Journey Nicaragua and El Salvador

16 days - from € 3,499 per person

off the beaten track - nature - history

  • Discover Unspoiled Central America
  • Explore two of the most beautiful colonial cities in Central America: Granada and León
  • Watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean from your hammock in surfers' paradise El Cuco
  • See the sun rise magically over the volcanoes at Lake Suchitlán
  • Discover the Pompeii of Mayan culture in Joya de Cerén

Travel description

Day 1: Amsterdam – Managua - Granada

Today your unique journey through Nicaragua and El Salvador begins. You will fly from Amsterdam to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. On arrival, you will meet one of our local employees who will take you to Granada, about an hour from Managua. In Granada, you will stay in Plaza Colón. This beautiful boutique hotel is located in a historic building at the main square of Granada, right opposite the beautiful cathedral.
Accommodation: Plaza Colón | bed & breakfast

Day 2: Granada

After breakfast, a rental car will be delivered to your hotel. The rest of the day you have time to explore Granada on your own. The city was founded in 1524 and is considered the oldest and the most beautiful city in Central America. The colonial heart is perfectly preserved and exudes the atmosphere of a small provincial town. Stroll through the historic centre and see all the highlights, such as the Cathedral, La Casa de los Tres Mundos, El Convento San Francisco and the churches of La Merced and Xalteva.

Granada is located on the shore of Lake Nicaragua. Eruptions from the Mombacho volcano have created more than 300 islands in the lake. With a boat trip, you can sail along the various islands, including the monkey island, where you will see the monkeys that live here. Take a stroll to the lakeshore in the evening and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Overnight stay: Plaza Colón | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Granada - Matagalpa

(approx.155 km / 3 hour drive)
Today you will travel further to your next destination with your rental car. The first route is from Granada to Matagalpa. Matagalpa is located in the northern highlands of Nicaragua and is known for its coffee and tobacco plantations. Nature here is overwhelming and you will rarely meet another traveller here.
Overnight stay: Hotel Montebrisa | bed & breakfast

Day 4: Matagalpa

Today you can explore the surroundings of Matagalpa on your own. Take a long walk through the breathtaking nature and pay close attention to the birds that you may encounter. Or venture out with your rental car to visit a coffee farm, drive through picturesque villages and past waterfalls. Moreover, you will be surrounded by hundreds of bird species, butterflies, mammals, trees and orchids.
Overnight stay: Hotel Montebrisa | bed & breakfast

Day 5: Matagalpa - León

(approx. 150 km | 3-hour drive)
This morning you will drive from the mountains in the direction of the Pacific Ocean. Your destination is León, the historic university town. In León, you can drop off your rental car at your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Although León is not the official capital, the city is still seen as a historical, cultural and religious capital. The impressive cathedral with the tomb of the great poet Ruben Darío is the centre of the city. Throughout the city, there are many churches, each with its own unique decor. You will also find many interesting museums and a beautiful university here. In the afternoon, when temperatures have dropped a little, the city centre comes alive and the terraces fill up. It is a pleasant place and there is a relaxed atmosphere.
Accommodation: El Convento | bed & breakfast

Day 6: León

Ready for some adventure? Today you will travel with your guide to the foot of the Cerro Negro volcano. Together you will take a walk of about an hour to the top. Along the way, you will make several stops where the guide will tell you more about the history of the volcano. At the highest point, you will reach the crater which shows different colours; yellow, red, green and white. These colours are revealed by the constant escape of gas. Don't forget to look around either, because from here you have a breathtaking panoramic view of the volcanic chain that runs up to the Pacific Ocean. After you've taken your eyes off this amazing view, it is time to descend. You will not do this on foot, but you will receive aboard and you can slide down. Once you have arrived back at the bottom of the volcano you will be brought back to your hotel.
Accommodation: El Convento | bed & breakfast

Day 7: León - El Cuco

After breakfast, you will be picked up and travel to El Salvador. These two countries do not share a land border so you will cross the water via the Gulf of Fonseca. A local employee will take you to the village of Potosí (approx. 2-hour drive). After the customs formalities, you will board a boat that will take you to La Unión in El Salvador. The boat trip takes about 2 hours and is beautiful. You will pass some tropical, uninhabited islands with idyllic beaches. The waters are rich in food and this is noticeable by the many birds that fly here. With a bit of luck, you will also spot a dolphin on the way. In the harbour of La Unión, you will get your stamp of El Salvador and then it is only an hour and a half drive to El Cuco. Here you will find yourself in a tropical paradise that is becoming more and more famous among avid surfers. The many bays on the coast of El Salvador are among the best surf locations in the world. You will stay in Las Flores Resort, situated directly at the famous surf beach with palm trees.
Accommodation: Las Flores resort & surf club | bed & breakfast

