Have a volcanic adventure in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur bay in Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur bay in Nicaragua

Although the country of Nicaragua has been torn apart in the past by civil war, these days it is a great destination for travelers going on a Panama Canal cruise. Check out this destination off the beaten path on an exciting shore excursion to the coastal city of San Juan del Sur.

One of the top reasons to visit San Juan del Sur is its proximity to Nicaragua's dynamic volcanic landscape. You won't want to miss a visit to Masaya Volcano National Park. This amazing natural reserve is home to two smoking volcanoes - not to mention exotic wildlife, seeming endless hiking trails and a gorgeous lagoon. From the park, you can also see Lake Nicaragua, a massive body of water situated in the center of the country.

Another spectacular peak is Mombacho Volcano, a 4,409-foot crag that towers over the Nicaraguan countryside. Here, you can explore an astounding lush landscape as you hike to the top of the mountain. This volcano is also known for creating Las Isletas, an archipelago of 365 tiny islands in Lake Nicaragua. These islets are a popular spot for swimming and kayaking, making them a must-see attraction on your cruise. If you're looking for a cool place to go for a dip, you can also head to Apoyo Lagoon, a large oasis famed for its crystal-clear blue waters.

San Juan del Sur also gives you access to some of Nicaragua's best cultural attractions. In the colonial town of Granada, you can see ornate Spanish churches, colonial houses and more. Meanwhile, the city of Rivas is a popular place for people looking to relax on the beach. You can also pick up a souvenir of your time in Nicaragua at the Masaya Market, an expansive bazaar filled with breathtaking local handicrafts and delicacies.