Discover Nicaragua’s historic city of Leon, the colonial capital of the country until independence from Spain in 1821. Discover this political and intellectual center of the nation. Its modern capital is Managua with its theaters, restaurants and markets. Hike to the top of the Cerro Negro Volcano for a thrilling downhill boarding experience. Explore activities such as horseback riding, fishing Nicaragua style and private cooking lessons. Spend two luxurious days on a private island in an undiscovered corner of Nicaragua´s Caribbean Coast. Savor this enchanting journey into Nicaragua.
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New Beginnings Collection
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Day 1: Arrive Managua, Nicaragua / Leon
Welcome to Nicaragua. On arrival in Managua, clear immigration, collect luggage and proceed through customs. You are welcomed by a representative from Big Five Tours & Expeditions, who assists with your luggage, and escorted to the waiting vehicle for the 90-minute drive to your hotel. Leon was founded in its current location in 1610 and was the colonial capital of Nicaragua until independence from Spain in 1821. It has always been the political and intellectual center of the nation and home to the second oldest university in Central America. The historic center with its colorful colonial buildings, baroque and neoclassical churches, cultural venues and museums, and its large cathedral that has been declared UNESCO heritage, are some of Leon’s many attractions. The privileged location provides easy access to nearby Pacific beaches, to the ruins of León Viejo where the city was originally founded in the year 1524, and to the many active volcanoes.
Hotel El Convento is a beautiful colonial-style property located in the heart of historic Leon. The site was formerly the home of the San Francisco Convent, Leon’s oldest convent, which was founded in 1639 by the Reverend Fray Pedro de Zuniga. In 1830, religious groups were expelled from Nicaragua and the convent fell into disrepair. In 1960 it was abandoned and demolished. The hotel features 31 standard rooms and one suite all appointed with antique furniture and ornate decorations from the colonial period. Hotel El Convento – Suite Nupcial
Day 2: Leon
Join your guide for a thrilling volcano boarding adventure. After breakfast, you are transferred off-road where you set out on an hour hike to the top of the Cerro Negro Volcano. Stop along the way to learn about the history of the volcano, its geologic formation, the main crater and lava rock fields. Once at the top, you receive safety instructions and a short practical training session before you begin the exhilarating descent. Then, return to your hotel with the afternoon at leisure.
Late this afternoon, you are transferred to a local restaurant where you sample some of the best Nicaraguan rums, including special shots made especially for you. Flor de Caña, Nicaragua’s national brand, produces 15 different kinds of rum. During the tasting, you will learn about the history of rum in Nicaragua. Hotel El Convento – Suite Nupcial (B)
Day 3: Leon / Granada / Nandaime
Join your guide on a walk through the historic section of Leon, home to more than a dozen colonial period churches, each one unique in its design from tiny parish-size chapels to the mighty cathedral, Central America’s largest church. As you stroll along, admire the murals that date back to the revolution, stop at the baroque and neoclassical churches and visit an art museum with works of internationally renowned artists, both classic and contemporary. Wander through the local fruit and vegetable market and then head to the cathedral’s rooftop for panoramic views of the city.
After a stop at the Masaya Volcano to see the molten lava flow in the Santiago crater, continue to Granada, one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas, founded by the Spanish is 1524. As you explore the historic center, discover the key sites including the San Francisco Convent founded in 1529 and La Merced Church where you can climb up the bell tower and enjoy spectacular views of the city. Stroll along La Calzada Street and stop at Dona Elba Cigars to learn about the cigar-making process. You end at Centro Social Tio Antonio, an initiative to create employment for people with disabilities including a coffee shop run by the deaf. Here you will also learn the hammock-making process.
Located in the countryside near Granada, Nekupe Resort nurtures exploration, adventure and wellness. This lodge focuses on sustainable nature-based design and rich in Nicaraguan culture with experiences that include horseback riding, mountaintop yoga, tennis, skeet shooting, organic gardening and cooking classes. Each villa has been designed to provide full immersion in nature with many of the furnishings handcrafted by Nicaraguan artisans.
Your luxury bungalow rests atop miles of forest canopy, and features floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the Mombacho Volcano. Each bungalow features king-sized bed, living area, custom-made soaking tub and open terraces with breathtaking views of the Mombacho Volcano. Nekupe Resort – Nangu Cabana (B,L,D)
Day 4: Nandaime
Day at leisure to relax or enjoy some of the resort activities, which include horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, a ropes course, ATV drive, wildlife-viewing, farming, local cheese and fruit tasting, cooking lessons with chef. Resort amenities include a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, and board games. Nekupe Resort – Nangu Cabana (B,L,D)
Day 5: Nandaime
Relax with a wellness day at the resort’s Nekupe Spa and opt for a native-based treatment that at the Casa Club and designated meadows within the reserve. Enjoy views of this sprawling, unspoiled setting. Choose one of the treatments to celebrate your honeymoon celebration. Massage offerings incorporate traditional techniques with local ingredients for a memorable experience. Nekupe Resort – Nangu Cabana (B,L,D)
Day 6: Nandaime / Managua / Bluefields / Pearl Cays
This morning, after breakfast you are privately transferred, two hours, to the Managua airport where you are assisted with check-in procedures for the 45-minute flight to Bluefields. On arrival, you are met and assisted with boarding a private boat for the two-hour navigation to Calala Island in the Pearl Cays, a group of 18 islands located along the Caribbean coast, 35 km/22 miles from the small town of Laguna de Perlas. The islands are about an hour boat-ride apart, and boast white sand beaches and palm trees.
This isolated private luxury island nestled in the undiscovered part of Nicaragua´s Caribbean Coast is accessible only by boat or helicopter. Calala Island, with its ocean view and beachfront suites, was designed by architect, Matthew Falkiner, and decorated with the finest handcrafted furniture from Nicaragua. Calala Island provides a genuine private island resort experience, from its unique atmosphere and decoration, to a menu elaborated by chef, Tom Morrell, who has worked for some of the top Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK and Europe. On site activities include kayaking and snorkeling. Calala Island – Suite (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8: Pearl Cays
Savor two days to bask in this Caribbean paradise with water sport activities such as fishing Nicaragua style or snorkeling to admire the unique marine species. Paddle to the private Little Calala Island, just five minutes from the big island. Take a dip in the infinity pool, relax on the beach and indulge in the resort’s unique fresh gastronomy. Calala Island – Suite (B,L,D)
Day 9: Pearl Cays / Bluefields / Managua
You are transferred by private boat to Bluefields where you board a commercial aircraft for the 90-minute flight to Managua. On arrival, collect your luggage and proceed to the arrivals hall where you are met, assisted with your luggage, and escorted to the waiting vehicle for transfer to your hotel. Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, is home to almost two million inhabitants and the largest city in Nicaragua. The city has a lot to offer with theaters, restaurants, clubs, bars and cinemas. At Roberto Huembes Market, explore an authentic Nicaraguan street market with high-quality handicrafts. Just outside Managua, the Montibelli Bird and Butterfly Reserve and the Chocoyero Nature Reserve provide excellent environments for birdwatchers, hikers and nature enthusiasts. Intercontinental Managua Metrocentro – Suite (B)
Day 10: Managua, Nicaragua / Depart
Today you are transferred to the Managua airport and assisted with check-in procedures for your international flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price from US$450 per person per day.