Download GPX file for this article
12.82-86.78Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chinandega and Volcán San Cristóbal

Northern Pacific Coast is a region along the Pacific coast in western Nicaragua. It has beautiful beaches, impressive volcanoes and colonial cities and churches.


Map of Northern Pacific Coast (Nicaragua)

  • 1 Leon - a colonial city and the intellectual center of Nicaragua
  • 2 Chinandega - a commercial and agricultural center
  • 3 Corinto - with Nicaragua's largest port
  • 4 El Viejo El Viejo on Wikipedia - an old historical city with indigenous roots
  • 5 El Sauce El Sauce, Nicaragua on Wikipedia - a pilgrimage city

Other destinations[edit]


  • 1 Miramar, El Velero, Playa Hermosa & El Tránsito- a string of Pacific beaches close to Managua.
  • 2 Poneloya & Las Peñitas - two Pacific beach towns near León.
  • 3 Aserradores - northern beach with the famous Boom surfing wave.
  • 4 Jiquilillo - beach next to the Padre Ramon Nature Reserve.



  • 9 León Viejo León Viejo on Wikipedia - the ruins of old León, destroyed by a volcano eruption in 1610. Now an UNESCO world heritage site.


The Northern Pacific Coast of Nicaragua consists of the departments of Chinandega and León with an approximate population of 865,000 (2020). Along the Pacific coast, there are many beaches and estuaries. A chain of active volcanoes, the Cordillera Los Maribios, cuts through the region.

The two major cities are León and Chinandega, Nicaragua's second and fourth largest cities respectively. León, a colonial city founded in 1524, is the country's intellectual center with the oldest and largest cathedral, the oldest university and many museums. Chinandega is a commercial and agricultural hub. Corinto has Nicaragua's biggest port.

The region is a major agricultural producer. Important crops include sugar cane, rice, soy, corn, beans, bananas, peanuts and sesame seeds. There are fishing villages, shrimp farms and salt producers along the coast.



Get in[edit]

Bus between Chinandega and El Guasaule on the border to Honduras.
  • Internationally by air through Managua Airport or by land from Honduras.
  • From Managua by bus, car or taxi.
  • From the Northern Highlands by bus or car.
  • From Honduras via the border crossing at Guasaule.
  • From El Salvador by boat from La Union to Potosí.

Get around[edit]

Bus from León to Malpaisillo, El Sauce and Achuapa.

There are frequent buses between León, Chinandega, Corinto, El Viejo and all other major towns in the region. From León there are frequent buses to Poneloya and Las Peñitas, and from Chinandega to Corinto, but other beaches are harder to reach.


León cathedral
  • The colonial city of León, founded in 1524.
  • Cathedral of León, the largest in Central America.
  • Ortiz-Gurdián Art Museum in León.
  • Sutiava, the indigenous neighborhood in León.
  • Chorotega Nicarao Archeological Museum in Chinandega.


Volcano surfing down Cerro Negro.


Temperatures can rise well above 35°C (100°F) during the dry season (December - April), so make sure to stay hydrated. Although some say that tab-water in León is safe, stick to bottled water, delicious juices, beer or the local Flor de Caña (Nicaraguan rum).

Stay safe[edit]

Pacific coast currents can be very strong and dangerous even for trained swimmers in their best health. Don't go too far out, stay on official beaches, don't go too far out and follow any warning signs. Weaker swimmers may prefer to enjoy the estuaries with their calmer waters.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Northern Pacific Coast is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.