Nicaragua is a wonderfully diverse country. Whether it is the flora, food, culture, women’s clothing, languages or people you will get an exciting smorgasbord bursting with colour.
Nicaragua is located on the Central American isthmus – that piece of land that joins the two Americas. The countrNicaragua is a wonderfully diverse country. Whether it is the flora, food, culture, women’s clothing, languages or people you will get an exciting smorgasbord bursting with colour.
y is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It has two large lakes – Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua. The climate is tropical.
Nicaragua is subject to frequent volcanic activity, which occasionally causes damage but also provides it with some of the most fertile soil in the region. It is that fertility that has given the country a luxuriant biological and botanical variety making it a designated biodiversity hotspot.
The people and culture are just as diverse. The Spanish ruled here from the 16th century till 1821 when Nicaragua gained its independence. Their influence is still strong, most notably in the central and western regions of the country. It can be seen in the costumes of the indigenous Mestizo women, the music and religion. The indigenous tribes have merged into the Spanish culture.
The aromas, colours and language of Nicaragua carry a strong British accent too. The Caribbean facing region was once a British Protectorate and English is dominant. The province has much in common with Jamaica. The native peoples in this area have managed to retain their identities and languages, which are Miskito, Sumo and an English patois.
Till the early 20th century, agriculture was Nicaragua’s main economic activity – growing coffee, tobacco and cotton – with a major portion exported. Beef and rum (Flor de Ca?a) are also big export items. However, tourism has made a huge surge in cash earning value for the country. It has now become the second largest industry with rather stunning growth rates.
It is easy to understand why tourism has blossomed in Nicaragua. There are many beautiful beaches. There are plenty of trekking, ecotourism and adventure tourism opportunities in the lush lowlands or the verdant forests of the central mountain region. Many towns (especially León and Granada) have beautiful Spanish colonial-style buildings and superb architecture.
Food in Nicaragua is a very interesting and pleasurable mix and definitely one of the country’s highlights. The traditional cuisine is fruit, beans and corn-dominated but varies from coast to coast and in-between. Seafood on the Caribbean side of the country is a staple with coconut used in the cooking. Nicaragua grows many indigenous fruit such as jocote, mango, papaya, tamarindo, pipian, banana, avocado, yucca, and herbs such as cilantro, oregano and achiote.
Some of the more famous dishes (corn-based) are nacatamal and indio viejo. Sweets and desserts too are made from corn. The drinks, again made from corn, are pinolillo and chichi. The national dish, gallo pinto, however is made from white rice and red beans.
From a tourism perspective, Nicaragua has plenty to offer but the infrastructure lags far behind the needs of this growing industry. There are many resorts and a good selection of hotels of varying standards.
It is roads, support facilities and services, public transportation, and emergency services that is very often missing or non-existent. Getting around can be quite a chore and sometimes unsafe and unreliable. Regulation of many aspects of Nicaragua’s tourism is minimal.
Baseball introduced to the country in the 19th century is the most popular sport played in Nicaragua.