Author: Domitille de Langlais

Adventures on the Lakes, Rivers & Volcanoes of Nicaragua

Ometepe Volcanoes in Nicaragua

Find Adventures on the Lakes, Rivers, and Volcanoes of Nicaragua

Nicaragua is known as the land of lakes and volcanoes. And with 19 volcanoes throughout the country, and a name believed to be derived from a Nahuatl word and roughly translated to “kingdom surrounded by large bodies of water”, it is no wonder why.  Out of all 19 volcanoes in Nicaragua, seven remain active to this day, including some of the ones on this list.  Across the country, there are many experiences to explore, from zip lining to hiking and so much more, Nicaragua’s landscape naturally lends itself to adventure.  

Hike the Famous Volcanoes of Nicaragua

For those wanting to explore the vast variety of volcanoes across Nicaragua, Rancho Santana offers 3 different tours featuring some of the most prominent volcanoes in the country: The Masaya Volcano, Mombacho in Granada, and Concepción and Maderas on the volcanic island of Ometepe. 

Explore Nicaragua beyond The Ranch with any of our guided experiences to these volcanoes, each offers a singular experience and is great for hiking and taking in nature.   

masaya volcano tour nicaragua

Masaya Volcano

The Masaya Volcano is one of the most popular tourists stops in Nicaragua and perhaps the most famous volcano in Nicaragua because of its location near Managua and the cultural city of Masaya. Once called the mouth of hell, this volcano is an obligatory stop at sundown, the best time to take in the full splendor of the crater and its red lava, a truly unique and unforgettable spectacle for the eyes.   
For that reason, the Masaya Volcano is often the last stop on our Granada & Masaya – Lakes & Volcanoes tour.  
Although the Masaya volcano is active, it has not had any significant eruptions in over 14 years and remains a safe and popular place for sightseeing. 

Mombacho Volcano in nicaragua

Mombacho Volcano

Located in Granada, Mombacho volcano is truly a sight to see, this natural reserve is sure to wow you with the vast variety of flora you will see, it is also a great favorite for hikers.  
And it is no wonder, as it features three different trails traversing the cloud forest and ranging in length and difficulty. Explore the incredible panoramic views throughout the volcano, and even go as far up to the main crater to get a first-hand experience of its fumaroles. 
To top off your visit to this impressive volcano, you can zip line across the treetops to get a full scope of the forest. 

Ometepe Volcanoes in Nicaragua

Concepción & Maderas 

Ometepe is a natural wonder, just a 30-minute drive and ferry ride from The Ranch this island is home to not only one but two remarkable volcanoes – Concepción and Maderas.  
The 10-hour hike up Concepción and its shorter alternative up Maderas volcano are sure to deliver adrenaline, impressive views, adventure, and a challenging workout.  
However, the island is also just an all-around beautiful place to spend the day with panoramic views of lake Nicaragua, and our experienced tour guides are happy to take you sightseeing.  

Volcano Boarding on Cerro Negro

Volcano Boarding on Cerro Negro ​

And lastly, for those looking for the ultimate adventure, Nicaragua’s Cerro Negro Volcano might be just the right fit.  
This active volcano is known for its sand boarding experience, which requires an hour-long uphill hike before sliding down 2624.67 ft (800 m) on a wooden board over the rock and ash to the bottom.  
This may sound intimidating, but it is certain to be rewarding, adrenaline-filled, and exciting. It’s an adventure you’re not likely to be able to experience anywhere else. 

Discover the history and natural beauty of Nicaragua through our selection of off-property guided tours.

Beaches of Nicaragua

beach in nicaragua Rancho Santana

Guide to Nicaragua's Beaches

Nicaragua is the perfect vacation destination for people looking to relax on the beach while basking in the warm, tropical climate. Its beaches stretch up to
470 miles touching the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Many sites, activities, and attractions can make a vacation
worthwhile regardless of the
Nicaragua season.

