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Diving in Nicaragua

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Nicaragua offers a variety of gorgeous shorelines, rare corals, and even volcanic crater lakes for divers seeking a truly unique experience.

Diving in Nicaragua

Quick facts

Nicaragua has some of the most well-preserved and secluded dive spots in the world. From the rock reefs of San Juan del Sur in the Pacific to the untouched corals of the Corn Islands off the Atlantic coast, Nicaragua offers diverse, world-class diving.

You can swim with eels, angors, sharks, rays, groupers, and African pompano along the 12 km stretch of reef in the Caribbean Sea. Hit Little Corn’s best dive, Blowing Rock, or the alternatively popular and closer to shore White Holes. For the more adventurous shark seekers, Shark Hole is a network of tunnels and swim-throughs beneath the reef, home to black tip, bull, and reef sharks.

For those looking to mix it up, there is also freshwater diving in the volcanic crater lakes of Apoyo and Xiloá. This is typically for more experienced divers, as there is ongoing biological research, but if you are able to go, you might just be able to catch a glimpse of one of the 10+ undescribed fish species there.

Water temperatures stay pleasantly warm in the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit (high 20s Celsius) year round, with a visibility of 50-70 feet (15-21 meters).

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Connected to both the Carribbean and the Pacific Ocean, there are a wide range of potential marine encounters.

Common deep sea fish include Sailfish, Black Marlin, Mackerel, and Tuna. Meanwhile, the reefs are full of Angelfish, Parrotfish, Red Snappers, and Doctorfish.

For those interested in larger sea life, dolphins, turtles, and reef sharks are all commonplace.

Add this to the dozens of species of coral found on Nicaragua's coasts and you can look forward to many beautiful dives.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

With a little under 6 million people, Nicaragua is the largest and least densely populated country in Central America. Bordering both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, fittingly named Nicaragua, meaning “here united with the water,” is located between Honduras and Costa Rica.

It is also known as the land of many volcanoes and lakes. Nicaragua is home to the buzzing city of Leon, the more remote Corn Islands, and the largest freshwater body in South America, Lago de Nicaragua. It also boasts wonderfully preserved colonial cities and vast areas of lush rainforests, making it one of the most underrated and untouched travel destinations in the world.

Nicaragua has been fully independent since 1838, but still continued to endure unrest, dictatorship, and more recently, a decade-long civil war that ended peacefully in 1990. Today, 25 years later, Nicaragua remains welcoming and tranquil, with a growing ecotourism industry and increasing number of visitors every year.

The lively and blissful culture of the “Nicas,” mixed with their laidback Caribbean-like pace, make this country a haven of hospitality for all kinds of travelers.

Other attractions

Nicaragua is a tropical paradise offering many incredible experiences for the adventurous traveler. For those who love boarding activities, consider surfing San Juan del Sur, or "volcano boarding" down the sandy slopes of Cerro Negro, an active volcano. If you enjoy city life, skip Managua and head straight to Granada and Leon. These two cities offer beautiful architecture - with some buildings and ruins dating back to the 16th century. Finally, for a beautiful and often muddy hike, visit Miraflores. Exploring this national park with a mandatory guide is an incredible experience. While trekking through the jungle and enjoy its many rivers, farms, and waterfalls, you will rarely meet another tourist. If the purpose of your trip is to "get away from it all", visiting Miraflores is a must.

Getting there

The major airlines serving Nicaragua's airport in Managua include United, American, and Delta. The least expensive airlines connecting to the United States and other Central American countries are Copa, Taca, and Spirit airlines.

Once in Nicaragua, getting around is as easy as catching a cab, taking a bus, or putting out your thumb to hitchhike. Ask a local what a reasonable taxi fair is before taking a cab - as the drivers often take advantage of tourists. And while hitchhiking is commonplace, solo female travelers should be careful - especially when carrying all of their luggage.

UTC-06:00

Time zone

NIO

Currency

+505

Calling code

120 V

Electric volt

A, 

B

Plug type

MGA

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.