Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Which One You Should Visit Next?

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico

So you’re planning a vacation and are trying to decide whether to go to Puerto Rico or Nicaragua. Choosing which of these lovely vacation spots to visit necessitates considering a few key factors. 

Remember, as amazing as both locations are, choosing one can come down to personal preference and travel style. We will show you the pros and cons, but the final decision is yours.

Here are some of the main keys to help you compare Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: The Similarities

Even though the differences between Puerto Rico and Nicaragua are significant when planning a vacation, the truth is that both Nicaragua and Puerto Rico share some characteristics. Hiking, ziplining, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, and horseback riding are all examples of similar adventure activities. 

These similarities are important to understand because you can leave them out of the conversation when planning your trip. Also you will avoid making the wrong choice because you thought something wasn’t available at one of the destinations.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Differences

More tourism infrastructure can be expected in Puerto Rico. Undoubtedly, tourist industry has a bigger development in Puerto Rico, in a manner Nicaragua hasn’t quite mastered.

While there is no shortage of tourist-friendly options in Nicaragua, Puerto Rico has more day trip options, transportation services, and tours. Also in Puerto Rico, you will be able to find assistance during everything you can expect from your trip.

From Old San Juan to Vieques and beyond, there are an incredible number of beautiful places in Puerto Rico that are also relatively simple to access.

It is true that there is an established tourist zone in Nicaragua, more or less concentrated in León, Granada and San Juan del Sur, and to a lesser extent on Ometepe Island. However, Nicaragua lacks the deluxe properties and luxurious resorts that can be found in Puerto Rico.

While there are touristic installations in Nicaragua, they are geared toward tourists from other Central American countries, backpackers, and younger travelers traveling through Central America.

As a result of the improved infrastructure, you can expect more crowds. This is especially true for Puerto Rico as it is one of the places that have big tourism, resulting in national parks and other iconic places can get crowded rapidly, especially during the peak season.

Also, as Puerto Rico is a US Commonwealth, it has far more English speakers than Nicaragua. So, if this is your first time in the Caribbean or if you’re on a family vacation, this may be enough to entice you to visit Puerto Rico. 

Anyways Spanish remains an official language and is spoken by the majority of the population. So, whatever destination you choose, it is a good idea to learn at least basic Spanish before you go; both you and the locals will be grateful. 

However, if you prefer to work with tourism industry employees who speak English, being in Puerto Rico rather than Nicaragua increases your chances.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Costs

Puerto Rico is going to be more expensive than Nicaragua, but not as expensive as Hawaii or the majority of the Caribbean options. The truth is that Nicaragua is cheap, making all the rest look costly.

While taking local transportation, cooking some of your own meals, and staying in less expensive lodging can help you save money, your budget will still be higher than what you’ll need in Nicaragua.

Expect significantly lower prices in Nicaragua. Given that Nicaragua and Puerto Rico have many similar natural highlights, this may be important if you want to go on a low-cost vacation. However, both have very different other points of interest, so make your decision wisely!

Nicaragua Budget

  • Flight tickets starts from: $225.
  • Hotel or hostel per person each night: $14.
  • Transportation (local buses, taxis, etc.): $8.13.
  • Travel between cities: $22.
  • Meals for one day: $12.
  • Per person, per day: $44.
  • One Week for a couple: $615.

You should budget $44 per day for your vacation in Nicaragua, as this is the daily average price based on other visitors’ expenses. Other travelers spent an average of $12 on meals and $8.13 on local transportation in one day.

In addition, the average hotel cost in Nicaragua for a couple is $27. So, a week-long trip to Nicaragua for two people costs $615 on average.

Puerto Rico Budget

  • Flight tickets starts from: $231.
  • Hostel or hotel for one person: $111 per night.
  • Transportation (taxis, local buses, etc.): $14.
  • Travel between cities: $57.
  • Meals for one day: $31.
  • Per person, per day: $174.
  • One Week for a couple: $2,438.

You should budget around $174 per day for your holiday in Puerto Rico, which is the daily average price based on other visitors’ expenses. The common costs that other travelers have spent on meals are $31 and on local transportation are $14.

In addition, the average hotel room in Puerto Rico costs $222 for a couple. So, a week-long trip to Puerto Rico for 2 persons costs on average $2,438.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Activities

Both destinations offer similar nature attractions (beaches and rainforests). But that’s when all similarities end; besides that, you’ll find really different options for different likes. You’ll find colonial history in Puerto Rico and active volcanoes in Nicaragua. So, let’s see the activities both have to offer:

Puerto Rico Activities

Puerto Rico’s attractions range from the adventurous (such as El Yunque’s jungles, zip line tours through the treetops, and the Cueva Ventana) to colonial history (like the El Morro fort’s 500-year-old walls). 

