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Three Perfect Days: Nicaragua

A haven for backpackers, beachgoers, volcano explorers and history buffs, this Central American country has something for everyone

Author Erin Brady Photography Andrew Rowat

The Cathedral of Granada, with Lake Nicaragua in the background

Picture 1 of 17

The view of Nicaragua from the window of an airplane is stunning. The slopes of cloud-frosted volcanoes run thick with rainforests. Strips of golden sand stretch along the coasts. Impossibly green islands dot mammoth lakes. At ground level, this Central American nation offers a more immediate sense of its natural riches: a dizzying variety of jumping, howling, swimming, slithering and buzzing life that includes kingfishers, kinkajous and Lake Nicaragua’s famous freshwater bull sharks.

In recent decades, this ecological splendor has been overshadowed by a series of natural and political misfortunes. A 1972 earthquake left vast swathes of Managua in ruins. As if that weren’t enough, later in the decade, after the Somoza dictatorship was ousted, a long and violent power struggle ensued. But Nicaragua’s history runs much deeper than this: In 1874, workers discovered footprints that dated back more than two millennia in the volcanic mud alongside Lake Managua.

In terms of its hospitality industry, the country has recovered from its troubles in the ’70s and is currently showcasing its natural history and beauty with a slew of new eco-resorts, in addition to luxury hotels and great restaurants. So when packing that suitcase, be sure to include a dinner jacket along with your hiking boots.

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7 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Nicaragua”

  1. Engler Hamm Horst Says:
    March 9th, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Some years I was not in Nicaragua and so I saw the big difference. Clean and new streets, good and cheap hotels, all in a very good condition. I will soon come back to Nicaragua!

  2. Maumau Says:
    March 10th, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Sweet Sea?? no! It’s Fresh Water Sea.

  3. sophie Says:
    March 11th, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Nicaragua is amazing! And if you plan on staying a few days in Managua, have a look at Ojo Nicaragua and find what restaurants, bars, café and events Managua has to offer! http://www.ojonicaragua.com

  4. Mike pagan Says:
    March 12th, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I found some great in-flight reading – an article
    on Nicaragua. Can’t wait to visit again in a few months.

  5. Vicki Skinner (THE Sarong Goddess) Says:
    April 10th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    WONDERFUL article!!

    I get the privilege of visiting Nicaragua at least 4 times a year since I live in Costa Rica & need to do a Visa Run every 90 days & I REALLY LIKE Nicaragua!! Actually, last year I spent 2 months in total (mainly Matagalpa, San Juan del Sur, Rivas & Isla Ometepe) & in ’13 – 3 months (in San Juan del Sur, Granada, Rivas & Isla Ometepe).

    As a single woman I feel QUITE SAFE traveling solo & Nicaragua’s SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than Costa Rica & the people are special!!! (& the beef is LOTS better!)

  6. Juan J. Escobar (Nicoya Guapo) Says:
    May 14th, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Managua, Nicaragua is where my roots originate. I love to visit the motherland at least 3 times a year. The food is amazing and the sightseeing is awesome. Nicaragua is home to “Flor de Cana”. The Worlds best rum. I had the distinct pleasure of taking the Distillery Tour and bought a bottle of aged 25 year rum. They even engraved my name on the bottle. Lake Nicaragua was also a great tour and even got to see the Famous Fresh Water Bull Sharks up close!

  7. Robin Barth Says:
    July 30th, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Informative article and we appreciate the mention of Finca Esperanze Verde. Sister Communities of San-Ramon, Nicaragua started this marvelous eco lodge and coffee farm, now under private ownership. Come and visit to see why Nicaragua is so special!

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