Dry Forest

This unusual eco-system is found in select parts of the world and includes numerous unique trees. All “dry” forest flora has to survive 6 months of hard rain and then 6 months of total draught. This type of forest is very good for wildlife viewing in the dry season.

Gallery Jungle

Named for the rows of tree which are growing out of a river bank, this type of forest is perfect for seeing tropical animals, Congo Monkeys as well as white faced monkeys and Macaws . Often preferred by nature photographers for the abundance of good lighting on the subject in their natural habitat.

Cloud Forest

Forest that receives lots of moisture from clouds, in Nicaragua it’s found above 3,000 feet above sea level, very diverse forest with lots of orchids and bromeliads in Nicaragua. The upper regions of the Mombacho Volcano is a prime example.

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge

One of the best wildlife parks in Nicaragua for tourists in terms of viewing opportunities. However access is only by boat, so not for budget travelers. It names comes from the animal Guatuzo or Agouti which is a reddish tail-less rodent.  The natives of the region used to paint their faces in red mud and hence the name of the area.

Indio-Maíz Nature Reserve

Nicaragua best lowland rain forest reserve with early 4,000 km2 of forest. The reserve is home to great bio-diversity, but tourism is very limited due to lack of hiking trails.

Las Isletas Archipelago

Just off the shores of Granada, this series of volcanic islands are from of a volcanic eruption of the nearby Mombacho Volcano. Many are inhabited by wealthy Nicaraguan families who have vacation homes there.

Range of Los Maribios

These beautiful mountains include 5 active  volcanoes, great for hiking and climbing, all with spectacular views of the Pacific slope and on a clear day the Pacific Ocean

Mombacho Volcano

This dormant cone can be seen from the colonial city of Granada and is for sure the most managed of all cloud forest reserves in Nicaragua. A landslide destroyed what was Granada’s twin city on its water filled south side in the late 16th century.

Chocoyero

“Place of parakeets”, a dry forest reserve with two cascades and a diverse flora and fauna. The reserve is home to over Pacific green parakeets or Chocoyos and is located less than one hour from downtown Managua.

Masaya

The home of Nicaragua’s rich and unique folklore, known worldwide for its fine hammocks. The city has a late 19th century open-air market which has been restored and is popular place to shop for artisan crafts.

Masaya Volcano National Park

One of Nicaragua’s most important visitor attractions, this caldera with numerous cones inside is a great place to look inside an active volcano with zero hiking.

Colonial León

León is the center of Nicaragua’s revolutionary history and poetry. Today is a university town, home to intellectuals and artists, as well as a new tourism sector. The biggest church in Central America, the Cathedral of León is now an UNESCO world heritage site.

Corn Island

Two small islands located 1 hr east of Managua via airplane, they were visited by Christopher Columbus in 1502 and are now inhabited by a mix of Afro-Caribbean’s and Miskito Indians who live mostly from fishing for lobster and tourism. The islands are lined by sugar white sand beaches and pristine coral reefs.

Selva Negra

The name celebrates the German heritage of its owners. This Nicaraguan version of the black forest is a great place for hiking and relaxing.

 San Juan River

118 miles in length, this is the only drainage of Lake Nicaragua and finishes in the Caribbean Sea. The river has a 17th century Spanish fortress  and the Indio-Maíz Reserve as its biggest attractions.

Ometepe Island

The twin-peaks of Nicaragua, located in Lago Cocibolca, it is made up of two volcanic cones, one active, Volcán Concepción and the dormant Volcán Maderas. Both the cones of Isla de Ometepe have nature reserves and the isthmus connecting the two volcanoes has a long sandy beach. Isla de Ometepe has over  605 archeological sites.

San Jacinto, León

A smoky village with scalding bobbling fumarolic activity. Known to natives as Los Hervideros de San Jacinto the fumaroles have formed micro-craters of varying size, color and shape. The village is shadowed by the active Telica Volcano, the source of this activity.

