Wedge-shaped Nicaragua may be the largest nation in Central America but, despite recent growth, it remains one of the least visited. Still, many travellers who spend any time here find that Nicaragua’s extraordinary landscape of volcanoes, lakes, mountains and vast swathes of rainforest helps make it their favourite country on the isthmus. Compared to the Maya ruins of Guatemala or Belize, Nicaragua offers few heavyweight tourist attractions – almost no ancient structures remain, and years of revolution, civil war and natural disasters have laid waste to museums, galleries and theatres. However the country’s colonial architecture is gradually being restored, while its natural riches rival those of better-known Costa Rica. And with travel still feasible on $20 a day, Nicaragua is one of the world’s finest budget destinations.
Smoking volcanoes, white-sand beaches and shoestring prices