Best Swimming Beaches in Nicaragua

Swimmers can have the time of their lives by checking out these Nicaraguan beaches:

Playa Blanca

This beach north of San Juan Bay creates the perfect environment for any swimmer. It is secluded and is the only Nicaragua beach with white sand. Therefore, visitors can enjoy swimming on this free beach without disturbance.

Playa Los Perros

Nestled in the serene environment at the breaks of Colorado and Panga drops, Los Perros has the perfect sea views. It is also near numerous luxurious amenities where a swimmer can cool off after lying in the sun all day.

Playa Pochomil

With its extensive sandy beaches, swimmers at Playa De Pochomil can enjoy uninterrupted swimming sessions while taking in the view. There are also quiet areas to wind down nearby.

Playa Guasacate

Playa Guasacate’s mood gives surfers and swimmers the perfect relaxed environment to enjoy their activities. The friendly neighborhood and beautiful mix of beaches make it ideal for your laid-back and relaxing vacation.

Tide Pools

Tide pools can form on any beach, and Nicaraguan beaches are a great place to see exotic wildlife up close. The beautiful marine life swimming in the clear waters is fun for the whole family.

surf in nicaragua rancho santana

Nicaragua Beaches for Surfers

Nicaragua beaches are known for their excellent surfing, and there is no shortage of waves for surfers of all levels to catch.

Playa  Santana

Playa Santana is renowed for its multiple peaks along the beach. This beach break provides powerful barrels that go left and right. It is best to surf mid to high tide. Santana also serves great waves for bodyboarders.

Playa Popoyo 

Playa Popoyo is the best destination for expert-level surfers who want a wild ride. There is always a big wave to catch. Most surfers outdo each other in Emerald Coast Nicaragua, creating a healthy sense of competition

Best Hiking Beaches in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a hot spot for beach hiking. Hikers can enjoy the beautiful Nicaraguan landscape while feeling the sand slip through their feet on any of these beautiful beaches.

Playa Gigante

Playa Gigante is a small area, but the scenery makes it feel vast. The tidal waves hit hard, and it has an exciting getaway that hikers can climb through.

Cliff Hike

The cliffs in San Juan del Sur provide the perfect hiking challenge. People start the trail from the fish market as they head to the lighthouse. Once there, one can behold the beautiful views and have an exciting trail back through ancient fort houses.

Playa Escameca

This rocky 800m beachline provides an exciting trail to Playa Yankee. Though relatively short, it is an exhilarating hike because of the area and the wildlife on view.

Estuary and Cave

The estuary at the end of Escameca Grande is home to various wildlife, including monkies, birds, and fish. Visitors can rent a paddleboat for a 20-minute journey to the cave

Playa Duna

The dune at Rancho Santana’s Nicaragua Beach Resort provides the perfect challenge for any hiker. It takes effort to meander through the dune steps and rock formations, but the stunning views at the end are worth the challenge.

sandbording Rancho Santana activity
beach in nicaragua Rancho Santana
turtles at playa escondida Rancho Santana

Best Nicaragua Beaches Wildlife

Nicaragua beaches host numerous types of exciting wildlife and sea creatures that will thrill travelers.

Playa Chacocente

Sea turtles are a favorite for vacationers on Nicaragua beaches. Playa Chacocente is a wildlife refuge center that nurtures and protects sea turtles. If visitors time their trip right, they might even see turtles laying their eggs along the sandy shore.

Playa Escondida

Though people refer to this beach as a ‘hidden beach, there is no shortage of people in the area. In addition, the presence of sea turtles in the tide pool area makes it a perfect place for people to watch them hatch.

Wildlife Watching

Nicaragua beaches host a variety of wildlife that people can enjoy watching while relaxing in the sand.

Playa Amarillo

Playa Amarilla hosts monkeys, cows, pigs, and fish. In addition, it has a fishing area where the tourists can enjoy fishing and watching how the wildlife interacts with the people.

Playa Rosada

Playa Rosada is famous for animals shell, providing the perfect spot for shell collectors. It’s also perfect for surfers or people who need quiet relaxation time.

Planning your summer holidays? Discover our beachfront vacation homes on the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua.