San Juan de Oriente

A Spanish settlement in the 16th century, this is ground zero for Nicaraguan pottery. The population’s ceramic tradition pre-dates the Conquest and their pottery can be found in stores from San José, Costa Rica to Rome. It is located in the Pueblos Blancos.

Pueblos Blancos

Spanish for “White Villages” most of the homes are actually painted in bright colors. Also called Los Pueblos de la Meseta or Mesa Villages. Great for culture tours, these villages are very quaint and laid back.

Hotels San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur has a weak selection of quality hotels, but much more for the backpacker. The hotels of San Juan del Sur jack rates dramatically for Holy Week and Christmas periods so it would be wise to avoid visits during these holiday periods when choosing hotels in San Juan del Sur, or at least book well in advance.

Granada

Granada is now rapidly becoming famous on the world stage as the most important tourism destination in Nicaragua for its lake front beauty and splendid colonial homes. Granada, Nicaragua, founded in 1524, is one of the oldest European settlements in the Americas. Granada was the economic capital of Nicaragua in colonial years.

William Walker

Unknown to most Americans, this curious character is an arch-villain in most  Central American history books. A native of Tennessee he came with a mercenary army in the mid-1850’s and nearly succeeded in annexing Nicaragua to the USA.  Nicaragua first battlefield victory of against Walker’s army occurred on the 14th of September 1856 and is celebrated as a national holiday.

Mark Twain

Great American writer who visited Nicaragua on his way to New York. His observations are recounted in a rare book Travels with Mr. Brown. Twain was particularly impressed with the beauty of the Nicaraguan people and nature.

Rubén Darío

Nicaragua’s supreme culture hero, Darío made a profound impact on Spanish literature and poetry, previously unheard of for a writer from a poor forgotten colony of Spain. Loved by most countries in Latin America he is cited by the 20th century’s greatest poets as being an inspiration. His house in Leon is a museum.

Daniel Ortega

The new president of Nicaragua is a unique leader. The leader of the FSLN (Front Sandinista for Liberation National) in Nicaragua, he began in an underground movement to throw out Somoza family rule in Nicaragua, which succeeded in 1979. He was the leader of Nicaragua’s Sandinista government from 1979-1990. Defeated in the 1990 Nicaragua presidential elections, Daniel Ortega stayed on as the leader of the FSLN political organization and participated in the elections of 1996 and 2001. Daniel Ortega finally won back the Nicaragua presidential seat during the 2006 presidential elections and has been in power since the beginning of 2007, leading Nicaragua to constant economic growth and progress.

Howler Monkey

Called congo in Spanish, the male howler can be heard as far as 4 km away. This is the most common monkey found in Nicaragua. The howler are vegetarians. The male uses his supreme vocal cords to avoid conflicts with other troops of howlers. So though they sound aggressive, they are really making a call to peace.

White-faced Monkey

Mono carablanca in Spanish. The most curious and aggressive of the Nicaraguan species of monkey, this eats just about everything it can catch and is a former pet that is finally being left alone.

Nacatamales

A traditional Nicaraguan tamale which has lots of ingredients that usually include chicken or pork and lots of ground corn meal. The nacatamal is cooked in a banana leaf and boiled.

Cacao

The seed from which chocolate is made after being dried and crushed and mixed with sugar and butter. Nicaragua has some of the highest grade cacao on the planet with Swiss companies using the local seeds for chocolate bars. The Náhuatl speaking indigenous Nicaraguans used the fruit as money

Guapote Fish

Nicaragua’s most famous eating fresh water fish, found in lagoons, rivers and lakes countrywide. This is an uncommonly low fat fish, so best eaten fried and not grilled.

Refresco

Nicaragua fruit juice always mixed with water and sugar and often just called fresco.

Nicaraguan Folk Dances

In Masaya, there are more than 100 folkloric dance companies, all performing the broad variety of traditional Nicaraguan dances. Most of the Nicaraguan dance styles are modified versions of colonial period dances, though African and indigenous influences are present, particularly in Nicaraguan dances from the Caribbean coast.

