you will find most prefer to speak more English than Spanish. There are two islands to choose from Little Corn and Big Corn. Little Corn is the quieter, more backpacker-oriented island with cheaper guesthouses and fewer resorts. Little Corn Island has no motor vehicles. Due to its size, all transport on the island is done on foot.You can fly or take a ferry to Big Corn and then a smaller boat (panga) to Little Corn. Big Corn is more developed with larger resorts and more restaurants, and it’s more expensive. At one time, the islands were frequented by Caribbean pirates