Autumn is the perfect time of year to plan a trip to a lot of destinations around the globe. With weather conditions more stable than in spring and not as hot during the summer, tourists often pick October to travel as they can explore the sights to their hearts’ content. Unfortunately, this is not the best time to visit Nicaragua – a pretty cheap and still not much-visited country, perfect for those searching for a less touristy destination.
Of course, don’t let this put you off! Let’s see what you can and can’t expect in Nicaragua in October when it comes to the weather, places to visit, and things to do.
Nicaragua – The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes
With a lot to offer, Nicaragua, the largest country of Central America, is a frequent choice of travelers looking to add some excitement to their vacation. With its abundant natural beauty consisting of numerous volcanoes (many of them active), stunning beaches spanning across two oceans, remote islands offering peace and tranquility, wild rainforests and tropical mountains, as well as rich cultural heritage and amazing colonial architecture, there is a lot to explore and many things to do.
Unfortunately, due to civil unrest resulting in 30 casualties, which shook Nicaragua in April 2018, tourism declined significantly. Many countries advised their citizens to reconsider and cancel all their travel plans. But most of that is over for a while now, making Nicaragua completely safe to visit once again.
Read more: South American Countries You Should Avoid
Nicaragua in October – The Weather
If you were planning a visit to this beautiful country in October, we have to disappoint you. Promoted as a destination that can be enjoyed almost throughout the whole year, September and October are the only months not suitable for traveling.
As a tropical, humid, and hot destination, its wet season begins at the end of May, but Nicaragua can be enjoyed right up to the end of August, without many discomforts. Caribbean coastline is an exception, where tropical rain showers can happen at any time.
The heaviest rains befall Nicaragua in September and October, with 19 rainy days on average, which can heavily disrupt your visit. The temperatures usually oscillate between 71°F and 87°F.
So if you were planning your visit in October, you better postpone it since you would not be able to fully enjoy and experience all of Nicaragua´s attractions.
What to See in Nicaragua
If for some reason, you still decide to visit Nicaragua in October, you might be lucky and it will not rain as much. Anyway, you should not miss out on its countless attractions.
Nicaragua is probably most famous for many volcanoes – 40 in total! Most of them are dormant, but 19 of them are still active. Such lush vegetation that Nicaragua is known for comes as a result of the long history of the island´s volcanic activity, making the soil highly fertile. These remarkable volcanic landscapes will amaze even the most experienced tourists. The highest volcanoes are San Cristóbal (1780 m) and Concepción (1610 m). A place not to miss is Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua – the world´s largest volcanic island located in a freshwater lake, formed by two volcanoes.
The Lake Nicaragua is the second largest in the Americas, after Lake Titicaca in Peru. It is a home to bull sharks that somehow crossed the rapids of the San Juan River from the Caribbean Sea. The other largest lake of Central America is Lake Managua, located inside a crater, offering its visitors a spectacular view of the Momotombo Volcano.
Its west coastlines stretching along the Pacific Ocean and the eastern one along the Caribbean Sea, making Nicaragua home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you choose San Juan del Sur, a charming and peaceful fishing town filled with local seafood restaurants and pristine beaches just a bit further down (La Flor, El Coco, El Astillero, etc.), or some of the action-packed surfer paradise beaches like Las Peñitas or Playa Maderas, you will not make a bad choice.
The Caribbean Sea is packed with white-sand paradisiacal beaches, characterized by crystal clear waters and tropical palm trees. The most visited are the Corn Islands, but if you are looking for a bit more secluded place to relax, a group of very small islands called the Pearl Keys, accessible from the Pearl Lagoon, might be exactly what you need.
If you are more of a tropical nature lover, you will have a hard time choosing amongst some of the most exuberant rainforests in the world. Relatively untouched, Nicaragua´s forests are a natural habitat for many animal and plant species, as well as many indigenous cultures. American Indians make up around 5% of the whole population and are located mostly on the Caribbean coast.
Two big reserves can be visited, Indio Maiz Biological reserve and Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, where stunning trees and various rainforest animals can be seen. There are also tropical dry forests, located on the Pacific side, where flora and fauna survive on scarce amounts of water, making the forest look dry during the dry season.
Cloud forests are very interesting phenomena, found usually on the mountain and volcano peaks which are constantly surrounded by clouds, like Maderas and Mombacho Volcanoes. Due to permanent humidity here, the trees are always green and many endemic species can be found, like orchids growing on tree branches.
A very rare type of forest, dwarf forest, is found only at the top of the Mombacho volcano, where very strong winds blow all the time, preventing trees and plants from reaching their average height.
For those looking for a cultural injection, Nicaragua´s stunning colonial architecture is something to see. For centuries travelers have been amazed by Granada´s charming and well-kept streets and plazas.
On the other side, Leon leaves a somewhat opposite, maybe bit more authentic impression, with centuries-old deteriorated houses and churches, adorned with magnificent murals. The León Cathedral is the largest one in Central America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Read more: October in Asia – Where to Go?
Things to Do in Nicaragua
If you are a type of tourist who prefers a more active vacation, there are many activities to fill out even the longest of stays.
As the main reason for visiting, hiking to the top of Nicaragua´s many volcanoes is a lifetime experience for many visitors. For those of a more adventurous spirit, a night hike is a more exhilarating option, with a stunning night sky and glowing lava to behold. True adrenalin junkies can go volcano boarding on a piece of wood down the active volcano Cerro Negro.
Whether you are an avid surfer or you have just decided to try it out, Nicaragua´s beaches are perfect for either. During the whole year, there are big waves to ride, the best ones being on the Pacific side. San Juan del Sur is where most surfers gather, alongside Playa Tamarindo which is more suitable for beginners, and Playa Maderas for some reef breaks.
Even though it is still in the early stages of development, snorkeling in Nicaragua can be breathtaking. Best spots can be found near the Corn Islands as well as the Pearl Keys, where you can admire a 12 km long colorful reef and mysterious caves. The marine life is rich and diverse so you will most probably have a chance to see dolphins, whales, sea turtles, as well as a bit more dangerous sharks, stingrays, and barracudas.
Lake Nicaragua is the paradise for canoeing and kayaking lovers. You can paddle down the San Juan River, once filled with pirates, through the jungle to deserted beaches. There are many historic ruins and small riverside towns to be seen and hidden lagoons to be visited.
Even though you should definitely include this amazing country in your list of trip ideas, try your best to visit it during the most suitable time of year, when you will get a chance to have the most complete experience. Unfortunately, October won’t provide you with that many opportunities to explore but who knows…maybe you are just lucky enough to take the risk.