Nicaragua is an awesome adventurous family travel destination, with plenty of amazing activities in Nicaragua for active families! While it is a small country in size, it packs in a lot of adrenaline filled activities for the hardy adventuring family.
We aren’t going to specify what age children will be able to do these activities, the intention of this post is to give YOU ideas about the range of awesome activities in Nicaragua that are available. It is up to you to read more and assess whether your own children will embrace the adventure or not. There are some challenging activities here. Volcano surfing or hiking a volcano will be suited to hardy adventure teens, while Kayaking and horse-riding are a little easier and suitable for as young as tweens.
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Volcano Surfing At Cerro Negro (Leon)
Surf a volcano? Whattt? Of the many crazy things we’ve seen around the world this one is one of the crazier. This is not sandboarding down soft dunes; this is climbing to the top of a black stone volcano and then sliding down on boards. We were based in Leon when we did this tour and there were plenty of local travel agencies offering daily departures. A must do for the thrill seeker!
Learn To Surf On The Nicaraguan Coast (various locations)
The thrill of catching a wave is second to none!!! Apart from easy waves to learn on, the climate in Nicaragua is perfect for hours in the water. We’ve had some fun times learning to surf and this is something that most young people should try at least once in their life.
Climb A Volcano (Ometepe Island)
Feel like climbing a volcano for a bit of a challenge?
Ometepe Island consists of the two incredibly picturesque volcanoes. Concepcion (1610 metres – around 10-12 hours hiking) and Maderas (1394 metres around 7-8 hours hiking). We’ve attempted (but not completed) a climb of Concepcion and turned back because the winds and weather made the ascent difficult. Some points were near vertical and required not only good physical ability as well as a head for heights! But the views and challenge are worth it. Do your research before you go as there are pros and cons of each climb and stunning views along the way.
Depending on where you choose to stay, your accommodation will be able to provide guide options. Make sure you are able to converse with your guide and you are confident of their abilities.
Kayaking (Various locations)
We always feel adventurous when we head out in a kayak and there are a couple of great kayaking opportunities in Nicaragua. You can explore the Rio Istiam on Ometepe and have the chance to see turtles, caimans, or even a Howler Monkey.
A little easier to access (especially if you are short of time or have younger kids) is the Laguna Apoyo near Granada. This stunning crater lake offers your kiddos the chance for an easy kayak and how cool to say that they have kayaked in a volcanic crater. We have spent a leisurely day at the Laguna Beach Club using their facilities for a fee. A great day escape from the heat of Granada.
Looking for things to do in Granada with kids? Check out our post 11 Great Things In Granada With Kids!
Photo: Kayaking on Ometepe Island
Zip Lining On Mombacho Volcano (Granada)
This is a fun family activity as you zip through the cloud forest on the lower slopes of the Mombacho volcano near Granada. There are 10 platforms, and the zips are of medium challenge. You are often over the forest canopy and it doesn’t feel as high as other zip lines. There are a range of birds that live in the area and zip lining is one of the premiere adrenaline filled activities in Nicaragua you can’t miss!
You can combine your trip to the Mombacho Zip line with a tour to the top of the Mombacho Volcano which includes easy walks around the top and views across Granada, the Isletas, and some Crater Lakes.
Photo: We’ve done this zip line many years ago. During this particular visit Mumma was pregnant, so the photo is of her mum zipping through the Nicaraguan rain-forest at 66 years old.
Horse Riding Activities In Nicaragua (various locations)
Nicaraguans are crazy about horses and it is one of the main family activities in Nicaragua. So it’s no surprise that there are plenty of establishments offering riding. I’ve included this last because, for die-hard adventurers, going for a horse ride might not fit your idea of an “adrenaline activity”. On the other hand, it might be the perfect adventure for you and your kids.
Ometepe Island has a number of Fincas (that is Spanish for farm) that offer horse rides to the waterfalls on Maderas Island. We have been recommended Finca Magdalena and Finca Montania Sagrada (Haris Horses) but we recommend that you research before arrival.
If combining a beach stay with some horse adventures, check out Rancho Chilamate.
Photos: Riding with littlies at Catarina & (sunset shot) Nicaraguans love their horses! This shot is of a local enjoying the sunset at Masachapa Beach.
Exploring the Somoto Canyon (Esteli)
Only recently discovered, the Somoto Canyon is an amazing sight and one of the oldest rock formations in Central America. Part of the excitement of this trip is its sheer remoteness. To visit, you need to pass through little visited Northern Nicaragua which was once the stronghold of the Sandinista guerrillas. Once there, you can hike the polished floor, tour the canyon in boats, or float on tires. Those looking for a real thrill can abseil the 60 metre high walls.
Located in the far North of Nicaragua, this site is right near the Honduran border. About a 3-hours’ drive from Matagalpa or 4-hours plus from Leon. This site is on our Nicaragua bucket list. We plan to visit soon and also want to experience some coffee farms in Matagalpa.
On our trip we are planing to stay in local home-stays offered by the Tree Huggers organization. We have not traveled with them, and so aren’t necessarily recommending them. However we love their ethos, “develop the tourism industry in an environmentally responsible and community conscious way”.
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