Destination: visit Nicaragua -mucho por descubrir!
Nicaragua is located in Central America, between the Caribbean Sea (East), the Pacific Ocean (West), Honduras (North), Costa Rica (South). With a surface of 50,451 square miles (130.668 sq km), Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and it also contains the largest freshwater body in the region, Lago de Nicaragua or Cocibolca. There are three major geographic regions: the Pacific lowlands, or western region; the Caribbean lowlands (or eastern) region, which consists mainly of rain forest and pine savannas; and the central highlands. Because western Nicaragua is located at the juncture between colliding tectonic plates, the region is subjects to earthquakes, and volcanic activity.
The capital of Nicaragua is Managua; the official currency is the Cordoba and spanish is the official language. Other important cities are: Granada, Leon, Jinotega, Matagalpa, Chinandega, and Masaya.
The climate here is warm and humid, and temperature varies with altitude. The rainy season is from May through October. The Caribbean coast is subject to a hurricane season from August to October.
Nicaragua's indian civilizations were clompetely wiped out by the infectious diseases, enslavement and deportation after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. Nicaragua was declared a Spanish colony, obtained its independence from Spain in 1821 and finally became an independent republic in 1838. Since Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, many locals still speak English. The US Marines invaded Nicaragua several times, but were eventually forced to withdraw. During most of the twentieth century Nicaragua has suffered under dictatorial regimes. This period was characterized by the rise and fall of the Somoza dynasty, who controlled the government, and the military. Their power came to an end when the insurrection movement led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front took over. A peace initiative brought the civil war to an end in the late 1980s and a new government was installed in April 1990.
The Nicaraguan culinary tradition dates back to pre-columbian times and it is a mixture of indigenous, Spanish and Creole cuisine. Corn is the basic ingredient of Nicaraguan cuisine. It is used in many different ways: to make drinks, such Chicha and Pinot; for main dishes such as Nacatamal, Indio Viejo, and Sopa de Albondiga or for snack and sweets such as Atolillo and Perrereque. The are many traditional Nicaraguan dishes, and each region has its own. Gallo pinto is considered a national symbol. It is made with fried rice with onion and sweet pepper, red beans boiled with garlic. Other traditional dishes include nacatamal, a dough prepared with ground corn and butter and filled with pork or chicken, rice, potatoes, onion, sweet pepper, all packed in leaves of platain tree; quesillo, and many others.
If you like adventure, there are many destinations in Nicaragua.
Corn Island and Little Corn Island are the perfect places for SCUBA diving and snorkeling, because the waters shelter pristine reefs and harbor a vast diversity of both sea life and coral. It is not unusual here to encounter sea turtles, eagle rays, or nurse sharks. Here you can also visit a few tiny interesting churches, a couple of sunken boats and a run down lighthouse.
The Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya is just outside the capital city of Managua, in western Nicaragua. Masaya is an active volcano and it is the largest of the two volcanoes that lie within the park. Bats and chocoyos are animals characteristic of the park. You can take bat tours, evening guided hikes that will take you inside the caves where millions of bats live. Chocoyos are small green parrots that live inside the main caldera of the volcano and the best time to see them is in late afternoon when they return to their nests.
In the Isla de Ometepe, you can visit the reserva Charco Verde, a natural reserve where you can hike, swim, and kayak. Other places to visit here are the San Ramon Waterfall, the Santo Domingo Beach, that disappears during the rainy season, when the lake rises, and El Ceibo museum, dedicated to pre-columbian artifacts.
The Laguna de Apoyo is a very isolated nature reserve and the laguna is actually within a crater of an inactive volcano.
El Castillo, located on the San Juan river of Nicaragua, is a fortess that was built in the 1670s to protect Lake Nicaragua and its ports, mainly Granada and Leon.
The beaches of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast are the most popular destination among surfers. Madera is another favorite.
Nicaragua has 25 volcanoes and 7 active ones. Cerro Negro is the youngest active volcano of Central America.
Bosawa is one of the two most important biosphere reserves in Nicaragua. It covers an area of more than 20,000 sq meters (the whole size of Belize!) and is the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere after the Amazon in Brazil.
Mombacho volcano is a natural reserve cloud forest that shelters 173 species of birds, 47 species of mammals, 752 species of plants, and 10 species of amphibians.
Nicaragua's national sport is baseball.