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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

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  • Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Duration:  16 hours (approx.)
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Nicaragua on this full-day trip to Catarina, San Juan del Sur and Granada with a knowledgeable guide. Learn about the cultural influences, natural landscapes and colonial architecture of this colorful country as you admire volcanic features from Catarina viewpoint, visit the Catalina and travel by horse-drawn carriage through Granada.


  • 16-hour tour of Nicaraguan attractions from Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • See Apoyo Lagoon and Mombacho Volcano from Catarina viewpoint
  • Visit El Mercado de Artesanías (the craft market) in Catarina
  • Visit San Juan del Sur
  • Take a ‘volanta’ (horse-drawn carriage) along cobblestone streets in Granada
  • Learn about Nicaragua’s unique geology, culture and colonial history
  • Typical Costa Rican breakfast and Nicaraguan lunch included

What You Can Expect

Nicaragua Day Trip: Catarina, San Juan del Sur and Granada from Guanacaste

Visit the Colonial City of Granada

After pickup from your hotel in Guanacaste, enjoy a typical Costa Rican breakfast at Rest Toro Negro (or similar) in Liberia, located in the northwest region of the country. Then, re-board your coach to cross the border into Nicaragua.

First, stop at Catarina viewpoint, one of the highest hills surrounding the Apoyo Lagoon. Look out across the water to adjacent Lake Nicaragua and admire Mombacho Volcano, which borders the lake.

Next, head to the Catarina Craft Market. It’s an interesting place to search for souvenirs, including textile and ceramic handicrafts along with goods made of leather and wood.

Continue to Granada, established in 1524, and hop inside a volanta for a 45-minute horse-drawn carriage ride. Learn about the city’s colonial history and architecture as you pass the colorful homes and squares along the palm-lined streets. Pass attractions such as Parque Central, a central park popular with local residents, and admire the 12 stained-glass windows of Granada Cathedral, housed within its borders.

Enjoy a leisurely a la carte lunch at Rest El Mariscazo (or similar) before heading to the islets of Granada, southeast of the city center. You'll have the option to board a boat for a 45-minute tour (own expense), you’ll cruise past some of the 365 islands created when Mombacho erupted into Lake Nicaragua 10,000 years ago. Keep an eye out for native birds and a population of island residents who paddle, fish and farm around the lake.

Next, visit the popular vacation spot, San Juan del Sur. Located right on the Pacific Ocean, you'll enjoy gorgeous coastal views as you tour the town with your guide. Visit the statue of Christ of Mercy and go inside a small chapel located below the statue. Next, continue on into town and stroll through the small streets surrounding the Pacific Coast.

Your tour ends with transport back to your hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Note: this tour only visits San Juan del Sur on Wednesday and Saturday. Other days will only visit Catarina and Granada

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Excellent day trip! The guide and driver made the border crossing very smooth. We learned some great details about Nicaragua and now want to visit again for a longer stay. The volcanoes were awe inspiring and the boat trip was very relaxing. Breakfast wasn't anything special, but lunch was delicious! My only qualm was that we were quite rushed at the market, but the tour was great other than that!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Amazing tour, in large part due to the personality and knowledge of our guide, David. The country is beautiful and we made stops including a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua, walking through Granada, and a view of the volcano. We picked up four people who had started the tour a couple of days earlier and spent nights in Granada, then continued on to conclude the tour with our group. I strongly encourage people who have the opportunity to take advantage of this option, since Granada is beautiful and offers many things to do and see if you extend your stay. I was amazed by the enormous energy windmill field that we passed when entering and exiting Nicaragua. Overall, this was a wonderful tour and well spent excursion, in large part due to the additional information offered by David. Thank you!

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Tour code: 3171DAYNGA


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