Granada city view © Carlos Adampol
In the past Nicaragua has swayed violently from right to left,
but the momentum has long settled and left the country clear to be
seen for its dramatic scenery. And yet, although the violence ended
two decades ago, the country has yet to re-brand itself from the
stigma of the past into the major tourist destination it might be
in the future.
It is only a matter of time before more tourists catch wind of what the lucky few visitors already have found; Nicaragua has an entire geographical world within its borders.
The country is positioned between Costa Rica, to the south, and Honduras to the north. It is flanked by oceans on two sides; the Atlantic Caribbean stretches along its eastern shores and the Pacific to the west. Lago de Nicaragua, a 92-mile (148km) long freshwater and shark inhabited lake, dominates the terrain of the southwest. Networks of interlacing rivers connect it all.
As though the land felt threatened by so much water, active volcanoes smoulder and ooze lava fields. Rainforest blankets much of the lowlands. The highlands shoot up mountain peaks and are the origin of high-quality coffee beans. Incredible animals make their home in these environments. Millions of sea turtles are born in the sandy western beaches. Jaguars and three-toed sloths roam jungle canopies.
People of widely different languages and cultures inhabit the less populated Caribbean coast. These reggae cultures, more in tune with Caribbean lifestyle, are an ideal place to relax. The less placid Pacific coastline produces great waves for surfing vacations.
The capital city, Managua, isn't a picturesque city but is used by travellers for its modern facilities like airport and hospitals. Other cities and towns are adorned with colonial style architecture. These make romantic destinations more akin to their days of Spanish colonisation than to the modern world. However tourist infrastructure is not yet well developed. For some this can mean unwanted difficulties, for others, a boon to the traveller who enjoys unique experiences and undigested attractions.
Become our Nicaragua Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Nicaragua travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Nicaragua or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.