For many couples, the honeymoon is a much-needed respite after months of wedding prep, and it’s the only part of the wedding experience that’s really, truly for you. It’s often the trip of a lifetime – the first exotic adventure you’ll embark on as a married couple, and the first step in planning the perfect getaway is choosing the right destination.
Romantic in a wild and mystical sort of way, Nicaragua's unspoiled beauty makes it a perfect locale for honeymooners looking to escape.
Nicaragua is rugged and adventurous, still somewhat unknown to the typical tourist crowd, and packed to the brim with unbelievable landscapes – serene beaches on both coasts, lush rainforests, smoking volcanoes, and charming colonial towns you could wander for hours. Your dollar will stretch a lot further in Nicaragua than in neighboring Central American countries (like Costa Rica or Belize), which means that luxury travel is more accessible here to those couples trying to cut costs and save a little after an expensive wedding day.
Curious if traveling to Nicaragua is safe? Read more on safety in Nicaragua here.
Best Honeymoon Packages in Nicaragua
Even if the getaway sounds heavenly, planning your honeymoon while juggling wedding planning can get stressful. If you’re looking for someone else to do the heavy lifting of planning a honeymoon in Nicaragua, a package might be right for you. Here are our faves:
Planning the Perfect Honeymoon in Nicaragua
Our top piece of advice when planning a honeymoon is to start early!
Whether or not you have a travel expert helping you, if you begin the process early, you’re more likely to get the room you want. It will keep you from being left disappointed to find your dream resort is fully booked, and in most cases, will give you the most bang for your buck. The ideal time to book is six to eight months prior to departure, so consider starting planning even earlier.
If you're an enthusiastic honeymooner and have decided to plan the whole thing yourself, the rest of this guide is for you!
Getting to Nicaragua
From North America: several airlines offer direct and connecting flights to Nicaragua’s international airport: Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua (airport code: MAN). Including connection time, flights from the USA typically range from 2.5-9 hours in duration, while most flights from Canada range from 9-15 hours in duration.
From the UK: there are currently no direct flights to Managua from the UK, but there are several flight options connecting in the United States and/or Canada. Including connection time, flights from the UK typically range from 12-18 hours in duration.
If you plan to stay in Nicaragua's south (Granada, Ometepe, and San Juan del Sur), another option would be to fly into Costa Rica's Liberia airport (LIR) in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica, and arrange for a ground transfer across the border to San Juan del Sur or Granada. Typically, flying into Managua is more convenient, but if you plan to spend your time in Nicaragua's south or would like to split your time between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Liberia might be a good fit.
How to Get Around
They say that the journey is part of the adventure. Still, getting around Nicaragua can be taxing, especially when using public transportation. The roads in most of the heavily-visited tourist areas are excellent, but head off the beaten trail and you’ll find yourself navigating decrepit dirt roads, many of which may require a 4WD.
Fortunately, most of the main attractions in Nicaragua are relatively close to one another, within a couple of hours driving time. The only really epic journeys are to explore the interior highlands, or get to the Caribbean by land and sea.
Domestic flights: domestic airline La Costeña offers puddle-jumper flights to small airports throughout the country, and they’re ideal to take for longer journeys (say, to the Corn Islands or Bluefields). On these small propeller planes, you’ll be weighed with your luggage, and the baggage rules are generally very strict, which can mean hefty fees for excess baggage if you overpack.
Public buses: the public bus system in Nicaragua is chaotic at best. A ride on a “chicken bus” will get you where you need to go, but not without discomfort. Bus drivers generally pack as many people as physically possible on the bus, piling folks on and off at each stop, making for a very slow ride. If you do decide to take a public bus and you’re planning on a long ride, ensure you arrive to the bus depot early enough to snag yourself a seat, and do keep an eye on your belongings throughout the ride.
Rent a car: renting a car is a great option in Nicaragua, especially if you’re heading to the northern highlands, or if you’d like to get out and explore beyond your resort or hotel. We would mainly recommend car rentals on the mainland – cars are not needed (nor even possible on LCI) on the Corn Islands, and shuttling a rental car to Ometepe and back is inconvenient at best. If you opt to rent a car, spring for a four-wheel drive. When you’re bumping along pitted, potholed dirt roads, you won’t regret it. We promise.
Car rentals are generally cheap, but it’s wise to shop around. The international airport in Managua has several rental car facilities onsite, and some rental agencies have offices in San Juan del Sur and Granada. Many towns in Nicaragua lack rental car outlets, so if you’re intent on touring the country by car, you should arrange to do so either in Granada or Managua.
