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zAAA Vacations® - Wonders of Nicaragua

9 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

Small Group Discoveries

  • Immerse in the daily life, surprising history and pristine habitats of Ometepe Island during our exclusive 2-night stay. Accessible only by ferry, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was formed eons ago by the eruption of two volcanoes.
  • With our intimate group size and expert guide, you’ll experience more of Nicaragua’s amazing natural diversity, like the unique eco-systems that thrive along the crater of the Mombacho Volcano.
  • With our “just-right” blend of full-day sightseeing and leisure time, you’ll discover all the Colonial-era landmarks of Granada and Leon… And have time to experience more of their charms at your own pace.
  • Delight in the attentive service and carefree travel of this fully escorted tour as you journey with Guillermo Rocha; our experienced Trip Leader will enrich your travels with his cultural insights and deep knowledge of the history, geology, flora and fauna of his native land.

2014 Itinerary2015 Itinerary

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Day
1

An Extra Night in Managua

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a free extra night in Lima before your tour at the upscale InterContinental Hotel in the heart of the city.

Day
2

Welcome to Managua

Enjoy a day at leisure in Managua. Meals B

Day
3

City sightseeing and Ometepe Island

The capital’s thriving modern districts and the Old City, though heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1972, offer a fascinating look into Managua’s history and future. Your morning sightseeing also includes the National Historic Park of Loma de Tiscapa, home to one of Managua’s most iconic landmarks, the towering silhouette statue of Augusto Nicolas Calderon Sandino. After your city tour, enjoy a scenic drive to the port of San Jorge and then travel across the tranquil lake waters to Ometepe Island. Accessible only by ferry, this remote and unique UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua’s vast expanse. Upon arrival, check in to the charming Villa Paraiso Hotel.  Meals B,L

Day
4

Exploring Ometepe Island

A full and enriching day begins on the slopes of the Maderas Volcano, once the site of an ancient civilization and now home to diverse tropical wildlife including monkeys, anteaters and deer. Enjoy a guided nature walk, examine petroglyphs that bear witness to the island’s ancient civilization and visit the Ometepe Museum to learn more about the region. Your island exploration continues with the forests and lagoons of the Charco Verde Nature Reserve, nestled at the base of the two towering volcanoes and home to a variety of the island’s wildlife including monkeys, armadillos and anteaters. There’ll be time for a relaxing swim before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon.  Meals B,L

Day
5

The Colonial Grandeur of Granada

A pleasant ferry ride and scenic overland journey bring you to historic Granada, the oldest Colonial city in the Americas. After lunch, your sightseeing features the city’s most significant architectural landmarks including La Merced Church and San Francisco Convent, home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian sculpture. Enjoy two nights at the charming Plaza Colon Hotel and free time to take in more of Granada’s Colonial charm and friendly ambience.  Meals B,L

Day
6

Mombacho Volcano Crater Tour

This morning’s excursion takes you up the slopes of the nearby Mombacho Volcano in comfortable 4x4 vehicles. Enjoy a guided nature walk around the crater and learn about this unique eco-system, where several micro-climates provide the ideal conditions for more than 90 species of orchids and fumaroles to thrive. Your afternoon is free to explore more of Granada’s at your own pace.   Meals B

Day
7

The Masaya Volcano and Colonial Leon

Set out this morning for Masaya National Park, home to the Masaya Lagoon – an unusual volcanic lake. Learn about the region’s natural and cultural history at the Museum before exploring Santiago Crater, which has been active for more than half a century. Then experience the rhythms of daily life at the popular Masaya Market, also a great place to browse for artisan handicrafts. In historic Leon, founded in 1524, your tour includes the Colonial-era monuments of the town’s main square and the Cathedral, the largest in Central America.  Overnight at the inviting El Convento Hotel in the heart of Leon.  Meals B,L

Day
8

Excursion to the Juan Venado Nature Reserve

Drive to Las Peñitas Beach, just an hour from the city, and board our chartered motorboat to  explore this pristine coastal reserve. The mangrove forests of this Pacific barrier island are an important habitat for abundant animal life including iguanas, crocodiles, numerous marine birds and sea turtles. Return to Leon in the mid-afternoon and enjoy the balance of your day at leisure.  Meals B,L

Day
9

Farewell, Nicaragua

Our tour program finishes this morning after breakfast.  Meals B

Day
1

An Extra Night in Managua

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a free extra night in Lima before your tour at the upscale InterContinental Hotel in the heart of the city.

Day
2

Welcome to Managua

Check in to the deluxe InterContinental Hotel.

