Nicaragua Travel Guide


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Nicaragua

 

The Republic of Nicaragua is located in Central America bordering Honduras and El Salvador to the north, and Costa Rica to the south. The country is the largest but least populated in Central America.

 

It has two large lakes, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua which are joined by the River Tipitapa as well as numerous other beautiful crater lakes. The Pacific Coastal area is fertile and volcanic, the western area is mountainous.

 

There are three main regions, the Pacific region which contains forests, beaches, volcanoes and lakes; the Central Region which has mountains and rivers and is a fertile farming area; and the Atlantic Region which has rainforests, mangrove areas, and coral reefs.

 

During the 16 th century the Spanish colonised the fertile Pacific Coast area and independence from the Spanish was achieved in 1821, following which the country became an independent republic in 1838. The arrival of settlers resulted in the majority of the population being located in the western side of the country. The British had occupation in the Caribbean coastal area for a while in the 19 th century which subsided over the years. Unfortunately, since that time Nicaragua has experienced a lot of political instability and other natural disasters which has hindered development of tourism. However, it is a beautiful country to visit which is steadily rebuilding its economy and has the added bonus for many of a trip free from hoards of other tourists.

 

The population is mainly comprised of Mestizo (mix of Amerindian and white), white, black and Amerindian. The major religion is Catholic, with some Protestants. Spanish is the official language although English is spoken in many areas.

The capital city of Managua in situated in the heart of the country and many of the popular places to visit can be reached from there by a day trip. The capital’s centre was devastated in 1972 by an earthquake but is being rebuilt. Managua ’s old district contains some interesting colonial architecture with its cathedral and National Palace . There are also some museums with artifacts dating back to Nicaragua ’s prehistoric past. Close to Managua there are lagoons which are volcanic craters, where there is plenty of watersports activity, including boating, fishing, etc. One of the more popular recreational resort areas is Laguna de Xiloa. Trips by boat to see the Momotombo volcano, which is still smoking, are available.

 

Approximately one hour’s drive from Managua will take you to some resort areas and beaches, such as Pochomil and Masachapa. The Caribbean coastline has some small ports, including one called Bluefields which was once known as the haunt of pirates. Boat trips can be taken to the Corn Islands , which have lovely white sand beaches and clear turquoise water and are surrounded by coral. The climate in Nicaragua is good for enjoying the beaches year-round, and resorts are available which offer many activities such as diving, snorkeling, surfing and swimming.

 

Other places of interest include León which has a large cathedral and several colleges. Granada , at the base of the Mombacho volcano, has some lovely Spanish-influenced buildings and many interesting churches.

 

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts there are many ecotours available in Nicaragua , whether through cloud forests, mangrove reserves, volcano forests, or river tours. It is a land of many lakes and volcanoes. There are wildlife refuges and rainforest nature reserves throughout the country where many species of flora and fauna can be found. Wildlife safaris are available for viewing the wildlife such as monkeys and iguanas. Some of the islands, wetlands, and forests are home to bird sanctuaries where birds such as parrots and toucans can be seen. There are wildlife viewing trips by boat also, traveling through rainforest areas.

For the energetic and adventurous there are hiking tours to climb volcanoes, or you can choose to go by horseback or on mountain bike. There are kayaking trips on the rivers or lagoons, or you can sail the waters of the lagoons or coasts.

For those seeking more leisurely pursuits, tours are available to see the cigars and coffee being produced, or to visit areas where local arts and crafts and pottery are produced.

 

Weather / Climate:
Nicaragua ’s climate is hot, humid and tropical with average temperature of 83F for most of the year. The rainy season is typically from May-Oct, and dry season Dec-April. The warmest time of the year when temperatures can reach 100F is Feb-May.

 



 

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