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Cities in Nicaragua 🇳🇮 The A-Z Guide
Tiny country, only a few options here...
Nicaragua, the land of…
World-class rum and cigars
Dirt cheap prices
This “backwater” country in Central America is one of my favorites and I will be returning soon.
However, Nicaragua is a small Central American country. With a population of less than 7 million people, there aren’t many cities to check out here.
The nature in this country more than makes up for the lack of big city amenities. Plus, this is one of the safest countries in Central America – even though it is exceptionally poor.
But where should an intrepid shithole enthusiast like yourself visit here?
Here’s where I’d recommend:
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Cities in Nicaragua 🇳🇮
In such a small country, we have limited options here.
There’s one big city, a couple colonial gems, some surf towns, and a couple Caribbean islands.
That’s it when it comes to Nicaragua.
Let’s dig in…
Population: 1.5 million metro
Suggest Length of Stay: 1 day to 3 months
True backwater capital of this small “communist” country.
Lacking many amenities you’d expect in a capital city – even in Central America.
Medical care isn’t great here, there’s no true walkable neighborhoods, and it’s a shithole through and through. However, I spent over a month here and loved it.
The nightlife is bumping on the weekends and there’s truly no other gringos around. If you want to get some work done, get off-the-beaten-path, and have some exotic value — you might love Managua.
Just don’t expect excitement or world-class amenities.
Oh, and there are for sure better spots in LatAm overall.
No gringos around
Cheap as hell
Safe as hell
Easy access to great nature nearby
No good neighborhoods
Lack of amenities and medical care
No hot girls walking around until nighttime hits
Not much of a “food” scene
San Juan del Sur
Population: 15,000 people
Suggest Length of Stay: 1 week to 3 months
This is an expat and/or backpacker surf town and hub on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.
Amazing vibes. Great surfing. Nice restaurant and bar scene due to all the expats. Cheap as hell and great value. Decent weather for most of the year.
Overall, this is probably the most livable city/town in Nicaragua.
Many expats live here for half the year or more. The town is lively year around due to the backpackers and upper-class Nicaraguans coming in on the weekends.
You will get bored here, though — unless you’re a surfer.
There’s also a decent fight gym — BJJ, MMA, etc.
Good nightlife for such a small spot
Great mountain views
Internet speeds have skyrocketed over the years
Expat scene w/ international school
Hard-ish to get to
Could get bored here if not a surfer
Medical care still needs improvement
Women average at best
Suggest Length of Stay: 1 day to 2 weeks
Small colonial city on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.
Backpacker vibes with hostels, Spanish schools, and bars lining the streets in the center of the city.
Not a place I’d personally spend much time in Nicaragua, but popular with a number of travelers.
It’s super cheap with easy access to some popular tourism spots. The backpacker nightlife is decent and it’s a solid spot to learn Spanish.
Central location w/ easy access to beaches and Managua
Good nature nearby w/ Lake Nicaragua
Cheap as hell
Good place to study Spanish
Bit slow for my tastes
Lack of amenities and high-end infrastructure
Suggest Length of Stay: 3 days to a month
Second largest city in Nicaragua. Cool tourism here and close to the beach. Tons of universities in town. Backpacker hotspot.
Good vibes overall, far preferable to Granada in my opinion.
I’d still take Managua and San Juan del Sur over Leon, but this city for sure closes out my top-3 in Nicaragua.
Well worth a week or two. Just make sure to go sandboarding.
Second biggest city in Nicaragua
Close to the beach
Could get boring after a week or two
Mucho gringo of course
Suggest Length of Stay: 3 days to 2 weeks
One of the bigger cities in Nicaragua.
Known for world-class cigars and considered to have the best looking women in Nicaragua.
I haven’t been, but the city looks gorgeous, situated in the mountains. Need to visit soon.
Unique tourism nearby
Not many gringo
Lack of modern amenities
Far from the tourism hotspots in Nicaragua
Only a few things to do, you will get bored
Population: Less than 10K
Suggest Length of Stay: 3 days to 2 weeks
Little Corn and Big Corn islands. Located off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Small islands with stunning beaches and laid back vibes.
One of the cheaper spots in the Caribbean. Some backpackers, but not overrun at all.
The only place in Nicaragua where you’ll find crystal clear blue waters and Caribbean vibes.
Easy way to get here is a flight from the capital on a local airline. Well worth a few days for beach vibes.
Beaches can compete with many Caribbean spots
One of the cheapest Caribbean beach spots
Safe as can be
Easy to fly to
Not sure how good the Internet is
Lack of yachting scene and marina for Caribbean spot
Lots of rain
Better to take a flight unless already on the coast
Other Spots in Nicaragua 🇳🇮
Personally, I’d stick to San Juan del Sur and Managua while in Nicaragua for the vast majority of time.
Unless you really want to get off the beaten path and explore.
If so, you’ll find small cities dotting the countryside here and some incredible “hidden gem” surf spots.
That’s about it.
Here’s a few of the smaller cities mentioned that might be worth a weekend checking out if you’re living in the country:
These three cities all have over 100,000 people in the metro areas and offer an authentic Nicaraguan experience.
Gorgeous mountains, close to beaches, and some unique stuff to do.
You will get bored if you stay too long. FYI.
Nicaragua City Guide | Overall
That about does it. A full breakdown of where to go in Nicaragua and why.
This is a tiny country, so we’ve legitimately covered all the spots 99% of travelers would be interested in here — outside of some hidden gem surf spots on the Pacific coast.
Ya tu sabes,