GT-805 – NICARAGUA

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NATURE, COLONIAL CITIES AND TRADITIONS
LEON, GRANADA, VISIT OF MASAYA MARKET & CATARINA VIEW POINT, MOMBACHO VOLCANO EL CRATER TRAIL – ISLETAS TOUR & OMETEPE ISLAND
Six Days / Five Nights
Minimum two persons

ITINERARY

DAY 1: Welcome to Nicaragua!

Meet & Greet at the International Airport in Managua, follow by private transfer with guide to the city of Leon.
Overnight accommodations at El Convento Hotel Leon

DAY 2: Leon City & Juan Venado Tours

Breakfast at the hotel. The city main churches soar skyward, including the monumental Cathedral, which is the largest in Central America and world heritage site by UNESCO. During the walking tour, you’ll get to know the historic murals that grace the city and understand the important role Leon has played in Nicaragua’s social, economic and political development. When visiting the Cathedral, you can climb to the roof, where you can enjoy unmatched views of the city of Leon. Afterward you will visit the birth house of Ruben Dario (the father of Modern Spanish Literature) and the “Ortiz Gurdian” Art Gallery known as one of the best private art galleries in Latin America. Lunch and continue with Juan Venado Island tour.

Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve is an important protected area in Nicaragua. It forms part of the country’s national park system and is well-known as a vital coastal wetland region. The stunning Juan Venado Island is situated 1 hour away of Leon city. Upon arrival to Las Peñitas beach, your guide will lead you to where you will board your private motor boat for an exciting 2 hours boat ride. Juan Venado is considered a barrier island and measures 22km in length and has a width of 0.5km, totaling 2.934 hectares. It stands out as a thin strip near the coast of Nicaragua. The island’s altitude is no higher than 25m. Separating the coast from the island is an ecologically important mangrove forest or swamp. This marvelous biological zone provides the ideal home for an abundance of animal life, particularly marine creatures. The edge of the Juan Venado island which faces into the Pacific ocean possesses a fine estuary and is also a vital nesting site for Olive Ridley sea turtles (from May to November). The estuary of Isla Juan Venado is itself home to a diversity of organisms including water birds, the cayman, crocodiles, iguanas, crustaceans and more. Isla Juan Venado Nature Reserve has no people residing in it, so you will be enveloped in solitude and the beauty of nature. After some time at the beach, your local expert will lead you back to Leon city
Overnight accommodations at El Convento Hotel Leon (B/L)

DAY 3: Leon / Granada

Visit of Masaya Market – Catarina View Point and Granada city Tour
After breakfast, private transfer to Masaya Volcano. First national park in the country was established in 1979. The park includes a beautiful volcanic lake known as the “Masaya lagoon”. Upon arrival, we will witness all the influence that volcanic activities have had in the shaping of the zone. Only ten minutes from the entrance we will be able to visit the environmental center, a museum where we can see a model of the park and also see paintings of Nicaraguan artists relating to the history of the volcano. We’ll Learn about the tectonic plates and volcanic regions of the planet and get to know about the flora and fauna of this wildlife refuge. We will continue our trip to the summit of the volcano, where we will get out of our vehicle and walk the few steps to see the Santiago crater, active since 1946. We will also have time to explore the surrounding area and see more volcanic formations, learn about the Aratinga Strenua (amazing birds living in the toxic crater walls) as well as the history of the Spanish priests who explored the volcano and the superstitious beliefs held by the natives who inhabited the area. Just fifteen minutes away we will visit the Masaya arts and crafts market for local ceramics, hammocks, wood and leather souvenirs. Visit also of Catarina View point. Continue to Granada city for a tour of the colonial city. The colonial city of Granada was founded by Captain Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba in the year 1524. It was built next to the Mombacho volcano and the great lake of Nicaragua. Named after the city of Granada in Spain, this city has plenty of colonial churches, narrow streets and large homes with beautiful indoor patios, tiled roofs and pretty colonial colors. Upon arrival, we will have a sightseeing tour and later arrive at the main plaza for our walking tour of the surrounding area. We will see “La Merced” church, the house of the Zamora family, the famous “Casa de Los Tres Mundos” and the San Francisco convent. Here, we will have the opportunity to see and take pictures of mysterious idols made by our ancestors. This is an impressive collection of genuine pre-Columbian sculptures in human and animal shapes. During the tour we will learn about the history of the city, and the adventures of filibuster William Walker, who invaded the city in the year 1855. We will learn about the civil wars that basically destroyed the city in the past. At the same time, we will witness the current restoration process which only makes the city even more attractive. Due to the historical and cultural value of the city, it is in the process of being declared a heritage of mankind by UNESCO.
Overnight accommodations at Dario Hotel (B/L)