Horseback Trail Riding | Mountain Bike Trail Update

mountain biking Rancho Santana activity

Horseback Trail Riding and Mountain Bike Trails

Rancho Santana is home to many trails and as the community has continued to grow, we’ve found a need to formalize the rules for using the trails in the area. For the safety of our users and owners, we have decided to designate our trails for specific uses.

Horseback Trail Riding

Horseback trail riding is allowed on trails marked Horses & Pedestrians and Multi-purpose. Horses are allowed on trails like Ruta Los Monos and Ruta Los Arboles. Horses are also allowed on the multi-purpose trail to Playa Escondida.

Mountain Bike Trails

Mountain biking is allowed on trails marked Biking and Pedestrian and Multi-purpose. Mountain bikes are allowed on trails like Ruta a Los Perros, Ruta Bella Vista, and Ruta a Playa Duna. Mountain biking is also allowed on the multi-purpose trail leading to Playa Escondida.

Map of Trails

We’ve also taken this opportunity to update our trail map (below) and make it easier to navigate and use.

Horseback trail riding, mountain biking, and hiking map of trails at Rancho Santana.

Enjoying Rancho Santana’s Trails Safely

This change allows our community members to enjoy the trails safely and with no concern for collisions. Those who enjoy running and hiking can use all trails — always yielding to riders, but horses and bikes will be limited to their designated trails or multi-use trails only.

hiking in nicaragua in Rancho Santana beaches
mountain biking Rancho Santana activity

Perfect your surfing with lessons and rentals at Rancho Santana

Child on surfboard with forest in the background while taking lessons at Rancho Santana Nicaragua surf resort.
Surfing in Nicaragua Rancho Santana

Nicaragua Surf Resort

Surf Ranch Hotel and Resort in Nicaragua

It’s no news that The Ranch is one of the best surf resorts in Nicaragua. Rancho Santana is home to some of the best beaches if you want to surf the Emerald Coast. So it’s easy to see why surfing has long been a favorite pastime for guests and residents alike. 

Your Nicaragua Surf Trip

Keeping in mind the recent surge in residents and extended stays, The Beach & Surf Club has recently created a package geared towards those who’d like to work on improving their surfing skills over the course of a month. 

Our Nicaragua Surf Resort Provides Rentals and Instructors

The package includes all Surfboard rentals during and after lessons, video and photo analysis and evaluation of 2 lessons, and a minimum of 8 surf lessons with one of our expert instructors. The number of lessons can be increased for those who would like more extensive training as well.

Perfect Your Surfing on Some of the Best Surf Breaks in Nicaragua

If you and your family are interested, feel free to contact our team and learn more about the package and discover the best time to surf in Nicaragua.

Child on surfboard with forest in the background while taking lessons at Rancho Santana Nicaragua surf resort.

Discover Our Commitment to Sustainable Travel

Monkeys in a tree habitat supported by Rancho Santana’s commitment to sustainable travel

New Levels of Sustainable Travel

We’re happy to announce that we’re officially members of  The Green Globe Standard as part of our commitment to sustainable travel. This is excellent news for The Ranch as it’s something we’ve been working towards since last year intending to expand our vision and horizon and become a more sustainable brand as a whole.

Green Globe and Sustainable Travel

Green Globe is the premier worldwide certification and performance improvement program catering specifically to the travel and tourism industry. Green Globe provides assistance to organizations to improve their economic, social, and environmental sustainability and also recognizes and awards sustainable practices. A membership and subsequent certification from Green Globe is a badge of honor for companies in the tourism industry that support sustainable travel, and we hope that it will allow us to hone into new markets.

Sustainability at Rancho Santana

As new members, our first goal is to implement changes and measures to not only improve practices but also provide training to staff to ensure meaningful and long-term changes to our outlook as a team. Of course, The Ranch is already off to a good start with efforts such as our on-site Farm and Garden, the use of our Solar Farm, beach cleanup initiatives, and turtle sanctuary, however, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room to improve. 

We look forward to taking on this new challenge and taking our sustainability sustainable travel initiatives to the next level.

Luxury Resort Rancho Santana Nicaragua