Make sure that you get unlimited mileage, and liability insurance, which you’re required by law to have in Nicaragua. It’s non-negotiable, even if you have insurance through a credit card or your auto insurer at home, so plan for this expense. Liability insurance typically costs somewhere in the region of $15 to $25 per day.
Though the road system in Nicaragua is relatively uncomplicated and easy to navigate outside of Managua, we’d recommend the use of a GPS. You may have coverage on your cell phone, or can download the Google map of Nicaragua before your trip. Alternatively, most car rental facilities will have GPS units that can be rented daily or weekly for the duration of your trip.
Tourist shuttles: the network of shuttles in Nicaragua is an increasingly popular way of getting around the country. Small, private companies will pick you up at your hotel or the airport and transfer you to your next destination, usually offering door-to-door service. Particularly popular for those traveling among the main tourist destinations (Granada, San Juan del Sur, Managua, and León), these shuttles run daily (some more frequently), and are generally reasonably priced, safe, and an extreme upgrade from public buses.
Private drivers: similar to the shuttle companies, private drivers are available throughout Nicaragua. They’re also usually small, private companies, and will pick you up and offer door-to-door service to your next destination. Significantly more expensive than shuttle companies, these are most appropriate for guests who want to be able to dictate where they stop along the way, or for groups of five or more traveling together.
Nicaragua Honeymoon Budget & Average Costs
Considering that Nicaragua and Costa Rica offer many of the same natural highlights, it's almost astonishing how different the prices are. A Costa Rica honeymoon requires a budget similar to that of a Central European country, while Nicaragua is more in line with other countries in Central America.
If planned right, you can honeymoon in Nicaragua for an average of USD $5,000. You just have to know when to go. If you want to cut costs, avoid the high season, December through April, and opt for May or November, Nicaragua's shoulder season. Though you may have to endure a couple of hours of rain each afternoon, it's not guaranteed. Plus, you can count on fewer crowds, and lower prices. What's not to like?
There are a few other factors that will influence your budget: length of stay, travel style, the number of destinations you visit, and what activities you're interested in doing.
If you're dreaming of a luxe getaway with five-star hotels, private drivers and three gourmet meals per day, your budget is going to look a lot different than if you book a private room in a guesthouse or hostel, and eat at small hole-in-the-wall local restaurants, or at popular neighborhood barbecues, called fritangas. Better yet, you can mix and match. Save where you can - food, shuttles, and shared tours - and splurge on a couple of nights of luxury. It is your honeymoon after all!
Two weeks in Nicaragua is the perfect amount of time for an introduction to the country. It's long enough to hit most of the major tourist sites and also allows time to get off the beaten path a bit without feeling rushed. Most honeymooners spend seven to ten days on their trip, and if that's all you have, book the tickets anyway! You won't be sorry.
It's exciting planning a honeymoon, and there's so much to do and see in a place like Nicaragua that it's tempting to try to hit as many destinations as you can. Nobody likes FOMO. But you also don't want to end up feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Travel time, and packing and unpacking at each hotel cuts into the time you'd otherwise be spending relaxing or exploring. Ultimately, it's not worth it. Split your trip between jungle and beach, or colonial city and beach, and you'll have a great time, even if you don't get to see everything you'd intended.
Flights to Nicaragua: USD $500 - $2,000 for two people
Where you're flying from and the time of year you're traveling has a huge bearing on the amount you'll have to spend on a flight. From the northern US states and Canada, prices hover around $600 to $900 throughout most of the year; from the southern US states, usually somewhere from $250 to $500. During holiday periods, including Christmas, Easter Week and spring break, flight prices can easily double.
The best time to book your flight is between three months and six weeks before your trip. From Canada, our preferred airline to fly to most of Central America is United Airlines, flying through the Houston (IAH) hub, but lots of major airlines fly to Managua, including American Airlines, Copa, Delta, and AeroMexico.
Hotel Cost for a One Week Nicaragua Honeymoon: USD $700 - $4,900
It's a wide range, we know! With everything from hostels to guesthouses to upscale luxury eco-lodges, you may not know where to start. The biggest expense in your honeymoon budget will be your accommodations, but Nicaragua's a great place for even the most budget-conscious couple. There are two tourism seasons in Nicaragua. The "green" season runs from May through November, and the high season from December to April. During high season, hotel prices are higher, with the highest prices falling during peak season, from mid December through mid January.
Generally regarded as the rainy season, we consider the green season to be a great time to visit Nicaragua. Except in the heaviest months, September and October, the rain usually only lasts for a couple of hours a day, the temperatures are pleasant, landscapes are greener, and prices are lower.