DAY 4 – Mombacho Volcano El Crater trail & Isletas tour

Breakfast and enjoy a hiking tour to the Mombacho Volcano. We will visit the Mombacho volcano natural reserve. This enormous cloud forest is full of luxurious vegetation which has managed to grow over the centuries since the last volcanic activity. For our visit, our vehicle will lead the way to the foot of the mountain where we will get in touch with the park keepers. Then we switch vehicles and start on our way up to the top. The adventure begins on a paved road and right from the start we will be surprised by the biodiversity of this nature reserve and enjoy the breathtaking views. When we reach the summit, we will understand why this ecosystem is a cloud forest. A light sweater or jacket is suggested because of the strong cold wind. The park keeper will give instructions to everyone so we can enjoy our visit. We will then take the trails of the volcano (For approximately 1:45 Minutes) to learn a lot about the flora, the fauna, the ancient people who lived there and the Vulcan logy of the area. If the day is clear enough, we will visit an impressive viewpoint to observe the plain pacific region of Nicaragua, the neighboring city of Granada and the great lake of Nicaragua and its islands. When we return from our walk, we will visit the biological station where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or purchase snacks. Our guide will let us know when it is time to board the vehicle that will transport us back to the foot of the mountain. Considered a moderate hike. Lunch at the reserve and back to Granada for a boat tour to Lake Nicaragua for a relaxing boat ride around some of the islands formed by the impressive Mombacho volcano. See the volcanic evidence and influence of the area. Enjoy great landscape views and wildlife and of course have a chance to take pictures.
Overnight accommodations at Dario Hotel (B/L)

DAY 5: Ometepe Island

Breakfast. This morning very early we will go to San Jorge Port in order to take our ferry for visit Ometepe island. The name Ometepe means ‘two hills’ in the native ‘náhuatl’ language. The island measures 276 square kilometers and it houses two majestic volcanoes connected through a small strip of land. Ometepe is currently one of the destinations admired by both local and international tourists for its nature, hospitality, beautiful landscapes, the two volcanoes, a rich archeological background, relaxing beaches and its numerous natural reserves and forests that enjoy a high biodiversity.

For ages, the island has represented a paradisiacal destination. According to stories obtained by historians, indigenous tribes traveled from up north to find a paradise as foreseen in a vision by their prophets; a place formed by two hills which they found at Ometepe while traveling down south. The island consequently transformed into a sanctuary inhabited by a mix of different tribes and cultures – something that is revealed by the immense amount of petroglyphs, ceramics, and statues that can be found all throughout the island.

First we visit the Numismatic & Pre-Columbine Museum. Then leaving to Charco Verde; natural reserve located at kilometer 11. The reserve houses a hill, a lagoon separated from the lake by only a narrow strip of land, and a spectacular flora and fauna. Furthermore, this area is famous throughout whole Ometepe for its fascinating myths. The forest of Charco Verde is inhabited by three howler monkey families of about 70 individuals each. Furthermore, migratory and local birds can also be found within the area, as well as insects and even boas.

Part of the calm lagoon is covered in mangrove forest where the trees with submerged tree trunks throw a shadow on the water and create a mystical atmosphere. The rest of the lagoon’s shore is covered by rich vegetation and large fruit trees. You will go for a walk in a path, which last one hour. Hopefully you will see at troop of monkeys in the area. After that we will visit the Ojo de Agua; crystalline spring water with medicine properties, where you can have a relaxing time.

The last place to visit is the second most important city of Ometepe : Altagracia, located northeast of the Concepción. Its original name was Astagalpa (meaning ‘house of the herons’ in náhuatl), but it was changed with the arrival of the Spanish and Castilian culture.
One of the most attractive aspects of the city is the pre-Columbian ceramics, statues, and petroglyphs displayed, all found at the island. The guide will explain to you about how the natives made their drinks for traditional celebrations. At the end of the day back to Granada city.
Overnight accommodations at Dario Hotel (B/L)

DAY 6: Depart Granada and Managua

Breakfast at the Hotel. Private guided transfer from Granada to International Airport in Managua on time for your flight departure for home or your next destination. (B).

RATE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY: FROM: $1,625.00
Groups of minimum 4 adults: $1,125.00 per person based on double occupancy

RATE INCLUDES:

All Private Transportation and tours. ( With exception The ferry go and back to Ometepe Island). English speaking guide throughout all the program. Two nights lodging at El Convento Hotel in Leon. Three nights lodging at Dario Hotel, Granada. All entrance fee and ferries. Five breakfast. Four lunches. Hotel taxes (17% sales tax)

TOURS:

  • Leon City Tour and Juan Venado Island tour
  • Full day excursion to Masaya Volcano and Market – Catarina View point and Granada city
  • Mombacho Volcano –The Crater trail and boat tour at Las Isletas
  • Full Day Tour Ometepe Island.

NOT INCLUDED:

Entry & Departure – Tourist card $10.00 per person.
Meals & Tours or land services not specified in the itinerary. Tips for guide & driver, hotel bellboys and maids. Expenses of personal nature

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