Day
3

City sightseeing and Ometepe Island

Discover Managua’s Old Town and modern districts and visit the National Historic Park of Loma de Tiscapa. Learn more about the city’s dramatic past and see the ruins of the once grand Presidential Palace. AAA Engaging Experience: Travel across the calm lake waters to Ometepe Island. Accessible only by ferry, this remote and unique UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua’s vast expanse. Check in to the Villa Paraiso Hotel. Meals B,L

Day
4

Exploring Ometepe Island

AAA Engaging Experience: Your day begins on the forested slopes of the Maderas Volcano, once the site of an ancient civilization whose legacy you will encounter in the form of ancient petroglyphs. Then visit the Ometepe Museum and continue into Charco Verde Nature Reserve, nestled at the base of two volcano and home to a variety of the island’s wildlife including monkeys, armadillos and anteaters. Meals B,L

Day
5

The Colonial Grandeur of Granada

Travel by ferry and over land to Granada, the oldest Colonial city in the Americas. Enjoy a guided tour featuring the town’s most celebrated architectural landmarks including La Merced Church and San Francisco Convent, now home to a fine collection of pre-Columbian sculpture. AAA Engaging Experience: Then set out by boat to explore among the islets that dot the shores of Lake Nicaragua. As the afternoon is winding down, you’ll join rural residents as they go about their daily life, returning from school and running errands by boat. Many of these folks are artisans who have spent their entire lives on these waters. Enjoy two nights at the Plaza Colon Hotel. Meals B,L

Day
6

Mombacho Volcano Crater Tour

AAA Engaging Experience: Enjoy a guided nature walk around the crater of Mombacho Volcano and learn about this unique eco-system, home to more than 90 species of orchids. Then learn about the cultivation and roasting techniques that have been refined at Café Las Flores, a picturesque coffee plantation surrounded by rainforest. Enjoy a sampling of their fine blends before returning to your hotel. The balance of your afternoon is free to explore more of Granada’s Colonial-era ambience at your own pace. Meals B

Day
7

Masaya Volcano and Colonial Leon

Explore Santiago Crater, active since 1946, and experience another colorful slice of daily life at the bustling Masaya Market, also a great place to find artisan handicrafts. Continue to the shores of Lake Managua to visit the ruins of Old Leon c, established by the Spanish in the 16th century and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Continue on to the modern-day city of Leon to visit the home of Nicaragua’s beloved poet, Ruben Dario, and tour the Colonial-era Cathedral c, the largest in Central America. Overnight at El Convento Hotel.  Meals B,L

Day
8

Juan Venado Nature Reserve

Explore by motorboat in this pristine reserve, where mangrove forests and a barrier island are home to abundant animal life. Return to Leon in the mid-afternoon where the rest of the day is free to explore more of this handsome and captivating town at your own pace. Meals B,L

Day
9

Farewell, Nicaragua

Our program finishes this morning. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Combine with Treasures of Nature in Costa Rica

8-Day Post-Tour Extension from $3,099

Embark on thrilling activities every day with our expert naturalist and discover more of Costa Rica’s amazing diversity.

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Day
8

Welcome to San José

Check in to the deluxe La Corteza Amarilla and meet your Trip Leader, Dino Matarrita. Tour the lovely campus of the University of Peace and visit its Monument Park before this evening’s dinner and orientation. Meals D

Day
9

Through Braulio Carrillo National Park to the Caribbean

This morning’s drive through San Jose reveals city highlights like the handsome National Theater. Then travel through Braulio Carrillo National Park to the Caribbean coast and journey into the Tortuguero Canals. Check in to the Pachira Lodge and visit Tortuguero village and the Turtle Museum before dinner and another nature briefing with Dino Matarrita. Meals B,L,D

Day
10

Explore Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is an exotic wetland filled with flora and fauna. Explore by boat along its canals, winding through the wildlife-rich vegetation. A guided walk along rainforest trails reveals other facets of this eco-system. In the afternoon, explore these wetlands on a thrilling kayak excursion with Dino. Meals B,L,D

Day
11

Onward to Arenal

Transfer by boat to Cano Blanco for a tour of the Del Monte Banana Plantation. At Muelle de San Carlos, you’ll discover a thriving population of indigenous iguanas. Continue to Arenal and check in to the luxurious Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa in time for dinner here. Tonight, relax in the soothing natural mineral pools and waterfalls of your resort. Meals B,L,D

Day
12

Explore through the forest canopy!

Embark on a thrilling exploration of the jungle canopy as you walk safely along bridges suspended high in the treetops. Enjoy lunch and time to shop in La Fortuna. Or if you prefer, there are also options for hiking or horseback riding. Back at Arenal Kioro, there’s time again to indulge in your resort’s landscaped hot-spring pools. Meals B,L,D

Day
13

From cloud forest to coffee plantation

This morning’s scenic journey around Lake Arenal promises great photo opportunities. Your destination is Monteverde Cloud Forest, a haven for bird-watchers. Afternoon visits to coffee and sugar cane plantations reveal the process that brings high-mountain beans to your coffee cup. Then learn how sugar cane is distilled into saca de guaro and sample this liqueur. By special arrangement, dine with Marvin Rockwell, one of the Quaker pioneers who settled in Monteverde more than 50 years ago. Overnight at the Hotel Fonda Vela. Meals B,L,D

Day
14

Monteverde Cloud Forest and Orchid Garden

Explore the Cloud Forest Preserve this morning as Mr. Matarrita deepens your understanding of this complex ecosystem. Then visit the Monteverde Orchid Garden, home to more than 400 varieties of these delicate flowering plants including the smallest orchid species in the world. Enjoy dinner tonight at Cabure. Meals B,L,D

Day
15

Back to the capital

You’ll be escorted to San José where our services end. Meals B

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Prices are per person, land only. We offer air on TACA. Add extra nights.

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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