Review

NICARAGUA, A TROPICAL PARADISE TO DISCOVER


Las Segovias Mountain RangeNicaragua enjoys an enviable spot in the American continent, as it is right in the middle of the Central American Isthmus, where the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean are separated by only 220 kilometers of land. The serparation is even less considering that Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River, which drain to the Caribbean, are natural routes facilitating transport between the two oceans. Nicaragua is a country blessed bountifully by nature and with many resources. It has an area of 130,668 square kilometers, with water bodies taking up 9,240 of these. There are numerous fresh water lakes and lagoons, such as Lake Nicaragua, or Cocibolca, the largest fresh water lake in Central America and the eighth largest in the world, covering approximately 8,264 square kilometers. Lake Xolotlán, better known as Lake Managua, covers 1,064 square kilometers. Other water bodies are volcanic crater lagoons located in volcano cones that have been inactive for several thousands of year.

Nicaragua, known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, offers visitors countless tourist attractions and is known for its abundance of natural wealth, the warmth of its people, its history and customs. Standing out among the latter are its religious festivals, handicrafts, and folklore. Among the most famed displays are the Toro Guaco, San Sebastián and El Guegüense. One of the main tourist attractions is what is known as the route of the white towns, where a great variety of handicrafts are produced. It is an area with picturesque landscapes and attractive and comfortable places where typical meals can be enjoyed. Along this route is San Juan de Oriente, a small town famous for its pottery. Catarina is an ideal spot to buy handicrafts, plants or simply enjoy its agreeable climate and the spectacular view of the magnificent Apoyo Lagoon, looking down over the city of Granada and its eponymous lake.

Handicrafts, city of MasayaAnother city that is a must to visit is: Masaya, where folklore can be appreciated in its full splendor. Every Thursday there is a popular gathering at the national handicrafts market offering a sampling of our best typical music and dance.At the same time, you can shop for a great variety of handricrafts, such as hammocks, leather crafts, wooden handicrafts, embroidered clothing, etc.

Isletas de GranadaAnother no less important city is Granada, one of the oldest colonial cities on the continent. There are beautiful ancient churches and buildings that still conserve the architectural style particular to the colonial period. The San Francisco Convent, founded in 1529, is one of the oldest churches and one of the most important such buildings in Central America. From the monumental GranadaCathedral on Parque Colón, the road leads down to the shores of Lake Nicaragua, the natural habitat of the freshwater shark, the only such species that has adapted to fresh water. If you go to the Port of Asese, you can make an eco-tour around the 360 islets of the Granada archipielago formed during a past violent explosion of the Mombacho Volcano.

Among the cities and sites that attract many tourists are:

The City of León: famous for its religious festivals, such as La Gritería or Purísima, held in December in honor of the Virgin Mary.

Matagalpa and Jinotega: With an average elevation of 1000 meters, these cities are located in the northern part of the country where temperatures range from 12º to 20º C (55-70º F). There are rivers and small lakes good for fishing. There are a great variety of birds and plants in the precious mountains. A number of hotels serve as a good starting point for hiking in order to appreciate the natural beauty of these mountains.

Estelí: This city is cool and pleasing. Tobacco is its main crop. You can visit a beautiful spot nearby, Salto La Estanzuela, a beautiful waterfall only 5 kilometers south of the city. The Miraflor Reserve is a beautiful jungle plain with pines and oaks, where you will enjoy an unequalled landscape.

Río San JuanRío San Juan: Near Nicaragua's southern border, this river flows 190 kilometers from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean Sea. The city of San Carlos is the point of departure for exploring this beautiful region. By boat, you can go from the 360 islets to the south of Granada and take a trip to the Solentiname Archipielago in the southern part of the lake to discover the hundreds of animals living there and to enjoy the lush vegetation. Then, go down the San Juan River, a witness to countless historical events, testimony to which is the Castle of the Immaculate Conception, a fortress built by the Spaniards in 1675 on a strategic point overlooking the river and intended to control traffic from the Caribbean sea to the interior of the country.

Pacific Beaches: All along the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, there are different beaches. Standing out among them is Poneloya, 20 kilometers from the city of León. It is ideal for eating Chacocente Natural Reserveseafood and surfing its enormous waves during the dry season. Pochomil is one of the most popular spots in the country with its board sun-swept beach. It has small hotels, bars, restaurants, and picnic areas. La Boquita has a tourism center, along with bars and restaurants where you can enjoy all sorts of seafood dishes. Casares is a small fishing village where you can go fishing or just take a rest in the different hotels you will find there. San Juan del Sur is sited on a bay where people will give you warm welcome, especially during the Easter Week festivities. People from all over the country come here, as do cruise ships with tourists from all over the world. Montelimar is one of the most exclusive beaches and is ideal for windsurfing.

Masaya Volcano National Park: Only 22 kilometers from Managua, it is a double volcano with fice cones. The paved road climbing up to the edge of the Santiago crater takes you past ridges of solidified lava and luxuriant patches of tropical forest up to an elevation of 635 meters. Another site to visit is the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve, where you can look out over the Granada islets while hiking along the natural trails. Discover the exuberant flora and fauna of the cloud forest on this 1,344-meter high inactive volcano.

Island of Ometepe: This is one of the greatest tourist attractions because it is the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world. Called the Sacred Island, it has two volcanoes, the Concepción (1,610 meters) and El Maderas (1,340 meters). It is possible to scale Maderas and along the way, you will find beautiful waterfalls flowing from the crater lagoon in the upper reaches of this formation. Visitors will also be surprised by a great variety of wildlife, especially primates. There are also impressive statues carved out of stone and petroglyphs on Ometepe Island that bear witness to the great cultural wealth of the people that lived here.

Corn Island BeachCaribbean Cost of Nicaragua, Some of it still virgin, the Atlantic Coast is the largest region of the country, covering 46 % of the national territory. Barely inhabited, this area offers lowland jungles where transport is mainly alon rivers. Most of the inhabitants are members of Miskito, Sumo, Rama, Creole Black, Garífuna, and Mestizo communities. In the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) is the city of Puerto Cabezas, the second most important port on the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast. It is inhabited by fishermen and located in the extreme northeast of the country. In the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) is the city of Bluefields. It is sited on the shore of a large coastal lagoon and is the main Caribbean port of Nicaragua. In May, the famous may Pole festival is held with music and dance, extraordinary in its cadence, rhythm, and color. Take a trip on a boat and discover nature in its purest form. The Escondido River, the Río Grande de Matagalpa, or Pearl Lagoon are places that definitely must be visited, as are the Corn Islands with their beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters, surrounded by beautiful coconut palms and ideal for snorkeling and diving.