If you're staying in the city, or plan to spend most of your day exploring, a mid-range option makes sense. If you'd rather spend your time relaxing poolside, enjoying hotel amenities, and enjoying your new spouse's company, it's worth the splurge on a luxury stay in a unique location. Yemaya Island Hideaway, Jicaro Island Lodge, and Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge are some of our favorites.
For the ultimate in luxury, Calala Island is unparalleled, but it comes with a hefty price tag - around $17,000 - for an all-inclusive one week stay in the master suite. Still, for a week on a private island in Nicaragua's pristine Caribbean, that might just be worth it.
Food & Drink Costs in Nicaragua: USD $400 - $1000 for two people for a week
Most hotels in Nicaragua include breakfast - usually a tasty Nica breakfast with gallo pinto, plantains, and eggs to your liking or the standard American fare - and some remote upscale lodges (like Jicaro and Calala) will include meal packages with your stay, but usually, you'll be on your own for lunch and dinner. In the touristy areas of Nicaragua, there are several options in various price ranges.
At the market, or in local eateries or comedores, typical meals (rice, beans, cheese, meat, plantain and a small side salad) will go for as low as $3 - $5 a plate. In restaurants that cater to tourists and more upscale clientele, you can expect to pay between $18 - $25 per person per meal, and around $2 per bottle.
In less touristy areas, including the northern highlands and beachfront areas along the central and northern Pacific coast, you'll find great meals for amazing prices. Matagalpa is known for excellent steak, usually costing less than $10 per plate, with all the sides, and there are lots of beachfront restaurants that serve large seafood platters (to share between several people) for less than $40.
It's worth noting that vegetarian restaurants in Nicaragua are generally not great, though there are a few notable vegetarian restaurants starting to crop up around the country, mainly in the south. Apoyo Lodge has a wonderful vegan restaurant with a delicious seasonal menu worth checking out. Open to clientele and guests, it's a great place to hang out and enjoy beautiful lagoon views while you nosh.
Transportation Costs in Nicaragua: USD $200 - $1000+ for two people for a week
If you rent a car, limit your honeymoon to a single destination, or use public buses to get around, transportation should be fairly economical, maybe even coming in under the lower end of our suggested budget. You can get a decent rental from $10 to $25 per day, plus daily insurance (roughly $25).
Most public buses to areas throughout the western side of the country cost less than $10, and many less than $5, with rates posted on public buses, so the fare is the same for everyone. You will be charged an extra seat for your bag, so we recommend planning for double the fare. Busing to the Caribbean is slightly pricier, but not much. Ferry rates are also cheap in Nicaragua - to Ometepe, the fare is less than $2, and from Bluefields to Big Corn Island, less than $10.
Shared shuttles cost roughly $15 to $45 per person depending how far you're going (and sometimes how many others are sharing the ride), while private transportation and domestic flights cost significantly more and can easily put you at the upper end of the range.
For a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, helicopter flights and chartered planes are also available, starting at $2,500 and ranging up to $6,500 per leg.
Average Budget for a Week Long Honeymoon in Nicaragua
Budget: $2,000 ($1,000 per person)
Mid-Range: $3,500+ ($1,750 per person)
Luxury: $6,000+ ($3,000 per person)
Ultra-Luxury: $25,000 ($12,500 per person)
Best Honeymoon Resorts in Nicaragua
1. Jicaro Island Lodge, Granada Isletas
From the moment you step off the lancha onto Jicaro Island Ecolodge’s private paradise, to the moment you open the gate to your private two-story lakefront villa, constructed with warm, tropical woods, you will sense the magic of the Granada Isletas and the beautiful, sustainably-designed Jicaro. Impeccably designed shared spaces and top-notch personalized service make Jicaro the perfect retreat after a glorious day of kayaking or stand up paddle along the lake.
2. Morgan's Rock Ecolodge & Hacienda, Playa Ocotal
Stunningly situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, Morgan’s Rock is as far from the pressures of everyday life as it’s possible to be. It’s back to nature, but with benefits. Elegant bungalows crafted from reclaimed wood or bamboo feature ocean and rainforest views, private plunge pools and open-air construction that feels wondrously wild. Add a postcard-perfect private beach, farm, acres of private rainforest reserve, and you’re guaranteed a spectacularly luxe stay.
