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Nicaragua has been going through a rough time over the last year. Given the many issues surrounding the government and violent protests that happened as a result, tourism has taken a massive hit. As a result, those who have remained behind, and rely on the tourism market to survive, are suffering two-fold in the current scene.

However, even considering the unrest, Nicaragua is still open for business. It might not be as calm as it has been in recent years but that isn’t stopping hundreds of people from visiting this Central American beauty. From those we’ve spoken to, Nicaragua is as fantastic as always, albeit a little quieter than before.

One popular method of entry on the gringo trail is to Leon, from El Tunco in El Salvador. While in Leon, the popular backpacker city in the north of the country, you can’t miss the chance to go boarding down the side of an active volcano. It’s truly one of the best experiences you can have in Nicaragua.

Also, just 30-minutes from Leon is the surf town of Las Penitas. At the far end of town, things are a busy enough vibe. However, much of the strip of beach is all but abandoned. It’s difficult to fathom how such a beautiful area so close to a major city, can sit almost completely undeveloped. It’s like a tourism time bomb waiting to blow.

After Leon, most people skip the grungy capital of Managua and spend some time in Granada. This colourful colonial city is a perfect place to kick back for a few days before heading further south. Being the tourism-heavy town it is, prices can be a little higher than elsewhere in Nicaragua. Thankfully, it’s still very possible to eat in Granada for cheap.

From Granada, people typically head to one of three places. For those looking to relax and disconnect, they head to the stunning Corn Islands, just off the Caribbean coast. Others, looking for a more accessible beach vibe head southwest to a long strip of little beach villages that stretch down to the Costa Rican border. We spent two weeks in Popoyo, kicking back under the sun and playing in the waves. It was a fantastic break from the noise and crowds of the cities.

Finally, almost every visitor to Nicaragua can’t leave without visiting Isla de Ometepe. This Volcanic island in the centre of Lago de Nicaragua is the perfect blend of chill and adventure - truly one of the best places in the entire country.