Overview & Highlights
A medley of Spanish colonial cities, visible wildlife, volcanoes and the continent’s largest freshwater lake. Travel down jungle-fringed Rio San Juan, visit tranquil Ometepe Island and learn about a history of rebellion and innovation.
- Discover Nicaragua's fascinating history from colonial cities to ruined forts
- Explore the lush jungles and waterways
- Take in the countries natural volcano clad beauty
The variety you will discover on your highlights holiday is staggering - the volcanic and jungle-choked scenery, timeless colonial cities, cultures ranging from Spanish to indigenous communities: you could extend your trip to visit its English speaking Caribbean Corn islands.
Nicaragua, following a history of political and economic upheavals is now a peaceful and congenial place which has become impressively reconciled with the conflicts of its past. Visitors are increasingly drawn to its wonderfully unspoilt landscapes, where the bucolic tranquillity of countryside little changed over the centuries has as its counterpoint seething volcanoes and the legacy of earthquakes in times gone by.
Here you’ll find a couple of the continent’s finest Spanish colonial cities, Granada and León. Spruced up now, with their central Spanish cores faithfully restored, they have a real historical atmosphere, with lovely old mansions, baroque churches and cobbled lanes.
Beyond, rising from the vast silvery waters of Lake Nicaragua is the dozy island Ometepe, whose isolation has protected it from the political upheavals of the past, and held back modern development. Rio San Juan is too important a river to be called a backwater, but its jungle-fringed banks have a timeless, wilderness feel, and the quaint little port of wooden houses on stilts, El Castillo, will make you feel you are on a real adventure of discovery.
There’s more: alongside the cowboy cattle country, quiet, yawning, pure-gold Pacific beaches and rolling coffee plantations: think about an extension to make your holiday complete.
Arrive in Managua. Transfer to your hotel in the capital.
Drive to San Carlos; by boat along Rio San Juan to El Castillo; caiman spotting.
Nature walk in Indo Maíz Biosphere Reserve; guided fortress tour.
Return by boat to San Carlos, continue to Granada.
Guided tour of colonial Granada, lake boat trip to las Isletas.
By ferry to Ometepe island with its twin volcanoes.
Guided tour of the island, its nature reserves and pre-Columbian artefacts.
By ferry to the mainland, drive to León.
At leisure in this University city, traditional centre of rebellion.
Road transfer to Managua airport for international flight home.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
It is hard to choose one particular part of the trip as it was all amazing but in different ways. One of the most memorable parts was the few days in Suchitoto, El Salvador and the optional town tour. Listening to the experiences of the people in the area was humbling.MF, London
A well thought out tour with a good balance of culture, scenery and larger towns. The tour leader was excellent and the local guides were friendly and knowledgeable with great enthusiasm for their subjects. Good value for money and would have no problem with recommending JLA and will almost certainly use the company again.SW, Broxbourne
This tour brings Mexico's cultural and historical diversity vividly to life, and is an excellent introduction to this important Latin American country.JF, Cambridge
Amazingly the trip was everything I had hoped it would be. Having wanted to go to Patagonia since I can remember, and having the opportunity arise fairly last minute, choosing JLA was a good decision! Great itinerary and good organisation left me to enjoy the experience!JA, Sutton
Iguazu Falls - awe inspiring Paraty - beautiful restful place Bariloche - incredible scenery with an excellent local guide, perhaps the best we had, so enthusiastic and interested in us. Rio - The guide who had designed The Favela Trip was very, very interesting and appeared so genuine.JK, Liversedge
The amazing scenery - every kilometre of the Carretera Austral, every turning, offers stunning views which never cease to surprise...I am impressed with the way it is possible to combine group tours with individual travel and with the flexibility available on the tours to meet individual needs. I find the whole booking experience from enquiry to final plans, very easy with great response from your office. The tour leaders are absolutely brilliant at what they do - I am in awe of their multiple skills!SC, Penryn
The fact that we were blessed with exceptionally good weather meant that we could make the most of every day, to the full, bar one day on Lago General Carrera. Patagonia is so beautiful - and it would have been so different if the weather had been poor or the tour leader/driver hadn't been so good. We feel very lucky to have had it all!RD, Amersham
There are several experiences we enjoyed on this trip. The lguacu Falls are amazing, couldn't stop taking photos. In the Pantanal the variety of birds was superb and we were lucky enough to see an ocelot. We greatly enjoyed our holiday, we were a small group of two couples so were pleased that the trip still went ahead with these low numbers.JT, Hemel Hampstead
It was our first experience of small group travel, and although on balance we prefer independant travel, to cover as many countries as we did, we couldn t have done it on our own!CS, Seaford
Most memorable experience - Sitting in the bar in Leon as the thunderstorm and wind developed and listening to the wild hand ringing of the church bell. Interesting and well informed guides talking about revolutions in Nicaragua. Trip around Lake Atitlan also made more interesting by knowledgeable guide.
