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Nicaragua

Set in the middle of Central America, Nicaragua is a naturally stunning country with a colorful history. Known as the “land of lakes and volcanoes” it also boasts extensive coastlines on the Pacific and Caribbean and an array of wildlife and terrain that rivals that of its better known neighbor just to the south, Costa Rica. And there’s the weather – perfectly balmy year round. Average annual temperatures range from a daily low of 72 to a high of 81, with average high’s never above 84 in any month.

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Volcanoes to hike all across the land, coffee farming and caballeros in the North, classic colonial towns like Granada and Leon in the center, and palm-studded Caribbean islands on the Atlantic side. Just a few of the activities available: surfing on the Pacific Coast, kayaking/bird watching, yoga and massage retreats, arts/crafts shopping in Masaya and Granada, horseback riding, jungle canopy rides, hiking the twin volcanoes of Ometepe Island, diving in the Corn Islands, sportfishing, golfing, Spanish language studies and overnighting at a mountain-top coffee plantation. Or, you can just sleep in, then head to the beach to read your favorite novel.

Today, after decades of political stability, Nicaragua is firmly on the map as a “go-to” destination. Nicaragua travel is on the rise with tourist arrivals topping 1 million back in 2011, and more and more of  those vacationers coming back for repeat visits. For Nicaragua real estate investors the market’s appeal is also on the upswing as people from the US, Canada and Europe are discovering the lower costs and relaxing pace of life of today’s Nicaragua.

Unique and unspoiled, Nicaragua is an enchanting place to create your own space.

It's Different Here

Total #McDs

Population

People per McDs

NICARAGUA

6

5,991,733

998,662

COSTA RICA

50

4,805,295

96,105

FRANCE

1258

65,696,689

96,105

US

14157

313,914,040

22,173

Those who’ve heard of the Big Mac index may be interested in the newly introduced “McD Model”, a relative measurement of cultural globilization. Nothing against the Hamburgler, but sometimes too much of the same thing is not a good thing. Translation: for less of the same old same old, and more of what you’ve never seen, give Nicaragua a try.

San Juan del Sur and nearby

If the beach is your thing, then San Juan del Sur is where you want to be….

” …the hub for exploration of Nicaragua’s toned-and-tanned southern Pacific beaches…”

The Pacific coastline of Nicaragua has few natural harbors, and as one of the biggest San Juan has attracted travelers for centuries, including Gold Rush prospectors on their way to California in the 1850’s.

Now the focus has shifted to surfing and other watersports by day, and at night to socializing with other locals and a steady stream of tourists from all over the world. San Juan has eating options for everyone, from inexpensive local eateries specializing in grilled chicken or fish to Italian and Mediterranean-inspired fine dining. After dinner cocktails can be found beachside, along with of course a variety of surf-style bars. It’s a small, charming and very walkable town, with all shops and services concentrated in the center.

“This beautiful fishing village is a Nicaraguan gem, a magnet for surfers and sunbathers. At night, the beach still pulses with activity, thanks to a few popular beachfront bars and nightclubs.” – Trip Advisorbarber shop_web

If you want to find your own private beach, with no one to share it but the shorebirds, you can still do that here. The beaches stretch to the North and South, many accessible by car, so pack up a picnic lunch and make a day trip of it. For surfers, other secluded breaks can be reached via boat out of San Juan. Sailing and fishing charters also head out from the harbor for day trips and more. For much more on SJDS, visit sanjuandelsur.org.

girls and dogs on the beach_webHeading inland from San Juan, you don’t have to drive far to find more open water. At over 3000 sq miles in size, the freshwater Lake Nicaragua is one of the largest lakes in the Americas and with its centerpiece island of Ometepe surely among the most stunning. The island, defined by its twin volcanoes,  attracts hikers, equestrians and those looking for a truly unspoiled natural setting. 

Further up the lake is the colonial town of Granada, perhaps the prettiest town in all of Nicaragua and certainly one of the best for shopping and dining. Only 90 minutes from El Encanto, Granada makes for an all around flavorful day-trip or a romantic overnight stay if you take advantage of the chic hotels installed in classic colonial spaces or finely presented eco-lodges set on the lakeside.

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Within biking distance of Granada is yet another spectacularly situated lake, this one set inside the crater of a dormant volcano.  Laguna de Apoyo, inside a protected Nature Reserve, features a deep and warm lake with a smattering of small hotels and eateries on the shoreline. That, and the chance to say “yea, that’s right, i swam in a volcano”.

Explore

Outside the immediate San Juan area, Nicaragua travel opportunities stretch to the north into the mountains of coffee country and east all the way out into the Caribbean.

The Corn Islands are set well out into the Caribbean, far enough to impart a distinct Robinson Caruso vibe. People are few and life is slow on the Corn’s, in fact on Little Corn it’s at a walking pace since there are no cars to speak of. Just sliding on the radar of international beach hunters, the Corn’s are not only delightfully chilled-out but also home to some fantastic diving and fishing should you choose to rise from the beach.

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Back on land and to the NorthWest is Leon, historically and currently battling Granada for title of “best looking town” in Nicaragua.

Farther to the North stretch farms and ranches up into the mountain towns of Esteli and Matagalpa. This is coffee country, producing some of the best in the world with much of it coming from small family-owned organic farms. matagalpagallery1For coffee buffs an overnight farm stay is a must. And for cigar lovers the area is also worthy of pilgrammage – in it’s 2013 annual ranking of top smokes, Cigar Aficionado placed 4 from Nicaragua in the Top 10.