3. Yemaya Island Hideaway, Little Corn Island
With views over the crystalline Caribbean and white sand beaches from every corner of the room, Yemaya’s deliciously deluxe guest suites are designed to maximize the stunning landscape beyond. Be it from the bed or your private veranda, every space is a viewpoint. Sliding doors can be opened, blurring the lines between building and nature, or closed for privacy (or to escape into the air conditioning). All suites come equipped with king beds, ensuite bathrooms with rain showers, and beach towels to take with you when you set out to explore.
4.Calala Island, Pearl Cays
Play castaway on an idyllic private island, the first five-star resort in the unspoiled ‘NiCaribbean’. Perfect for couples looking to really get away from it all, Calala Island has only four luxe beachfront suites shaded by towering palms. It’s blissfully remote, allowing you to unplug and find welcome respite in the sun and sand and surf, but you certainly won’t miss out on fine dining, first-rate cocktails, and unparalleled customer service.
8 Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations in Nicaragua
1. Corn Islands
Nicaragua's Corn Islands, located 70 km off the country's Caribbean coast, are the absolute fulfillment of every Caribbean fantasy you can conjure. Picture sleepy harbors, gentle ocean breezes, crystalline waters, and a very laid-back, Creole-flavored culture. These are some of the best swimming beaches in Nicaragua; the calm water makes these beaches an ideal spot to take a dip. There are domestic flights from Managua, which is the easiest, quickest way to get there (we recommend shelling out for the convenience), but an epic 20+ hour journey involving buses, boats, pangas, ferries, and long delays will also get you here from the mainland. Insiders tip: visit during lobster season, July through March.
Luxury: Yemaya Island Hideaway from $327/night
Mid-Range: Arenas Beach Hotel from $180/night
2. Emerald Coast
We’d recommend steering clear of San Juan del Sur if you’re not in search of the party scene, but don’t fret! There are a string of sublime beaches along the central and southern Pacific coast that offer a quieter, more romantic experience better suited to honeymooners. The Emerald Coast is a magical stretch of coastline, relatively untouched and crowd free, with arguably the most gorgeous, rugged beaches in all of Nicaragua. If you'd ask us which we'd recommend as the best beach in Nicaragua, we'd pick one along this stretch, but it's so hard to decide! To add to that, many of these beaches offer great surf, excellent hiking, and a remote, end-of-the-road kind of vibe that oozes romantic charm.
Luxury: Morgan’s Rock from $429/night
Mid-Range: Aqua Wellness Resort from $100/night
Mid-Range: Mango Rosa Resort from $93/night
Granada is a delightfully fun city, full of 17th century adobe houses, crumbling courtyard gardens and elaborate Italianate villas, set against the serene backdrop of Lake Nicaragua. Whether you take a meandering walk through the colonial streets, catch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, or watch the sunset from the bell tower, you’ll be swooning all over the city.
Luxury: Hotel Plaza Colon from $134/night
Luxury: Tribal Hotel from $160/night
Mid-Range: Los Patios Hotel from $120/night
4. Granada Isletas
Are we the only ones that think lakes are romantic? Maybe it’s water in general, but there’s something so soothing and calm about a beautiful lake view. Thousands of years ago, Mombacho Volcano erupted, throwing enormous chunks of rock into Lake Nicaragua, forming the Isletas de Granada, 365 small islands that vary in size. Now imagine spending a few days hidden away on a small private island in the middle of a lake. Now that's paradise.
Located in northwestern Nicaragua, León is a colonial town full of charm. The small size of the city makes it ideal to explore on foot. Follow one another down the colorful streets to get brunch, and then climb the steps to the roof of the cathedral to enjoy stunning views of the iconic volcanoes and city surrounds.
Enjoy a cup of the finest coffee in the world in the "Pearl of the North". Matagalpa's steep, hilly streets and clean mountain air feel more like a Swiss alpine retreat than the tropics. Rife with rural charm and comfortably nested along a narrow, unassuming stream , there's breathtaking scenery in every direction. Plus, the altitude means crisp, mountain air and the perfect excuse to cuddle up to your new spouse on chilly nights.
Mid-Range: Montebrisa B&B from $120/night
7. Ometepe Island
Wildly romantic, with a heavy dose of laid-back, happy-go-lucky charm, this extraordinary island, located on Lake Nicaragua, is the largest island in the world on a body of fresh water. It boasts a striking, otherworldly beauty – two volcanoes connected by a narrow strip of black sand – and a remote, world-apart mystique. It’s the perfect place for adventurous honeymooners to unwind for a few days in paradise.
