My boyfriend and I (29/31) are planning a trip to Nicaragua to spend our first xmas away from family and also over New Years. We've been to Costa Rica (mainly north Pacific coast) and loved it there so a few friends have said we'd also have a great time in Nicaragua.
We don't plan to rent a car and would like to spend as little time travelling around as possible, so are looking for some hidden gem types of spots that aren't too far out of the way which we could work in between our main beach stays.
I really want to go to the Corn Islands for 5 days or so, so was going to fly there on the 6am flight after we arrive the evening before (just stay near the airport). I also want to go to San Juan del Sur for 4 or 5 days since we love both the Caribbean beach scene and also the surf vibe (we don't actually surf much since we're terrible at it, but Playa Grande was probably our favourite part of Costa Rica).
We are not interested in touring around cities or long hikes at all (would be cool to see volcano scenery, definitely don't need to hike them though), but if there are some easy stops we could make for a night or two that would let us experience some more jungle/rainforest/beautiful lakes, I'd really love some tips.
If someone can help fill in the blanks (mainly days 7-8 and 14) or have any recommendations for nice, cheap (hopefully right by the beach), fun spots to stay too that would be great!
Day 1: Arrive 8:30pm Managua - stay overnight near airport (any recommendations?)
Day 2-6: Catch 6:15am flight to BCI (how early do we need to arrive at the airport? I've heard things about them giving away seats if you don't check in by a certain time?). 4 nights LCI and 1 night at BCI (can play around with this later, still not sure which is best for us, but want to spend the last night at BCI for sure to be closer to the airport).
Day 7-8: Catch morning flight back to Managua - what would be a good spot to spend a couple of days before San Juan del Sur? I don't think we "need" to go to Ometepe unless it is exceptional compared to other destinations or would be easy to get to on the way. Would something like Laguna de Apoyo, or something else be easier to get to, or is there another spot where we can check out some rainforest type spots, nice views, etc before San Juan del Sur?
Day 9-13: San Juan del Sur
Day 14: Head to Granada, have this day and night left. Are there some nice, easy tours to do from Granada that would be good for us to check out (nothing major at all).
Day 15: Back to Managua and fly home.