Day 8: El Cuco

Enjoy the relaxed life in El Cuco today. If you wish, you can take a surfing lesson or practise another water sport. You can also take a boat trip to one of the nearby islands, kayak through mangrove forests or visit the waterfalls and hot springs. Of course, you can also just relax at your hotel in one of the hammocks overlooking the sea.
Accommodation: Las Flores resort & surf club | bed & breakfast

Day 9: El Cuco - Suchitoto

You leave the coast and exchange it for the green inland determined by the 23 volcanoes of El Salvador. Enjoy the beautiful nature you drive through. On the way, you will make a stop in the municipality of Berlin where you will become familiar with the indigenous traditions and visit the most important sights, such as the central church. From here you will continue to the village of Alegría, located at 1240 metres above sea level. This town is surrounded by coffee plantations and nearby you will find the Laguna de Alegria, located in the crater of the dormant volcano Tecapa. This lake is turquoise coloured for its high sulphur content and has hot springs and fumaroles (gorges that emit hot volcanic gases). At the end of the afternoon, you will arrive at the picturesque village of Suchitoto. It is wonderful to stroll through the characteristic streets. On the outskirts of the village, you have a breathtaking view of the Suchitlán lake and its green surroundings with volcanic peaks.
Accommodation: Los Almendros de San Lorenzo | bed & breakfast

Day 10: Suchitoto

Adjust your pace and let the whistle of the birds determine your rhythm. Enjoy a walk through the cobbled streets or taste some local dishes such as pupusa. Suchitoto has a beautiful colonial appearance characterised by the typical buildings and the little white plastered church in the centre. Visit one of the many art galleries or take a trip to the lake of Suchitlán.
Accommodation: Los Almendros de San Lorenzo | bed & breakfast

Day 11: Suchitoto - Concepción de Ataco

From Suchitoto you will be taken to Concepción de Ataco. On the way, you will make a stop at Joya de Cerén, the Pompeii of Mayan culture. In 640 A.D. this place was buried under the lava and is therefore very well preserved. Where most Mayan remains are royal towns, palaces or tombs of nobles, Joya de Cerén is a farming village. This gives this place more clarity about the 'normal' life in the countryside.
Accommodation: Casa Degraciela | bed & breakfast

Day 12: Concepción de Ataco - El Tunco

Today you will take one of the most beautiful routes in El Salvador, the Ruta de las Flores. The route runs between Concepción de Ataco and Sonsonate and owes its name to the many flowers that bloom here, particularly in the period from November to February. Flowers and colourful villages alternate with the characteristic landscape of coffee plantations. After this route, it is about 1.5 hours to El Tunco, a coastal town where you will stay. It is a quiet place on the Pacific coast where you will mainly meet surfers.
Accommodation: Casa de Mar | bed & breakfast

Day 13 & 14: El Tunco

The last days of your trip you will stay at the coast near the village of El Tunco. El Tunco has become famous among surfers in recent years because of its good waves. This has ensured that the village attracts a colourful mix of visitors and that the atmosphere is relaxed. There are nice bars and restaurants to get a drink and some food. Besides relaxing by the sea, you can also visit the Tamanique waterfalls or the town of La Libertad with its busy fish market.
Accommodation: Casa de Mar | bed & breakfast

Day 15: El Tunco - San Salvador - Amsterdam

From El Tunco you will be taken to San Salvador Airport. Here you will board your flight to Amsterdam.

Day 16: Amsterdam

You arrive in Amsterdam today.

Travel sum

From €3,499 per person

  • Based on 2 persons travelling together
  • Depending on the time of booking, availability of accommodation and period of travel


  • 14 nights at a hotel, meals as stated 
  • 4 days rental car (Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4 or similar alternative) incl. basic insurance from Granada with drop-off in León, Nicaragua
  • all transfers and excursions as mentioned 
  • 24/7 our backup; locally and in the Netherlands
  • Comprehensive travel document package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if desired we can reserve these for you
  • tourist card; on arrival in Nicaragua you need to buy a tourist card worth $ 10,- p.p.
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability this is sometimes given by the hotel. If you want to be sure you have this, please enquire about the surcharge. 
  • (Dutch) public contribution Calamity fund; € 2.50,- per booking
  • SGR contribution of € 5,- per person per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal - for a journey to Nicaragua & El Salvador

Do you also want to make this trip? We can naturally arrange the above trip for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04, send an email to info@sapapanatravel.nlor request a tailor-made offer below. We are happy to help.

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