This Overlooked, Budget-Friendly Destination Is Perfect To Escape The Harsh Winter

It's awfully chilly out there these days, and if you hate the cold as much as the next person, we reckon it's time to head out into the sunshine. If you determine you're too broke to travel after splurging on the holidays, think again. There's one sunny destination that won't break the bank and is a short jaunt from mainland USA.

Nicaragua, located in Central America, is a historic, vibrant nation full of delicious eats, colonial architecture, dramatic volcanoes, and relaxing beaches. With warm weather year-round, it's a perfect escape from the tundras of winter. Perhaps best of all, Nicaragua is notoriously one of the most affordable destinations for American travelers. If you're looking to head off the beaten path to a destination that doesn't require a flight to the other ends of the earth to get a quick fix of sunshine, it's time to start planning your winter escape to Nicaragua.

Cost of an average trip

So, just how affordable is Nicaragua? When it comes to accommodation, centrally located high-rated hotels are available in Granada for as low as $14/night, like Selina Granada. In the capital of Managua, you can snag a five-star hotel, such as Hilton Princess Managua, typically for less than $100/night. Note that prices are subject to fluctuation due to availability and season. Average meals in Nicaragua certainly won't break the bank. Travelers in the past have reported that the average cost of daily meals, in total, is about $15. For some of the best bites, try gallo pinto, quesillo, Indio viejo, and nacatamale.

While renting a car is affordable in Nicaragua, there are a few things to consider beforehand. For starters, there are several police checkpoints throughout the country, and driving can also be challenging in rural areas of the country. If you choose to rent a car, you will need an international driver's license and a driver's license from your home country. Rental cars from Managua start around $14/day.

If you want to forfeit the car, transportation is readily available via intercity busses, which only cost between $1 and $4 for shorter routes and up to $20 for longer rides. Since Nicaragua is so affordable, you might want to consider a private taxi, but make sure to set a price before getting into the car, and don't be afraid to negotiate the price if you feel you're getting ripped off.

Destinations worth visiting

Nicaragua is geographically small and can be seen in just a few days. If you enjoy slow travel, this country is an ideal destination for spending a few weeks, especially for those who work remotely, due to its affordable cost of living. Granada is one city you definitely won't want to miss while visiting the country. It is home to the Catedral de Granada, a stunning church that dates back to 1583. You'll want to ensure you stroll through Central Parque, where you can purchase goods from local vendors while taking in the colonial-style architecture of the city. Granada is also home to the ChocoMuseo, or Chocolate Museum of Granada. Not only can you taste some Nicaraguan chocolate, but you can take cooking classes, as well.

For a truly underrated destination, head to the picturesque remote Corn Islands. Located off mainland Nicaragua, the Corn Islands are a hidden gem in Nicaragua and the Caribbean. They're especially great for those who want to kick back, relax, and enjoy that slow island life. León is yet another fascinating Nicaraguan city that should not be skipped. It is conveniently located near Cerro Negro, a volcano that's great for hiking, sandboarding, and viewing. With so much to do, one of the best ways to see León quickly and learn about its historical context is by taking a free walking tour of the city