Biking, hiking, fishing, birding: These are just a few of the choices when planning activities. Adrenaline lovers can zip over jungles or surf the best breaks in the Americas. Those of a gentler disposition will get a kick out of the fantastic opportunities to see pristine nature and peer into volcanic craters.
There are an infinite number of ways to plan an active vacation in Nicaragua. One major consideration is the availability of outfitters. Mountain biking and kayaking, for example, should be huge here, but unfortunately, there are not many operators offering such tours -- not yet, anyway. This section lays out your options, from tour operators who run multi-activity package tours that often include stays at ecolodges, to the best places to pursue active endeavors, to an overview of national parks and bioreserves.
Canopy tours have taken off (literally) in Nicaragua, and no wonder, as they offer a unique and exhilarating way to experience the forest. By bringing you to the treetops, they allow you to see the place most of the wildlife lives -- although most animals are frightened off by gringos flying through the air on a regular basis.
Most of the tours consist of strapping yourself into a climbing harness and walking to a platform approximately 30m (98 ft.) above the forest floor. Usually 10 to 20 platforms connected by metal cables form a course. You, with the help of a guide, will attach your harness to the cable and jump, flying through the air to the next platform, where another guide will be waiting. There's little regulation of the tours, so be sure you feel confident in the course and the safety standards before setting off.
There is no jungle in the capital Managua, but a small crater lake known as Loma de Tiscapa provides a three-platform canopy run (just be sure not to fall into the heavily polluted water). Volcán Mombacho, close to Granada, has two excellent canopy runs, including a 17-platform zip route designed by the inventor of the sport. Another great run is Da Flying Frog just outside San Juan del Sur, which has lovely views of the ocean as you zip along.
Nicaragua's most idiosyncratic extreme sport takes place close to the city of León in the northwest of the country, where the black slopes of Cerro Negro are attracting legions of adventure seekers intent on doing something different at 64kmph (40 mph). If you think that trekking up the side of an active volcano and then shooting down its side sounds like a good time, be sure to check out this unique activity, which has even made it to the pages of The New York Times.
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.