Scuba Diving in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea (part of the Atlantic Ocean) in the East and the Pacific Ocean in the West. The total length of the sea border is about 800 km. From the volcanic underwater caves to the pristine live coral reefs, Nicaragua offers diverse, world-class diving, that attracts divers from all over the world. There is a wide range of potential marine encounters. Common deep sea fish include Lutjanus, marine turtles, barracudas, groupers, electric rays, dolphins, eels and different species of sharks. Nicaragua has some of the most well-preserved and secluded dive spots in the world. For example, the pristine corals and canyons of the Corn Islands, inhabited by a variety of fish and also dolphins.

Reasons to Visit

Where to go
in Nicaragua?
The Corn Islands are one of the most popular diving destinations in Nicaragua. They are located in the Caribbean sea and are considered to be one of the best dive sites in the world. While diving you can explore the depths of coastal waters and enjoy the beauty of rare corals which is a truly unique experience. You can swim with eels, stingrays, pompanos, colourful tropical fish and big turtles.
Various diving possibilities without leaving the country. Today you dive into the Caribbean Sea, and tomorrow you hit the depths of the Pacific Ocean. If you get bored with salt water, you can discover the volcanic islands of Lago de Nicaragua. Don't miss a chance to see its amazing inhabitants. For those looking to mix it up, there is also freshwater diving in the volcanic crater lakes of Apoyo and Xiloá. You might just be able to catch a glimpse of one of the undiscovered fish species there.
Diving into the crater of a dormant volcano. There is Apoyo Lagoon which is up to 200 m deep near Granada. The water is warm here due to the thermal springs warmed by the earth's magma. Crabs and more than a dozen species of endemic fish, not yet described by science, are hiding in the rock formations. There is also a small artificial reef formed by sunken tires.
Lago de Nicaragua is the largest freshwater body in South America. Formed as a result of separation from the Pacific ocean due to tectonic shifts, it has formed a unique ecosystem. It is home to both freshwater and ocean species of fish and underwater inhabitants: crocodilefish, swordfish, the world's only freshwater sharks and freshwater tarpons.
Spotting various sharks. Blacktip sharks, grey reef sharks, bull sharks, as well as hammerhead sharks and nurse sharks live just off the coast of Nicaragua. Most of these species can be dangerous, so be careful. Among the unique inhabitants of the Lake Nicaragua, divers can meet the only freshwater shark in the world, which is often called bull shark or Nicaraguan shark.

Diving Destinations in Nicaragua

You will find the best places to dive on the Corn Islands, as well as in San Juan del Sur, Managua and Apoyo. These places offer great visibility and a huge number of spectacular marine dwellers. Most dive sites are located on the Corn Islands, where you will see colorful corals, tunnels and various passages. You can dive into the incredible freshwater lake of volcanic origin on Apoyo and enjoy its underwater landscape and interesting inhabitants which will be an experience you will never forget.

Memo Notes
Currency NIO - Nicaraguan cordoba
Languages Spanish
Timezone UTC -6
Phone code 505
Emergency Help 128

Type A - 120 V, 60 Hz

Type B - 120 V, 60 Hz

Dive Shops in Nicaragua

The majority of certified dive shops are located on the Corn Islands. They are also some in San Juan del Sur and Managua. Equipment rental, instructor-guide services and special courses are available here.

Сlimate & Seasonality

Spring is usually hot. There is some precipitation but only in May, when the rainy season begins. The water temperature varies between +27 and +28 °C.


Summer is not the best time to travel because of heavy rain and thunderstorms. June is the rainiest month. The average water temperature reaches + 28 °C.


Autumn is warm, but not sunny — there is heavy rainfall from September to October. The dry season begins in November. The water temperature is +27… +28 °C.


Winter is the ideal time to visit the country, but it can be a little windy in December. February is considered to be the driest month. The water temperature varies between +26 and +27 °C.

high season
middle season
low season

The Best Dive Sites

The best dive sites in Nicaragua are Blowing Rock and White Holes. For the more adventurous shark seekers, Shark Hole is a network of tunnels and passages beneath the reef which are home to various types of sharks. You can dive in freshwater Apoyo and Xiloa lakes.

Health & Safety

Public Health Medicine in Nicaragua is poorly developed and lacks qualified personnel and diagnostic equipment. There are about 20 state hospitals in the whole Republic. Most tourists use the services of private clinics, which provide services of much higher quality, especially in large cities. Before the trip you should get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, cholera, diphtheria, malaria, rabies. Health insurance is desirable but not mandatory.
Nicaragua is quite a dangerous place not only for tourists but also for locals. The crime rate here is high.

Dangerous Marine Life

Waters of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean hide many dangerous creatures. The main danger is posed by sharks: hammerheads, blacktip, reef and especially bull sharks. Congeners of the bull shark even settled in the fresh water of the Lake Nicaragua.

Eat & Drinks

The main ingredients of Nicaraguan cuisine are rice and vegetables. To experience the variety of tastes, a traveller must order Churrasco (grilled beef with burning sauce of garlic and red pepper), Vigorin (fried pork with cassava) and Gallo Pinto (fried rice with beans, onions and sweet pepper). Popular desserts are sweets, cookies and all kinds of porridge made of rice, condensed milk, corn flour, cheese and coconut.
As for soft drinks, fresh fruit juice (orange, passion fruit, melon, watermelon and pineapple) with sugar and water are common. As for alcoholic beverages, you should definitely try the local rum with a spicy almond aroma, as well as Caipirinha — a national cocktail, made with Cachaça and lime juice.
It is better to buy bottled water.