This small, once off-limits Central American nation has long been attracting adventurous surfers and hikers, and in 2013, with a slew of new eco-lodges opening, it's poised to draw even more travelers looking for thrills with a bit more comfort in mind.
Sea kayakers are discovering its miles of pristine coastline and massive inland lake, and trekkers can explore the volcanoes and wildlife-viewing opportunities inland. Austin-Lehman is introducing a new trip here this year that features mountain-climbing and black-sand "surfing" down Cerro Negro, and Adventure Life and Access Trips are introducing new Nicaragua tours, too.
Austin-Lehman Adventures presents an 8-day trip filled with hiking, kayaking, and cultural experiences. You’ll climb to the rim of Cerro Negro crater before surfing down its black sands on an Ash Board, zip line through the tropical rain forests, and soak-in the two largest fresh-water lakes in Central America. From $2,398 per person.