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Sandwiched between Honduras and Costa Rica in Central America lies one of Latin America’s most exciting up and coming destinations, Nicaragua. After long and turbulent history of civil war, dictatorship in the 1980’s and unfortunate string of natural disasters, Nicaragua was a no-go destination for many, ventured only by seasoned travellers who dared the questionable reputation.
Decades later, Nicaragua is leaving their troubled past behind them and emerging like a phoenix from the flames to become one of the must-visit countries in Central America. Costa Rica, to the south, has been benefiting from economic growth recently, and Nicaragua has been inspired by their neighbours tourist-friendly approach and booming travel industry. The country has been investing cleverly in infrastructure and hospitality services to attract new visitors and shred misconceptions surrounding their beautiful country.
As their nickname suggests, The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes has plenty of attractions. There are 19 active and dormant volcanoes in a row along the coast. Some volcanos have smoking crater mouths whereas others were blown away in violent eruptions thousands of years ago, leaving behind nothing more than a tranquil crater lake. Visitors to a young active volcano called Cerro Negro can climb to the top, muster their courage and board down its side sitting on a piece of wood!
There are three beautiful lakes; Lake Nicaragua being the largest in the south, and Lake Managua and Apanás further north. Lake Nicaragua is the most noteworthy, providing stunning views, great hiking trails and home to the small volcanic island of Ometepe which has tons of wildlife. This abundance of wildlife and endangered species such as howler, white-faced and spider monkeys is already drawing in travellers and eco-tourism is on the rise. The Indio-Maíz reserve alone has more species of trees, birds and insects than the whole of Europe making it an enticing place to visit for nature lovers. Morgan’s Rock and Aqua Wellness Resort are two fantastic hotels specifically designed for eco-friendly guests and a great option for those looking for those looking to get in touch with nature.
Nicaragua is dotted with charming colonial cities such as Granada and León, two of the biggest Spanish settlements in the country whose vibrant colourful architecture makes for a picture postcard at every turn. The Spanish lineage also appears in the nations cuisine, mixed with Caribbean and Pacific influences which you can find served in quaint cafes and restaurants. Granada is considered the oldest city in Central America and is believed to have been establish in 1524. Managua, the countries capital, has been home to many indigenous tribes, all of them contributing to the rich cultural and ethnic mix. For those visiting here, Elements Hotel Boutique is a five star hotel located in the bustling heart of the town, close to restaurants and shopping malls.
Currently, the country is growing in reputation making it the perfect time to beat the crowds and travel to this undiscovered paradise. The allure of fantastic white sandy beaches has seen the rise of luxury lodges and hotels emerging, one of which being the Mukul Beach, Golf and Spa which is regarded as one of the finest in the country. Luxury resorts are appearing all over the country including the idyllic surf town of San Juan del Sur in the south west. The area has become popular with tourists due to its breathtaking backdrop and features many luxurious hotels including Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa.
Nicaragua is defined by two seasons, the warm and dry summer months of December to April and the rainy winter months from May to November. Downfalls are heavy, but often short, and is when you will find the cheapest deals available. Flights to Nicaragua are typically around 16 hours and involve a connection in the USA before landing in Managua.
For those who are looking for a tropical holiday like no other, be sure to consider Nicaragua, a country filled with natural beauty, friendly people and signs of becoming one of the most popular destinations in Latin America.