Best cultural and historical sites in Nicaragua… that kids will actually enjoy!

This summer my family will be embarking on an adventure in Central America. We’ll be spending several weeks exploring Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.

After starting the trip by relaxing on some of Central America’s best Caribbean beaches including Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica and Bocas del Torro, Panama, our focus will turn to nature, wildlife and history.

Specifically in Nicaragua, we’re keen to explore the history and culture of Central America.

But we want to be sure to keep the pacing and the activities on the journey kid-friendly and interesting to them.

I’ve uncovered a few cultural and historical sites in Nicaragua that the kids will actually enjoy!

Antiguo Convento de San Francisco in Granada

First built by Franciscan monks in 1529, the building has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

Today this historical building in Granada contains exquisite stone carvings and priceless, ancient Nicaraguan art. View everything from pre-Columbian to modern stone art on display.

Head first to the pre-Columbian bird and animal statues originally discovered on nearby Zapatera Island in the late 1800’s. Most depict what appear to be humans dressed in animal costumes. With kids, plan on spending about 45 minutes looking around the museum. If it’s a hot day, everyone will enjoy the coolness of the building and refreshing breeze from the lake as you relax on the covered porch.

Cathedral of León

Leon, one of the oldest European cities in Central America, has been bombed, occupied and attacked by nature over the centuries. The city is full of history.

The Cathedral of Leon, Central America’s biggest cathedral and over 250 years old, is a must-visit historical site in Nicaragua. With towering marble columns and a stunning display of neo-classical architecture, the kids will be in awe!

historical sites in nicaragua

Climb to the roof of the cathedral and enjoy amazing views over the city.

Check out the Petroglyphs on Ometepe Island

Ometepe Island Nicaragua is famous for its rich pre-Columbian history and features some of the most well-preserved rock art in the world. Ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings) and stone statues have been found all over the island.

Learn more about how to best view these ancient artifacts here.

Visit the Potters in San Juan de Oriente

Located a short 25-minute drive from Granada, San Juan de Oriente is one of the “Pueblos Blancos” or White Towns, named after the white colonial style churches found here. This day-trip to the highlands is a great way to experience cultural history in Nicaragua (and escape the heat).

historical sites in nicaragua

Here in San Juan de Oriente, pottery is the main attraction. In fact, approximately 95% out of 5,000 people living here make their living somehow tied to pottery. All of the pottery here is made by hand (and foot!) by locals who’ve been practicing their art for generations. Many of the potters will even let kids have a go at the pottery wheel!

Want more? Check out these kid-friendly things to do in Granada Nicaragua.

Have you traveled with kids in Nicaragua? I’d love to hear about your experience!

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Photo credits Flickr.