Welcome to Nicaragua
Located in the heart of the Central American isthmus, Nicaragua is the land bridge between North and South America. It separates the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. The bellybutton of America is unique, due to its almost virgin land. Our republic is being rediscovered as a key part of a wonderful natural world. Nicaragua's great culture and history have much to offer. During prehistoric times, Nicaragua was the passageway for different groups of aborigines that came from Mexico to settle in South America. Later it was an exchange corridor between the cultures of the south and the north. Today we depend on the rich Indian and colonial history that intrigues visitors. This unique stretch of land offers a variety of tropical fruits unknown to the rest of the world, and many biological reserves and nature parks with their native plant and animal species.
The year 1502 marked the arrival of Christopher Columbus-the first European to visit and scout the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. It was not until 1524 that the cities of Granada and León were founded. The hospitality and civility of the Nicaraguans made a significant impression when Chief Nicarao welcomed Captain Gil Gonzalez Dávila. Chief Nicarao´s cunning and intelligence surprised the Spanish conquistador who intended to explore beyond the lakes. They were unsuccessful due to the resistance of Chief Diriangén, who forced the invaders to return to Panama.
Independence and Democracy
Nicaragua became independent from Spain on September 15, 1821, when the five provinces of Central America united. In 1979 the Sandinista Revolution changed many things in the country. Today, we are a parliamentary democracy resulting from free and open elections.
The People of Nicaragua
The warmth of Nicaragua is reflected in its climate and in its kind, resourceful, and hard working people. They surprise you absolutely with their natural frienship. A mestizo race, comprised of people of Indian and Spanish descent, predominates the Pacific region. There are still some pure Indian neighborhoods such as Monimbó, in Masaya and Subtiava, in León. Each preserves their culture from one generation to the next. The Atlantic coast is multiethnic, generally consisting of people with dark skin and curly hair. These people are descendants of natives and the Africans that came from the Caribbean region when the English dominated the region.
Traditions and Festivals
Nicaragua's people celebrate popular traditions throughout the year. The patron saint festivals are wondrous occasions. The entire family participates by dressing in colorful costumes and masks, singing, praying, and sharing food and drinks made from corn and other local products. Our festivals are a mix of pagan and religious beliefs that stem from Nicaragua's Indian ancestral legacy reflected in the religious celebrations of today.
Nicaragua is rich in art. From pre- Columbian times, the Indians showed simplicity and the use of a great variety of vibrant colors and materials reflecting their rich natural world. Today, visitors enjoy primitive paintings and sculptures in places like the magnificent archipelago of Solentiname, located in the Great Lake Nicaragua. There, local artists translate and give new meaning to the messages of an ancient world. Their art is inspired by, feelings for, and a great sense of connection to, their surroundings.
Our tours offer trips to the most important arts and crafts markets of the country. You visit the artists and their workshops, where the tourist sees how the different pieces of art, utilitarian, decorations, or clothing are made. Most artists are pleased to explain the symbolism of, and the story behind, their work. Here you will find reduced prices as you buy directly from the producer.
The official language is Spanish, with Indian influences from the Nahautl and other native languages like Taines and Quechua, as well as influences from the Sumos, Ramas, and Miskito tribes. English is widely spoken and is, in fact, the second language in Nicaragua.
We have chosen the best restaurants for our clients to visit during their excursions throughout Nicaragua. We offer international menus as well as varied dishes of traditional foods. There is fine fare for everyone; including delicious fish, lobster or freshwater or saltwater shrimp for seafood lovers. Meat eaters will enjoy Nicaragua's famed steaks and chops. For vegetarians, we provide healthy and delicious salads of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nicaragua's climate is basically tropical, alternating between dry in the west and humid in different parts of the east. Due to its proximity to the equator, throughout the year, the daytime hours are about equal to the nighttime hours. Like every country in the tropics, we enjoy two seasons: winter (or "green" season) and summer. The green season extends from May through October, and the summer season extends from November through April.
We recommend comfortable clothing. Nicaraguans enjoy two seasons. Both are warm. Casual clothing such as shorts, t-shirts, jeans, caps or hats, tennis shoes or leather boots (depending on the tour) are preferable. Don't forget the sun tan lotion and creams.
Currency and Banking
The official currency of Nicaragua is the Córdoba. All banks and currency exchange houses deal with transactions from dollars to the national currency. They also make bank transfers to any place in the world. Many restaurants and stores accept dollars in lieu of the national currency. You may use Traveler's checks, but their use is limited outside of Managua. Visa, Master Card and American Express are accepted at most hotels, stores, and restaurants in the country.
Visa and Airport Taxes
You do not need a visa to enter Nicaragua*. A tourist card must be purchased for U$5.00 at the country's border. Airport taxes are U$ 32.00, paid at the time of departure.
* The following countries need entry visas:
Cuba, Albania, Pakistan, Libya, Korea Sri Lanka, Haiti, Afghanistan, Lebanon,
India, Nepal, Somalia, Vietnam, China, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
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