Start and end of our trip is León. The city is located about 90 km (55 miles) northeast of the capital Managua and about 20 km (12 miles) from the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by several, partly still active volcanoes.
First we ride to the northern highlands of Nicaragua up to the border with Honduras. We explore the Canyon of Somoto and then continue on little twisty mountain roads, good trails and tarmac roads.
We see jungles, banana plantations, wild rivers, cloud forests, tobacco and coffee plantations and get explained how to make a quality cigar or to grow and process coffee.
After several days in the cooler mountainous region of Nicaragua we head south and swim in a clear volcanic crater lake before we visit the beautiful colonial city of Granada. We visit the active volcano Masaya and look in his smouldering throat and we ride with the bikes the volcano Mombacho to enjoy the stunning views of the vast Lake Nicaragua (Lago Cocibolca) and the Pacific Ocean. It continues with the ferry to the volcanic island of Ometepe, in the already mentioned Lake Nicaragua. The island consists of two perfectly shaped volcanoes, which you can also climb. We can explore the island by bike or you can just enjoy a walk or relax on the beach. Now it goes to San Juan del Sur. The well-known seaside resort is the starting point for exploration trips along the coast north and south of the city. On lonely asphalt and gravel roads, we explore different, secluded, palm-fringed beaches. Perfect for swimming and relaxing.
Finally, we ride with another stopover at the beach again towards Leon where we will finish our journey with a dinner.
Arrival at the international airport in Managua.
Transport to León.
Night in León
We explore together the old colonial city of León. Everyone has time to look around a bit and also to organize things like withdrawing money, etc.
We see the old town with its many squares and churches, as well as the busy market life. Then we try the bikes and ride to the nearby beaches Poneloya and Las Penitas. Since we are on the 1st Travel day, we do not want to overdo it. On the beach is an opportunity to recover from the long trip and the time change.
We start in León and ride along abandoned roads, with different volcanoes along the way, to the shore of Lake Managua (Lago Xolothlan). There we have a wonderful view of the perfectly formed volcano Momotombo, which is the landmark of Nicaragua. Continue on lonely paths into the hill country up to Esteli. Here we visit a small cigar factory. We then continue on the "Panamericana" (Pan-American Highway) to Somoto. The small town is located near the border to Honduras. Here we stay in the best hotel of the town.
From Somoto we ride over some paved roads, but mainly dirt roads, to the remote mountain region east of the Pan-American Highway. Here you are completely away from tourism, in a landscape that does not get the normal tourist to face. It feels like the old Wild West. You see men with "cowboy hats" on their horses, "campesinos" with their oxen and the women washing their clothes in the river. We ride on serpentine roads through forests and banana plantations along the river landscapes and rice fields. It is perfect to enjoy a curvy up and down with our light and handy bikes. In the evening we come again to Estelí, where we stay overnight.
In Esteli we can visit a cigar factory. Then we ride towards nature reserve "Miraflores" and further to the "Lake Apanas" and via Jinotega to the mountain hotel "Aguas del Arenal" between Jinotega and Matagalpa on 1300 m altitude. There it can be quite chilly at night. A jacket or sweater is recommended here.
Today we take a day trip. From the mountain hotel, we ride to Matagalpa and then east. We come down to 400 m and the scenery is very tropical and it is much warmer again. We ride to a nature reserve with virgin forest and wild waterfalls and on to lonely and winding mountain roads through small villages back to the mountain hotel. The hotel is surrounded by a nature reserve. Anyone who wants to can make guided walks with the German owner. He also explains the coffee growing and processing. Even horseback riding can be arranged.
From the Mountain Hotel "Aguas del Arenal" we take the road over the "Coffee Town" Matagalpa further south - mainly on good asphalt roads - into the hot lowlands. We visit the viewpoint of the Laguna de Apoyo (volcanic crater lake), before we go on serpentine roads down to the lake shore. There we stay in a hotel directly on the sandy beach. The water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming.
From the Volcano Lake we ride over small streets to Masaya and then to the Volcano Masaya. Here you can look directly into the crater throat. The volcano is active all year round and you can see and smell the fumes and smoke that rise from the volcano.
Then we drive to the beautiful colonial city of Granada. Here we have now some time to look at the city in peace. Granada is the oldest colonial city in the northern Americas. Founded in 1524 and still a jewel of colonial architecture. There are many restored colonial buildings, from the mansion on exclusive hotels, museums to churches and cathedrals. Granada is always worth a visit. Here we stay in one of the best hotels of the city, right in the centre, located just 50 meters from the Plaza Central (Central Square). The hotel has all the amenities you could want, including 2 swimming pools.
We take a kayak trip to the small islands which are upstream Granada in Lake Nicaragua. Here we learn about the flora and fauna of the area. Back in Granada we enjoy the evening atmosphere in the streets in the centre with its numerous bars and restaurants.
From Granada we ride to San Jorge and take the ferry to the island of Ometepe. The island consists of two volcanoes (Concepción and Maderas) which are interconnected. Here we stay in a hotel on the sandy beach with unforgettable sunsets. You have time you relax on the beach and swim.
Again, do you have different options. You can just enjoy the beach and wander around a bit. You can, depending on weather conditions, climb one of the two volcanoes, rent a kayak and paddle to various islands or a river delta or circumnavigate the island by motorcycle.
We take the ferry back to the mainland and drive to San Juan del Sur, the most famous seaside resort on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. Also known for its nightlife. Here we explore on small gravel roads deserted beaches south of the city before we stay in a hotel in the centre of the town.
On small gravel roads we drive to various beaches north of San Juan del Sur. There is plenty of time for swimming and relaxing before we reach our special hotel situated on a cliff on the coast. Here you can just enjoy the incredible views, surf or swim at one of the secluded beaches.
Unfortunately it’s time to ride again towards León. We drive on lonely roads through fields and woods up to 900 meters altitude. We reach the Pan-American Highway and exit just before Managua to take the old and little used road back to León. Overnight in León with farewell dinner.
Return to the international airport in Managua or further stay in Nicaragua.
Total distance of the tour: about 1700 km (1060 miles)
Stages from 50 km up to 250 km (30 - 155 miles)
We also have a place in our escort vehicle for companions, who won’t ride a motorcycle/or may simply want to share a rental bike.