8. Pearl Cays
With dazzling turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and lush palms and coastal jungle, this stunning group of islands is beachy paradise at its very best, located in Nicaragua's unspoiled, rarely-visited Caribbean. Remote and secluded, romance is thick in the salty air on the cays, and the views of the night sky, with no light pollution for miles, is to die for.
Luxury: Calala Island from $2350/night
Things to Do on a Honeymoon in Nicaragua
Volcano boarding to hiking misty, mysterious cloud forests, to snorkeling the pristine Caribbean sea surrounding the Corn Islands. It's your honeymoon, so we know you'll want to up the romance ante, but how should you fill your days?
Learn to Surf Near San Juan del Sur
With some of the best surfing in Nicaragua, and a handful of beautiful beaches nearby that beg to be explored, this is a must-do for surf aficionados. And it's a great place to learn if you're just beginning! Pick up a board and catch a wave, or take a beginner lesson to get your bearings. Lessons start from $40 per person.
Zip Line a Volcano
Buckle up and get ready for the ride of a lifetime. Near the base of majestic Mombacho Volcano, carpeted in dry tropical forest, take a zip line adventure through the forest canopy on eleven steel cables and three hanging bridges that connect seventeen platforms. Combine your zip line adventure with a volcano hike or a coffee tour for an added thrill. Tours start from $40 per person.
Meander the Colonial Streets of Granada or León
Walk in the footsteps of Nicaragua’s colonial past, and find yourself transported back in time as you wander the cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses, imagining what life may have been like centuries ago.
Lounge Hidden Beaches on Little Corn Island
Even if Little Corn Island isn't huge, you could easily find a new beach to explore every day you spend here! Hike the perimeter of the island, play in the turquoise surf, and walk jungle paths that wind beneath mango, coconut, and breadfruit trees to find a secluded stretch of sand to call your own for the day.
Find the Fountain of Youth on Ometepe Island
Ometepe Island's chilled-out, slowed down, back-to-nature vibe is akin to nowhere else in Nicaragua. Immerse yourself in the island's stress-free way of life with a visit to the Ojo de Agua, a popular tourist hotspot purported to be the fountain of youth. Legend has it that Ojo de Agua's mineral-rich natural pools - filled with underground spring water that flows from Maderas Volcano - can heal everything from relationship troubles to achy joints and wrinkles. Hey, we can dream, right? Entrance is $3 for foreigners, and $2 for nationals.
Savor World-Class Coffee in Matagalpa
Located along Nicaragua's "coffee route" which winds its way through Jinotega, Matagalpa, Estelí, Nueva Segovia and Madriz, Matagalpa is a prime spot to sip some top-notch cafe in a beautiful alpine location. If you're a coffee lover, you might want to check out a coffee tour, and follow the journey that Nicaraguan coffee takes from bean to brew. As the country's most important export, coffee's impact on the social and economic systems in Nicaragua touch almost every person that lives here. Visit a fair trade coffee farm to learn about and participate in the harvesting, pulping, watching and fermentation of coffee beans. Then, after lunch, head to the dry mill to experience a cupping and tasting session in the lab. Tours start from $50 per person.
Surf an Active Volcano near León
Cerro Negro, the youngest volcano in Central America, is an active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range. Strikingly beautiful, Cerro Negro's black, gravelly basalt cinder cone creates a stark contrast against surrounding hillsides and clear blue sky, giving rise to its name, which means Black Hill in Spanish.
Begin your adventure on a winding, gravel road along the entrance to the park, where you'll pick up your sand board and protective gear. Then, hike the rocky slopes to the summit, where you'll get a quick safety overview, and slide down the volcano on your board, taking you to the bottom in only a few seconds, at over 50 km per hour! Tours start from $35.
Play a Part in Turtle Conservation in Jiquilillo
Discover four species of sea turtles that return each year to nest and lay their eggs along the Pacific Coast: olive ridley, leatherback, hawksbill and green sea turtle. Create unforgettable memories with a visit to a conservation agency in Jiquilillo where you can help to release baby turtles at sunset. By donation.
Peer into an Active Volcano by Night
Don't miss seeing Masaya Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, at night. Masaya boasts a glowing lava lake inside its crater best viewed in the dark. From $25 per person.
Beat the Tropical Heat at Apoyo Lagoon
Spend your day inside an extinct volcanic crater in the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, located between the departments of Masaya and Granada in Nicaragua. At the center of the crater, Apoyo Lagoon is one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the country, with clean, clear water in hues of blue and turquoise, surrounded by lush, forested slopes. Stunning views and a serene vibe makes Apoyo a popular destination for visitors that come to spend the day hiking, swimming and basking in the sun on the dark volcanic sand beaches.