It used to be that intrepid tourists looking for an off-the-beaten-path escape would head to the wild and relatively unexplored rainforests and expansive beaches of Costa Rica. These days, though, with major hotel chains holding court, and millions of tourists flocking to the popular Central American nation, its neighbor Nicaragua is emerging as the adventure destination du jour.
And rightfully so. The once-troubled country has, in recent years, become one of the safest places in Central America to visit. The towns are charming and the people impossibly welcoming and kind. Plus, dotted with 19 volcanoes (half of which are still active), massive expanses of untouched rainforest, and miles of pristine surfer-friendly beaches, Nicaragua is a true natural paradise. It’s one that remains blissfully undiscovered—but not for long. Here, six reasons why you should book a flight to Nicaragua right now (or, you know, pretty soon).