When somebody mentions Nicaragua usually it is to say that closeby Costa Rica is a great place to visit or Belize. They are all located in Central America and most of them, especially Costa Rica get a ton of visitors each year. But Nicaragua is something special and it should be explored because it offers travelers an important look back at history, beautiful cities full of old colonial charm, volcanic hiking, and even some beaches. It truly has it all.
Nicaragua has changed hands a few times. Before it was the independent state it is now it was actually composed of a large Colombian population until the Spanish showed up in the 16th century. Christopher Columbus was actually the one who claimed to have discovered it back in 1502. After the Spanish colonized it they built up the country until the United States decided to intervene in the early 1900s and help prop up certain political parties. There then followed civil war, many changing governments and dictators and now a quieter era has arrived making it a prime time to visit.
What To Do
If you enjoy colonial cities then Granada and León are must visits. They are full of colorful buildings in the Spanish style that have a crumbling elegance that will appeal to any architecture or history lover. Hiking is also a must in this green country and with a whopping 19 volcanoes, there are some amazing volcanic valleys to traverse but be warned most of these are still active. This small country is also a major surfing destination and has some of the finest waves over on San Juan del Sur.
Where To Stay
There is a real mix of luxury and budget which means any traveler can find the experience they are looking for. If you want luxe living then there are a ton of eco-lodges to stay at like the Hacienda; Ecolodge Morgan’s Rock on San Juan del Sur for the surfers or Mukul which has private beach villas and Turkish baths. If hostels and small guest houses are more in your budget range then the SOLID Surf Camp around El Transito will offer travelers a good place to rest after a long day on the waves.
What To Eat
Nicaraguan cuisine is pretty varied but there is the main ingredient found in almost everything: corn. A lot of fruits are also used in dishes such as jocote, tamarind and yucca. When it comes to meat literally everything is eaten so if you are out for a traditional meal don’t be surprised if the cuts of meat are not what you are used to, offal is quite common. Some must try dishes are Gallo Pinto, Nacatamal and Indio Viejo. You will just have to make sure you are okay with spice!