Tola, in the southwestern Nicaraguan department of Rivas, is the epitome of what you’d call a “tropical paradise.” The town is situated mid-way between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific coast amidst gorgeous tropical scenery, opulent mansions, and luxury resorts.

Tola is within driving distance of Managua, and is a perfect staging point for exploring the waters and volcanoes of Lake Nicaragua, as well as being close to some excellent beaches. Read on for five unmissable Tola tourist activities.

  1. Relax on the pristine beaches

The Pacific coast near Tola is full of wonderful, serene beaches where you can relax and work on your tan. Popoyo beach is a popular spot for surfers, as well as a natural beauty spot, and Playa Redonda is wonderfully unspoiled.

  1. Explore the nearby nature reserves

Tola is located near both the Mombacho Volcano reserve — which offers amazing views from the top of the volcano, as well as a fascinating crater walk — and the Rio Escalante Chacocente Wildlife Refuge, which is a protected site for nesting sea turtles.

  1. Get out on the water

Popoyo beach, a short drive away from Tola, is a great place for both surfing and windsurfing, and if you enjoy either of these activities, then this is definitely the place to go.

And if kayaking is more your style, a 10-kilometer drive will take you to the shores of Lake Nicaragua, where you can paddle through some of the most picturesque scenery you’re likely to ever see.

  1. Eat out in style

Tola is an upscale area, and the dining experience reflects that. Whatever kind of cuisine you’re into, you’re probably within an easy drive of somewhere that serves it.

You can dine in five-star style at the La Finca y el Mar luxury hotel and restaurant — it’s a bit of a drive away, but totally worth it. Looking for somewhere a little closer by and easier on the wallet? Try La Cucharita Casera for superb, down-to-earth local food.

  1. Explore the islands of Lake Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua’s principal island, Isla de Ometepe, is the largest freshwater island in the world, and it’s easily accessible from Tola, so exploring it is a definite must. The island consists of two volcanoes thrusting out of the lake’s waters, both of which can be climbed and offer superb views.

The second-largest island in the lake, Isla Zapatera, is also located not too far away, and offers fascinating archeological tours showcasing indigenous culture and artifacts.

Want to discover more about Tola and other great locations in Nicaragua? Visit, the site where locals provide information about over 5,000 cities worldwide.

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