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Nicaragua In the News

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A new adventure travel hotspot: Nicaragua

A decade ago Nicaragua was a no-go zone for the tourist. Plagued for years by catastrophic civil war and wedged between the tourism powerhouse of Costa Rica and its northern neighbor Honduras, famous for cheap diving and the Maya ruins of Copán. However, Nicaragua has quietly stabilized politically and fought to stabilize the second poorest economy in the hemisphere (behind Haiti) in obscurity. Nicaragua has all but been ignored. I find it genuine and the people of Nicargua the most hospitable people in Central America. (See my last article Part 3 of summer Volunteering for a more personal look at my Nicaraguan experiences). 

Nicaragua has retained its culture in ways neighboring Costa Rica has not. Tourism is slowly trickling in as people find their way across the borders looking for a more challenging travel route than the gringo trail in Costa Rica. That is not to say Nicaragua isn't modern but that travel can be a challenge that surrounding countries may not be to those used to a hotel with a star rating.
Nicaragua largely lacks the infrastructure that has come to typify Costa Rica. Eco-tourism is fledgling and resorts exist but most accommodation is generally cheap and sometimes spartan if you are coming from a more established locale. This is one reason why I would choose Nicaragua NOW. It is on the verge of tourist stardom. 

For the time being , Nicaraguan beaches are uncrowded. The Corn Islands , 45 miles off the East coast , are still somewhat isolated. They are some of the most unspoiled and uncrowded diving I have seen anywhere in the Caribbean. No hostel on the island has more than 25 rooms and many families rent out their rooms to travelers for an immersion in the unique Afro-Nicaraguan -Caribbean perspective. 

Ecotourism in the center of Nicaragua revolves around mountains rather than the pristine sea. Volcanoes , dormant and active dot the landscape between Granada and Leon. The volcanic islands of Lake Nicaragua make for excellent exploration on horse or on foot. Hiking trails lend a "lost in paradise" kind of feel to a day hike. The cloud forests on the dormant volcanic slopes, such as Mombacho, make for a photographers dream with butterflies, orchids of all species imaginable, and birds in bewildering abundance. 

Nicaragua is bursting on to the international travel scene. Beaches are secluded , locals still welcome foreigners into their homes, the colonial districts of Granada and Leon still pulse with a Nicaraguan spirit, trails are places for reflection on nature. Tourism is taking off. Now is the time for the those adventurous at heart, to experience this corner of the world!