A well balanced and organised trip, It gave an interesting insight into the historical, cultural, political and natural elements of the countries visited. Plus you got to stay in some great hotels.WA, Kingston
Journey Latin America provided us with what we wanted and it seemed to be a sentiment shared by the group as several of us had looked at other organisations and had found them unsatisfactory.EU, London
"Hats off to the Ecuadoreans for reinstating this railway line! It really is one of the world's great train journeys, and all managed with such style and comfort."AD, Newcastle
Jacana was a fascinating, very well organised 3 week tour through Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Lima taking in the highlights of each country. Every day gave us a new experience which will stay in our memories for a long time to come.VT, London
The Penguin tour was a great introduction to Chile, covering such a variety of landscapes and temperatures. Flying over the Andes was impressive. We were also surprised by the wildllife including condors, penguins, guanacos and flamingoes. All the local guides were excellent with superb local knowledge and the ability to make it enjoyable. Our tour leader fed in lots of interesting information as we travelled around.SY, Wetherby
It was a wonderful experience which I wouldnt have missed for the world. The organisation was first class, all the staff in all the hotels friendly and helpful.CL, Newport
I would recommend this trip to anyone who has an interest in magnificent scenery and wonderful wildlife experiences.CT, Antrim
The whole trip was excellent and the tour leaders knowledge and personality enhanced it.VH, Torpoint
Machu Picchu was the ultimate climax at the end of the tour & definitely best to see it lastly. However all the previous places, people & food all definitely contributed hugely to a truly memorable trip - a visit to Peru with the preceding visits made the whole adventure far more meaningful & pleasurable.EA, London
Everything was memorable, Chilean landscapes are so different...Patagonia (Torres del Paine) was my favourite because it's just stunning. Valparaiso: wonderful colourful city, Atacama Desert: incredible landscapes, and so varied from one another, Lake District: superb. Seeing so much wildlife was fantastic (penguins, vicunas, guanacos...). And great food too - fish is amazing.EG, Hove
We enjoyed an excellent tour with a special tour leader. We chose this tour because it took us to a lot of places we had dreampt of visiting and it certainly lived up to expectations. We expected to do a significant amount of walking and enjoyed all the walks that were offered. For us the balance between walking and other activities was ideal.CHJ, Aberdeen
Overall, the whole JLA experience has been first class. Would have no hesitation in recommending JLA to friends and family.MH, Leighton Buzzard
It was a fantiastic holiday, visiting really varied and fascinating locations in an amazing country, and well paced too. One of the reasons I was able to go on the Gaucho tour was that I could fit it into a two weeks holiday from work, but a lot of your tours are a bit too long for that.DB, London
The first view of Machu Picchu from the watchman's tower, the view from El Alto overlooking La Paz and surrounding mountains and the Iguazu Falls will remain with me always. Also very pleased with the standard of accommodation.
Overall this was the most interesting and varied holiday I have ever been on and was a superb introduction to what was, for me, a new area of the world.PM, Motherwell
Guatemala is a very beautiful and interesting country which deserves to be better known. The history of the Maya and their ancient sites is fascinating, much enhanced by the fact that the Maya people are still there and their customs and traditions can be observed. The scenery, colonial architecture and birdlife: outstanding.JE, Ware
It is difficult to identify a highlight as the whole trip was so varied and memorable. However, the yurt and the landscapes in Torres del Paine and Iguazu were spectacular.VP, Haywards Heath
"This holiday far exceeded our expectations and was truly a once in a lifetime experience!"CD, Plymouth
As always, JLA provides very experienced guides and this ensures the success of the trip. They are very knowledgeable and go out of their way to ensure clients get a great experience.VH, Australia
This is the third year that we have travelled with JLA and each time it was very well organised from start to finish. We have had three brilliant trips.JH, Radstock
Education about the history and current situation of the country. Also enjoyed seeing many distinct parts of the country less visited by tourists such as Baracoa.GW, Crieff
This tour was perfect for first time travellers to the area. It was extremely well organised and the itinerary was well planned with a nice flow of events and very diverse experiences. We were amazed at all the wonderful sites, hikes and activities we had on this tour and will remember it for a lifetime.KP, USA
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.