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Nicaragua – Nature Nirvana of Central America

The Republic of Nicaragua, or simply Nicaragua, is the largest country in Central America and one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the American continent. Once ravaged by political turmoil and corruption, Nicaragua has turned a new leaf – opening its doors to the world to allow tourists to experience the stunning natural beauty of this nation. From the National Geographic Traveler magazine to the New York Times, some of the most popular global publications constantly feature Nicaragua as one of the must-visit tourist destinations in the world. With so much to see and so much to do, Latin America’s largest country is truly the ‘nature nirvana’ for any visiting tourist.


  1. Beaches in Nicaragua

With the Pacific Ocean on its west and the Caribbean Sea on its east, Nicaragua is blessed with a number of stunning beaches. While some are popular for its surfing waves, others provide  perfect solitude amidst stunning scenery. The most popular beaches in Nicaragua include the Colorado Beach (Rivas), San Diego Beach (Managua), San Juan del Sur Beach (Rivas), Salinas Grandes (Leon), Casares (Carazo), Bluff Beach (RAAS), Corn Island, Las Penitas (Leon), and Waula Point Beach (RAAS).


  1. Volcanoes in Nicaragua

One of the most popular attractions in Nicaragua are its volcanoes, some dormant and some still active. Volcano climbing is gaining popularity, although it is strongly recommended to try this with local guides due to the dangers involved. There are many tour companies that offer regular guided tours to these volcanoes. Some of the volcanoes have navigable roads and can be reached in 4-wheel drives. One of the most popular volcanoes is the Mombacho. Other popular ones include the Cerra Negro Volcano, the El Hoyo, the Telica Volcano, the San Cristobal Volcano, and the Masaya Volcano Park.


  1. Rio San Juan

The San Juan River runs for nearly 200 km along the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It is the ideal place to enjoy a tropical river cruise.  A good place to start would be the town of Boca de Sabalos. From there, you can head south eastwards towards the Reserva Biologica Rio Indio-Maiz which is one of the best rainforests in Central America. On the way you will pass El Castillo, a 17th century Spanish fortress built to stop pirates reaching the city of Granada.


  1. Ometepe Island

Located near the central western coast of Lake Nicaragua is the popular and scenic Ometepe Island. Meaning “2 hills” in the native Nahuatl language, the island is made up of 2 volcanoes joined by a narrow strip of land. Spanning 276 sq km, the Ometepe Island is very popular for its beaches, natural reserves, scenic landscape, and hospitality. The prime attraction is certainly the 2 volcanoes – Concepcion and Maderas. Both the volcanoes have hiking trails but should only be ventured if you are really fit. The island also has the Charco Verde Nature Reserve made up of a lagoon, a small hill, and tropical dry forest. The island also offers a variety of water sports.


  1. Managua

Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua, Managua is the capital and the largest city of Nicaragua. The city was declared the capital in 1852, and has since been one of the major economic, industrial, political, and cultural hubs in the country. Managua’s location makes it one of the gateways to the historic and natural beauty of Nicaragua. The surrounding landscape of Managua includes 2 of the biggest lakes of the country, volcanoes, lush green forests, and some stunning beaches. Managua is usually the first stop for most tourists visiting Nicaragua. The city has a number of attractions – natural, architectural, and cultural – that are popular with visiting tourists.


  1. Leon

Named after the Spanish city of Leon, the Nicaraguan city of Leon is one of the oldest cities in the country and is best known for its well preserved colonial architecture. The city once rivaled Granada as the most important city in Nicaragua. However, the disputes and fighting ended when Managua was declared the capital in 1852. Leon was once the cotton growing hub of Nicaragua. Today, this colonial city is a university town with a laid back feel to it and plenty of attractions to explore. Attractions in Leon are dominated by colonial architecture and nature.


  1. Ruins of Leon Viejo

These are the ruins of the 2nd oldest city of the country,  destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 1610. The present-day Leon is the new city that was built 30 km west of these ruins. The ruins were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. Take a guide as there are many historic stories linked to this city of ruins. There are direct buses from the city center that will take you to the ruins. Other attractions in Leon include a number of museums and galleries like the Entomological Museum, Ruben Dario Museum, Museum of Legends and Traditions, and the Indigenous Sutiava Museum.


  1. Granada

Located to the south of the capital Managua, on the shores of Lake Cocibolca is the oldest colonial city in the country – Granada. Colonial architecture cradled in the beauty of nature makes Granada one of the most loved destinations in Nicaragua. It was founded in 1524 and was named after the ancient Spanish city with the same name. Granada has been one of the major centers of politics and commerce in Central America. The city has been in constant dispute with another colonial city – Leon – as to which one is the major city of Nicaragua. It was this constant dispute that led to Managua being declared the capital as it is located between the 2 cities of Granada and Leon! Once you are in Granada, most of the attractions can be easily seen by foot. A touristy option is to take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

Originally posted 2017-04-03 06:48:00.

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