Overall you should plan at least 2 weeks for this itinerary, however, of course the longer you have the better.
San Juan Del Sur:
Great place for a weekend party or stay to surf.
Surf spot within an hour are: Playa Maderas, Playa Hermosa, Panga Drops & Colorado, however some can only be accessed by boat.
For the Sunday Sunday Party, stay in Naked Tiger hostel USD$15 per night. You’ll save $15 for entrance to Sunday Funday party by staying here.
Super beautiful! The island is made from two volcanos (Concepción and Maderas) that you can hike.
Concepción is a 10 hour hike which can be cold and windy. Pack something warm. You’ll pass through farm, jungle and rock. From the top you can peer inside the volcano.
Madera is an 8 hour cloud forest hike. It’s muddy and sometimes so steep you’ have to climb. At the top of Maderas you can access a crater lagoon which you can swim in.
Guides are mandatory for both.
Also in Ometepe are petroglyphs, ojo de aqua (natural water hole), Punta Jesus Maria (spit of land with great views) and San Ramon waterfall.
Santa Cruz is the more backpacker-y area to stay on the island. If you’re looking for a party stay in Little Morgan’s hostel or if you want something a little different go to El Zopilote Organic Farm, but get their early, it fills up quickly. They have free yoga, farming and pizza nights.
It’s a little awkward to get to, you can choose between crossing a river with no bridge, on foot when you get off the bus or taking a very expensive taxi to go the long way.
There’s 2 main breaks which are always packed but the break is very consistent.
The outer reef is best from mid to high tide. For advanced surfers only.
There are empty beach breaks further down but aren’t the same quality as Popoyo.
Beautiful colonial city with a history of pirate invasion. The houses are all painted different colours and the streets are made of cobblestone. There are a bunch of beautiful churches, forts, a lake, markets, museums, horses and carriages and tours.
From Granada you can catch a bus or shuttle to Laguna de Apoyo which is a volcano crater you can swim and kayak. There is accomodation there but you can see a lot in a day trip.
If you stay at Oasis hostel $15USD they have a sister hostel which you can shuttle to and from.
Leon is another beautiful colonial city with the biggest Cathedral in Central America. It’s a great central hub for day trips including volcano boarding, hiking volcanos, kayaking, beach trips- Poneloya (Surfing turtle Hostel) & Las Peñitas, a small beach town where I was viciously attacked by a stingray (read story here). You can visit for a day trip, evening party at Bigfoot Hostel or stay there.
León is also a very popular place to learn Spanish with Spanish schools at very discounted prices.
Quetzaltrekkers is also a great organisation run solely by volunteers. They provide trekking tours with all the profits going to street children in Xela.
A small beach town with only 2 hostels. We stayed in Los Cocos USD$7 dorm. Beautiful, empty beach breaks that go on for at least a kilometre. It’s a sleepy town with huge salt flats and scenic views. Great place to RELAX!
There’s a bunch of cool places we missed such as: