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Home > Travel Destinations > Nicaragua > In the Footsteps of Vanderbilt & Mark Twain

In the Footsteps of Vanderbilt & Mark Twain

10 days / 9 nights

Package Overview

Discover Nicaragua´s remote areas: the majestic river San Juan, a major transport hub operated by Cornelius Vanderbilt during California´s gold rush and admired by famous writer Mark Twain, and the Caribbean paradise Corn Island. And of course, a trip to Nicaragua is not complete without a visit to its colonial jewel, Granada.

Agent Commission Starting At: $184.50

Package Pricing

Package starting at: $1845.00 PP * Prices based on double occupancy. Prices per person in USD.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1

You arrive in Nicaragua. At the airport you will be picked up by our representative and brought to your hotel in Managua.

Managua, Nicaragua's capital is home to almost two million inhabitants and is easily the largest city in Nicaragua. Managua has a lot to offer its visitors: theaters, restaurants, night clubs, bars, and cinemas to name a few. At Roberto Huembes market, you can experience an authentic Nicaraguan street market and buy well made souvenirs and handicrafts.

Natural reserves and beach destinations are also within an arm's reac. Within the city you can enjoy the views of the Tiscapa Lagoon (of volcanic origin) where you can even do a canopy tour. Just outside the city, the Montibelli bird and butterfly reserve and the Chocoyero national reserve are also recommended. Furthermore, Pochomil and Montelimar, located only an hour away offer some excellent beaches.

Accommodations Managua

Day 2

In the morning you have a city tour showing you the highlights of Managua. In the afternoon you fly to San Carlos, where a public boat will take you to the charming river town El Castillo.

El Castillo, originally called the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, is one of Spain's most permanent colonial legacies in the Rio San Juan region of Nicaragua. Built to protect the Spanish from English pirates, it is a historically important site located in an incredibly bio diverse area. The town of Castillo, located adjacently to the fortress by the same name, houses a museum telling of its intriguing history, and the fortress is open to the general public. While there, try to visualize the violent past, given the tranquility of the place this is not an easy task.

Managua – Half day City Tour

Nicaragua has a very interesting political and cultural history and Managua is the center of it all. On this tour, you will have the opportunity to explore both the historical and modern facets of the city and learn about the interesting events that took place not so long ago. Your first stop will be Tiscapa Crater Lake where you will get to view the entire city from above. On a clear day, you will be able to see several volcanoes which lay north of the city. There is a stark contrast between the historic and modern aspects of the area. You can’t miss the large silhouette of the famous revolutionary General Sandino statue that stands overlooking the Tiscapa Crater Lake.

Next, head over to the old city where you will visit the National Palace and Museum, the Old Cathedral, the National Theater and the President’s house. Discover the authentic Roberto Huembes’ market; packed full of people and offering everything from tropical fruits and vegetables to car parts and handicrafts; this is truly an authentic market experience. Finish the tour in the city of Managua with its shopping malls, bars, restaurants and other attractions.

Accommodations in El Castillo

Breakfast included

Day 3

After breakfast you will take a tour along the Aguas Frescas trail. You start from El Castillo with a 45 minute scenic boat ride on San Juan river. After reaching the Indio Maiz Reserve and the start of the trail. The Indio Maiz Reserve is home to numerous animal species, among which are deer, wild boars, pumas, sloths, jaguars, manatees, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys, poison dart frogs, snakes, crocodiles, turtles, and iguanas. You walk for 3 hours through the rain forest after which you return to your boat to observe some animals. The tour ends with a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Bartola river.

Accommodations in El Castillo

Breakfast included

Day 4


Transfer to Sabalos Lodge

The Sabalos Lodge is located on the San Juan River and practices real ecotourism, where nature, a rustic setting, and the elemental comforts needed in the middle of the wet tropical jungle of Nicaragua are combined. They are surrounded by abundant native plants and resident and seasonally migratory animals: a large number of birds, varieties of mammals, and many species of reptiles, among others. It s a paradise for bird-watchers. Sabalos Lodge offers charming riverside cabins, with eclectic names like "Tarzan Cabin" and "Jane Cabin", all set up in different styles, providing spectacular views of the San Juan River, a truly romantic setting for nature lovers. The comfortable cabins come equipped with private bathrooms. The well-equipped restaurant is specialized in serving fresh fish from the river. Different hikes can be easily undertaken, using one of the several trails in the private natural reserve. The hotel also has kayaks for rent for the more adventurous traveler. This hotel is verified by the Rainforest Alliance to meet sustainable tourism requirements .

Accommodations in Sabalos

Breakfast included

Day 5

From San Carlos you will be transferred to the colonial city of Granada.

Granada was founded in 1524 and is believed to be the second oldest city established in mainland Latin America by the Spanish conquest. During colonial times, Granada saw much unrest as the city was attacked several times by pirates. Nowadays Granada is characterized by bright-colored Spanish-colonial architecture, visible throughout the city center. The ambiance is very pleasant and there is a wide array of nice restaurants and bars, especially along the boulevard from the central park to the shores of Lake Nicaragua. A city tour by horse-drawn carriage will give you a good sense of the rich history and authenticity of Spanish-colonial Granada. While the city in itself is already an impressive attraction, the immediate surroundings make Granada a place where you will want to spend a couple of days.

Accommodations in Granada

Breakfast included

Day 6

Today you have two nice and rewarding tours: a city tour of Granada in a horse-drawn carriage, and in the afternoon you visit nearby Las Isletas.

Granada – Half day City Tour AM

No visit to Granada is complete without a tour of the city’s beautiful historic center and what better way than on a traditional horse-drawn carriage. Founded by the Spanish in 1524, Granada is considered to be one of the oldest colonial cities in the Western hemisphere. On this privately guided walking/carriage tour you will explore the San Francisco Church and neighboring San Francisco Convent built in 1529. Now functioning as a museum, the Convent is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art. Continue on to the beautiful Merced Church where you will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the bell tower and take in spectacular views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and the Mombacho Volcano. Next, head over to La Polvora Fortress to learn the history of the old fortress and walk through its immaculate courtyard. Finish your tour in the oldest part of the city where you will visit the Xalteva Church and the old city walls. Throughout the excursion your guide will provide you with an informative and unique perspective of this beloved colonial city.

Las Isletas - Boat Tour Half day PM

A boat trip through the Isletas of Granada is a great way to explore Lake Cocibolca, the great lake of Nicaragua. Depart from your hotel and head towards Cabaña Amarilla harbor where you will board a private motor boat and explore Las Isletas of Granada. Situated at the foot of the impressive Mombacho Volcano, the area consists of around 365 small volcanic islands which were formed when the Mombacho Volcano erupted about 20,000 years ago. Today, many of the small islands are inhabited by families who make their living from fishing, while other islands play host to extravagant villas owned by Nicaragua’s rich and famous. Additional items of interest are the San Pablo fort that was built in the 18th Century to protect Granada against English pirates and ‘Monkey Island’.

Before heading back, enjoy a complementary drink at a restaurant located on one of the islands where you can soak in the beautiful views or take a dip in the pool.

Accommodations in Granada

Breakfast included

Day 7

Today you will see a different side of Nicaragua as you fly to the Corn Islands, in the Caribbean!

Only 80 kilometers from the Atlantic Coast city of Bluefields, lies one of the Caribbean´s forgotten destinations; Nicaragua´s Corn Islands. Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island offer visitors a great opportunity to explore Nicaragua´s Caribbean Coast in a beautiful and rather remote environment. With a surface area of approximately 10 square kilometers, Big Corn Island is more than three times the size of Little Corn Island. There is plenty to do around both islands, including fishing, snorkeling, and diving but it's also a great destination for those who wish to kick back and relax. Other activities include watching a local baseball game on Sunday, taking a boat tour around the island, or enjoying the low key local nightlife.

Accommodations in Corn Island

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included

Day 8

Today you can enjoy the beach and the warm Caribbean sea of Corn Island.

Accommodations in Corn Island.

Breakfast included

Day 9

Today you fly back to Managua, where you will spend the night in order to catch your plane the next day.

Accommodations in Managua.

Breakfast included

Day 10

Today you go back home, filled with memories. We hope you had a wonderful time in Nicaragua!

Breakfast included

Additional Package Information

 Package Includes

  • Lodging, transfers, tours as described in itinerary
  • Meals as described in itinerary
  • Domestic flights
  • Services of English speaking guide during guided tours
  • Entrance fees
  • VAT / taxes

 Package Does Not Include

  • International airfare
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Gratuities
  • Migration fees

 Package Notes

  • Price subject to change
  • Subject to Availability
  • To prevent any loss due to cancellation, travel insurance is recommended.
  • Due to irregular domestic flights to and from San Carlos, this package starts on a Wednesday.
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Nicaragua Package 3 of 9

10 days / 9 nights Nicaragua Vacation Package

General Information

  • Capital: Managua
  • Government: Republic
  • Currency: gold cordoba (NIO)
  • Area: total: 129,494
  • Population: N/A
  • Language: N/A
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant
  • Electricity: 120V/60Hz (USA plug)
  • Calling Code: +505
  • Time Zone: UTC-6

Points of Interest

  • El Castillo
  • Indio Maiz
  • City of Granada
  • Las Isletas
  • Corn Island