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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

NICARAGUA BY THE NUMBERS

Population
5,848,641

Active volcanoes
19

Year Christopher Columbus first landed in Nicaragua
1502

Year Nicaragua became an independent republic
1821

Miles of coastline
566

Percentage of land that is in a park or preserve
17

Species of bird
698

Number of poems attributed to Nicaraguan poet and father of Spanish modernism Rubén Darío
773

 

Buzzworthy

Gallo pinto isn’t Nicaragua’s only famous bean

In Nicaragua, you’re considered a coffee drinker until proven otherwise. Steaming cups of the local brew are pushed not just at breakfast but also at lunch, where they serve as chasers for hearty favorites like thick corn tamales and baho, a dense steamed dish of beef, plantain, yucca, tomatoes and cabbage. A staple of the Nicaraguan diet since they were introduced in the mid-1800s, coffee cherries have thrived throughout the country, but particularly in the volcanic soil and lush, broad-leafed forests of its central mountains, which include the district of Matagalpa. There, the adventurous caffeine lover can visit Finca Esperanza Verde, a working organic coffee farm and eco-tourism lodge, where visitors get a first-hand look at production and as many mugs of the smooth, mellow brew as they can handle.

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

The inside scoop from those in the know

pic1Andrés Lazar

Owner, Espressionista, Granada

“There’s a crater lake called Laguna de Apoyo, a 15-minute drive outside Granada. The water has a lapis lazuli hue, a pool of warm, soothing, liquid sapphire. I try to visit it at least once a week. It’s a nourishing and rejuvenating experience.”

pic2Ashley Blaylock

Founder/director, ChicaBrava surf camp, San Juan del Sur

“I often hike up to the Jesus statue overlooking San Juan del Sur. To get there, you cross a mini Golden Gate Bridge over an estuary spilling into the bay. Then there’s a steep winding road along the northern headland. It’s a beautiful walk.”

pic3Julio Carta

Co-owner, with Andrea Pellegrino, Pan de Vida Granada

“There’s no better way to get into the spirit and experience this beautiful and charming city than to hop into one of its horse-drawn carriages and tour the streets at the tranquilo pace required to take in all it has to offer.”

Headshots by Peter Field



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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