Shoppers should visit the boutiques and outlets in Old San Juan. Night owls will love Vieques’ bioluminescent Mosquito Bay. Among these best Puerto Rico activities, you’ll find:

  • Old San Juan: El Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, and Calle del Cristo are just a few of the top attractions in Viejo San Juan.
  • El Morro: protrudes from San Juan harbor, beckoning cruise ships. Construction on the massive six-story fortress began in 1539.
  • Vieques: Mosquito Bay is famous in the evenings because of its bioluminescent activity that lights up the shore in a stunning blue tone.
  • El Yunque National Forest: or simply El Yunque, is also known as the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. It’s also a popular destination for hikers on vacation.
  • Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: located in San Juan’s bustling Santurce neighborhood, houses over 1,000 works of art created by Puerto Ricans.
  • Snorkeling: explore cays, beaches, and mangrove coves to find tropical fish, sea turtles, and colorful reefs just beneath the surface.
  • Cueva Ventana: It’s yet another spectacular outdoor adventure in Puerto Rico. You’ll not just hike through a limestone cave here, but you’ll also find stone carvings and pre-Columbian petroglyphs.

Nicaragua Activities

Nicaragua is home to 19 live volcanoes. Whether it’s ascending a volcano on Isla de Ometepe, sledding down a volcano outside Leon, or looking into the lava-filled caldera of a volcano at night close to Granada, you won’t end your trip to Nicaragua without having had an incredible volcano experience.

However, those aren’t the only activities you’ll find in Nicaragua; you’ll also get to do the following:

  • Nicaraguan Rainforest: The Caribbean Lowlands are home to the country’s rainforests. Here, you’ll also find the Rio Coco, Central America’s largest river, as well as a diverse range of biodiversity.
  • Granada: It has some of Nicaragua’s best-preserved architecture. It was the country’s first major Spanish settlement.
  • Ometepe Island: This island is formed by two connected volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, and is located on Lago de Nicaragua. The island’s main draws are hiking, kayaking, and cycling.
  • Volcano boarding: Cerro Negro, an active and young volcano, is where you can board down its gravelly slopes on one of the mountain’s many organized tours.
  • Corn Islands: Most visitors come to the islands off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast to fish, snorkel, soak up the sun, scuba dive, and relax with a good book.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Beaches

Nicaraguan best beaches:

  • Yemaya
  • Playa Maderas
  • Redonda Bay
  • Playa El Coco
  • Las Peñitas
  • Pearl Cays

Puerto Rican best beaches: 

  • Playa El Combate
  • Flamenco Beach
  • Playa Seven Seas
  • Sandy Beach
  • Playa Crashboat
  • Sun Bay
  • Playa Luquillo

Both Nicaragua and Puerto Rico are recognized as surfer’s paradise, but their beaches don’t only offer heart-pounding waves. They also have biologically diverse and sunny beaches on the Caribbean sea.

However, Nicaragua also has beaches on the Pacific Ocean and PR on the Atlantic Ocean. This doesn’t make any important difference, but some people may prefer one over the other. 

Yet, to experience the best beaches in Nicaragua, you’ll need to cross the whole country from east to west, and that’s a trip of 11 hours. So you might not be able to get the full Nicaraguan experience if you don’t have enough time.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico is a small island, and it’ll take you 7 hours of driving to go all the way around the island. This means that you can experience the totality of Puerto Rico in much less time, leaving you more time to relax and enjoy the beaches.

Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico: Safety

Unfortunately, Nicaragua has seen a lot of upheaval in recent years. Some parts of the country are dangerous to visit due to the recent political unrest in 2018. Many hotels in Nicaragua have been closed, and residents have moved. In fact, Nicaragua is still considered to be under dictatorship nowadays.

Petty crime is on the rise, but not to the extent that it is in other parts of Latin America. Most visitors to Nicaragua can still visit without being robbed; they just need to be more careful than usual.

Puerto Rico, on the other hand, is currently safe to visit. While there is some petty crime and pickpocketing, which may require you to be more cautious in Puerto Rico than you would like, it is still safe. In fact, it has a lower crime rate than several cities on the mainland of the US, which is reassuring.


Both destinations have stunning landscapes, incredible adventures, and paradisiac beaches. In Puerto Rico, you will find the best amenities while in Nicaragua, you’ll find Volcanoes and Lakes. The historic value of Puerto Rico may be high, but Nicaragua is not far behind.

While it is true that Nicaragua is cheaper than PR, current security conditions clearly aren’t Nicaragua’s strong point, and Puerto Rico is safe as always, which can be a huge thing to consider when deciding your next vacation trip.Of course, if you visit PR, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the Caribbean Trading stores. Or, if you prefer, check the online store, so you can buy gifts and souvenirs for those that didn’t visit Puerto Rico yet, or just to take the essence of the Caribbean with you to your home.

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