Sacred Earth Travel - Sustainable Nature and Adventure Travel


Highlights of Nicaragua Self-Drive

MaribiosNicaragua is a great place for those who like to discover a country on their own. Nicaragua is safe to drive, if following the basic rules. Below you will find our Highlights of Nicaragua self-drive itinerary. This itinerary has been carefully studied and programmed to give to the traveler the most of our country, combining different regions and aspects of Nicaragua. This route shows the 'best of Nicaragua', alternating volcanoes with countryside roads, mountains, islands, colonial towns, dirt road, or Pan-American Highway. Even if most of the roads are in good condition, we recommend using a pick-up vehicle during the whole year. In fact on Ometepe Island or by the Apoyo Laguna, some places can be difficult to pass in a normal passenger car. During the rainy season, beginning in May and finishing end of October, we highly recommend the use of a 4X4 vehicle.

Highlights of Nicaragua Self-Drive Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Managua – Transfer to Hotel

Arrival at Managua Airport. Transfer to your hotel located just across from the International Airport. You will receive your travel documentation at the front desk. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the facilities offered by the hotel and to rest after your flight.
Accommodation: Hotel Camino Real*** (*) / Hotel Intercontinental Metrocentro**** or similar
Included meal today: None

Day 2: Managua City Tour – León Viejo – Juan Venado Reserve – Las Peñitas – León

After breakfast, a representative of the rental car company will pick you up at your Hotel for the usual rental car formalities. Then you will begin with a City Tour of Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, where one third of the population lives. We recommend you drive to 'Loma de Tiscapa', a small volcanic hill and the location of Somoza’s presidential residence. Today Sandino’s black metal silhouette rules over the hill and you can enjoy excellent views of old and new Managua from here. Afterwards you will drive along Lake Managua towards the ruins of 'León Viejo', the first capital of Nicaragua, which was destroyed by the violent eruption of Momotombo volcano and a destructive earthquake. Here you will have the chance to learn about the interesting colonial period of this UNESCO site and understand why the first Spanish conquistadors settled Leon Viejo in this ferocious land. Afterwards drive to the Pacific coast and embark on a boat tour to the Reserve of Juan Venado, famous for its mangroves and wildlife. On the way back to the cultural centre of modern Leon, you can stop at Las Peñitas,to watch a beautiful sunset (weather permitting).
Accommodation at Hotel Austria*** / Hotel El Convento ***(*)
Included meal today: Breakfast

Cerro NegroDay 3: León City Tour – Cerro Negro Volcano – León

The morning will be at your disposal to explore this charming colonial city. Visit the old looking Cathedral 'La Asuncion', considered the largest in Central America, which serves as the final resting place of 'Ruben Dario', Nicaragua’s greatest poet, here you can ascend to the roof of the temple and enjoy spectacular views of the city. Then head to the archive-museum housed at hte poet's former residence, or visit the art museum of the Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation, which contains an impressive collection of European and Latin American art. As you walk through the city you can still see some of the old revolutionary murals painted during the civil war. In the afternoon, you have the option to travel 25 kilometers east of Leon passing through rural areas, where traditional crops such as cassava, sugar cane, peanuts, corn, and others are grown. Then you will reach to base of 'Cerro Negro', regarded as the youngest volcano in Central America, formed in 1850. This fascinating hiking trail will take you to the summit of this 'black hill', where you will enjoy an impressive view over the 'Maribios volcanic chain', consisting of the active cones of San Cristobal and Telica. After descending on the sandy slopes of the volcano drive back to León.
Accommodation: Hotel Austria/ Hotel El Convento
Included meal today: Breakfast

Day 4: León – San Jacinto Hot Springs – Estelí cigar factory – Selva Negra

After breakfast take the road towards San Jacinto Hot Springs, where internal vents eject hot gasses, water and mud. Afterwards you will drive from the fertile, volcanic soils of the Nicaraguan pacific basin to the north-central region of Estelí, known for its top quality cigars. Your drive passes by tobacco fields and you can visit one of the many cigar factories in this area. Here you can learn about the painstaking process of selecting the best tobacco leaves, drying, rolling and packing. Continue back to the highlands of Matagalpa, also known as the coffee hub. After checking in to your rooms at Selva Negra Lodge, take a walk on one of the many trails to explore the lush vegetation of the tropical forest and observe its elusive birdlife.
Accommodation: Selva Negra Lodge** Standard Room / Bungalow
Included meal today: Breakfast

Selva NegraDay 5: Selva Negra - Masaya Volcano - Masaya Market – Catarina - Granada

