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  • Diving in the Corn Islands (Nicaragua): Spotted tiger rays, blacktip sharks, stingrays, spider crabs, parrot fish, angel fish, barracuda, and triggerfish; they are all out there in the pristine waters, waiting for you to drop in and say hello. The Corn Islands have all the glorious turquoise waters and coral reefs you associate with the Caribbean, but without the crowds. Better still, you don't need an oxygen tank on your back, as the luminous, shallow bays are perfect for snorkeling.
  • Exploring Isla de Ometepe (Nicaragua): Catch the boat across to the serene twin peaks of the Concepción and Maderas volcanoes that rise out of Lago de Nicaragua, forming a muddy jungle island. Fireflies dance beneath banana trees as people on old buses, bikes, horses, and even oxen negotiate the rutted roads and countless trails. Rocks carved into zoomorphic figures and pre-Columbian petroglyphs dot the landscape of tropical forest and patchwork fields. Volcán Concepción is still very much alive, hurling rocks and spewing lava four times in the last century. The island is an idyllic adventure spot, a rural retreat, and a hiker's paradise.
  • Sailing Down the Río San Juan (Nicaragua): Float down a broad, majestic expanse of fresh water that pours slowly out of Lake Nicaragua towards the Atlantic Ocean 210km (130 miles) away. It passes rainforests and cattle ranches, stilted shacks on the water, quiet river lodges, treacherous rapids, and a 300-year-old Spanish fort called El Castillo. The shoreline teems with wildlife, especially at the mammoth Indo-Maíz Biological Reserve on the Nicaraguan side.
  • Touring Coffee Farms (Northern Nicaragua): See the "golden grain" processing facilities of historic plantations set amidst the verdant slopes of Matagalpa. Fincas such as Esperanza Verde and Selva Negra have some lovely trails to hike and wildlife to spy upon, as well as some excellent accommodations.
  • Visiting Volcán Masaya (Masaya, Nicaragua): The Spanish called this volcano the "Gates of Hell," and you can understand why when you see its boulder-spitting craters and glowing red lava fields. Volcán Masaya is easily one of the most accessible and scariest live volcanoes in the region -- it's also one of the most exciting to see up close. Also worth a climb or look are Volcán Maderas and Volcán Concepción.
  • Turtle-Watching in San Juan del Sur (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua): After a spot of sun worshiping on Nicaragua's beaches, come out at night and see one of nature's true wonders -- massive turtle hatchings on the very beautiful Playa La Flor. The best time to see turtles nesting is August and September.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.