After breakfast you will start driving back to the Pacific region and reach Masaya Volcano National Park. Drive uphill to the edge of crater Santiago and observe the impressive activity of this volcano. At the visitor center you can learn about volcanoes and seismology in Central America. Next continue to the town of Masaya where you will have the opportunity to get observe the daily activities of the Nicaraguan people by visiting the popular market of Masaya. Shopping is tremendous here. You can find all traditional handicrafts Nicaragua at very reasonable prices. Before arriving at your hotel in the colonial town of Granada, we recommend stop at the town of Catarina, best known for specializing in cultivating ornamental plants. You will also enjoy the unique view over Apoyo Lagoon and the whole region.
Accommodation: Hotel Patio ElMalinche*** / Hotel Plaza Colon****
Included meal today: Breakfast

Day 6: Granada City tour and Isletas

After our breakfast feel free to start for a walk through the historic center of Granada, the oldest town in America´s mainland, visiting the most important monuments like the Cathedral, San Francisco convent and its Pre-Columbian statue collection, the Merced Church and the famous "Casa de Los Leones". In the afternoon, you have the option to drive to the Great Lake Nicaragua and hire a little boat and tour the famous ‘Islands’,an archipelago of 350 little islands just offshore Granada. After this refreshing boat tour enjoying also the tropical vegetation and bird life, return to Granada. The night is free at your disposal to enjoy one of the famous bars with the Latino flavour on your own.
Accommodation: Hotel Patio El Malinche / Hotel Plaza Colon
Included meal today: Breakfast

Day 7: Granada - San Jorge Port - Ometepe Island

Charco VerdeAfter breakfast, you will drive south on the Pan-American highway, passing sugarcane and rice fields, as well as plantations of banana, papaya, water melon and passion fruit. You will reach the small town of San Jorge where you and your vehicle will board the ferry and cross great Lake Nicaragua to the volcanic island of Ometepe. After about one hour ferry ride, you will reach Ometepe's main town Moyogalpa. From here, you will drive along a unique route, passing several villages. We recommend you stop by 'Charco Verde Protected Area', known for its dark green lake, and lush vegetation, birdlife and howler monkeys. Take a short hike through the tropical forest. Finally you will reach Playa Santo Domingo ,where you will check into your rooms for the night. In the afternoon you can continue driving through several banana plantations and traditional villages to Finca El Porvenir located on the flanks of Maderas volcano. Here, you can enjoy lunch with a view of Lake Nicaragua and the impressive Concepcion volcano, which forms part of the island. Afterwards, you can take a walk through the Finca and discover some of the Petroglyphs, testimony of the pre-colombian indigenous life on te island. Return to Playa Santo Domingo.
Accommodation: Hotel Lodge Villa Paraiso**(*) Standard Room / Lake view Cabin
Included meal today: Breakfast

Day 8: Playa Santo Domingo – Moyogalpa - San Jorge - Managua

Enjoy your breakfast on the shore of Lake Nicaragua before heading back to Moyogalpa, the main town of the island, where you will catch the ferry to get back to the main land. Return to Managua via the Pan-American Highwayand drop off your rental car at the International Airport.
Included meal today: Breakfast

Our service includes:

Not included:


Rates valid to Oct 31, 2018

standard superior
Single US$ US$
Double US$ US$

Twin Bed Supplement (Two Beds in superior option): US$15.00/Pers.

Rental car rates

  High Season Low Season
Toyota Prado – 4x4 Jeep
for 5/6 Pers.

Extra service:

Extra Insurance: are available and can be directly book by clients at the rent-a-car delivery or, of course, booked by our offices at no extra charge:

If you get the C.D.W. (Collision Damage Waiver) its lost responsibility by damages of our vehicles will be limited. In case of accident, the maximum deductible by direct damage to the rented vehicle will be of $ 800.00 for 4x4 and SUV, OF $500.00 for Sedan. In case of partial or total theft the deductible is 20% of the vehicle value. Nevertheless, C.D.W. it will be annulled if the vehicle is surrounded in anyone of the "violations and described prohibitions of use" in the rental contract. In Nicaragua this insurance is obligatory to less than the client has a credit card that allows declining it.

Insurance Notes:

Pick-up / Drop Off extra charges:
Peñas Blancas (border to Costa Rica ): US$79.00
Montelimar: US$13.00
Granada: US$13.00
San Juan del Sur: US$65:00
Rivas City: US$65:00
Leon: US$13:00
Managua Airport: US$12.50 (one time payment)
El Guasaule (Frontier to Honduras ): US$65.00
General note: All rates mentioned above have been quoted with Budget Rent-a-car. In case of non availability we will requested with another rental car. Rates might change in this case.

For further information and booking inquiries please send us and e-mail.