Zip-line Tour

Use of mountaineering gear to fly in between large trees landing on tree platforms and using metal cables with safety equipment. This popular sport invented in Costa Rica is now practiced world wide.

Francisco Hernández de Córdoba

The Spanish military captain Chico Córdoba established León Viejo and Granada in 1524. The Nicaragua monetary unit carries his name. He was beheaded in 1526 in central park of León Viejo due to suspected plotting against the cruel first governor of Nicaragua.

 San Juan del Sur, Pacific Coast

Located on the southern shores of Nicaragua’s Pacific, this fishing village has grown famous amongst tourists and ex-pats alike. This is a good place to use as a base to explore Nicaragua’s finer beaches, though hotel infrastructure is still way behind luxury home development.

Nicaraos

Popular term used to describe the most economically developed indian culture at the arrival of the first Spanish explorers. Named after chief Nicaragua, whose subjects populated today’s province of Rivas, Nicaragua.

Cocibolca

The most popular of one many supposed Indian names for Lake Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest lake and punctuated by more than 400 islands. Its waters drain via the San Juan River to the Caribbean Sea.

La Gritería

A Nicaraguan religious tradition where believers ask for assistance from Saint Mary and in thanks build small altars in front of or just inside their homes on the 7th of December.

Augusto Sandino

An early opponent of globalization, he was none the less formed by his early days in Mexico. He became the namesake for the FSLN, Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, Sandinista National Liberation Front.  Sandino was a Liberal Party general who fought against the occupation of Nicaragua by the US Marines from 1927-1933.

Animals in Nicaraguan

Being located right in the heart of the tropics at between 11°-15° north of the equator means that the jungle wildlife and Nicaraguan animals are numerous and diverse Nicaragua is home to many endangered species of animals, such jungle wildlife as howler, white faced and spider monkeys, jaguar, giant anteaters, crocodiles, toucans, parrots are examples, as well as a rainbow of orchid and butterflies.

Nicaragua Tourism Attractions

Nicaragua has many more tourism attractions that Americans imagine. It would be very easy to spend 3 weeks touring Nicaragua with all the tourism attractions.

Surfing Nicaragua

Surfing Nicaragua is limited to the waves of the Pacific Coast, and while the wave selection is top quality, the place is no longer a secret, so the dream of being alone on your own break is now a thing of the past, those who came in the early 90’s had just that. There remains a lack of road infrastructure to reach many of the country’s best waves. Charter boat is a costly but effective solution.

Nicaraguan Art

Most modern Nicaraguan art galleries are located in Managua, Granada and León also has galleries dedicated to display of Nicaraguan art. Nicaraguans have achieved dramatically more renown with  poetry that painting or sculpture, but there are some exceptions like Armando Morales.

Flor

Flor is a key word for most visitors to Nicaragua. Not only is flor (Spanish for flower) visible in all parts of the country in its natural state and the name of Nicaragua’s most famous turtle nesting site Playa La Flor, but the world’s best rum, Flor de Caña is made in Nicaragua. Most know that Flor de Caña means Flower of the Cane, a long willowy flower on sugar cane.

 El Hipico

Part of every patron saint festival, this is a parade of the horses carrying well dressed and mostly drunk riders from all over the country.

Mar

Mar is Spanish for sea and although the Pacific is an ocean, most Nicaraguans refer to both bodies of waters: the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean as mar. Even Lake Nicaragua was called by the Spanish el mar dulce or fresh water sea.

Nicaraguan Culture

Nicaraguan culture is a mestizo culture, a blend of the new and old worlds. The most obvious Nicaraguan culture for the visitor is the Nicaragua people’s warm hospitality and great kitchen.

Miskito Indians

Nicaragua is home to the Miskito Indians. Miskito Indians are a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and indigenous cultures and the language of the Miskito Indians has many English words from British domination of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for centuries.

Nicaraguan Dress (Huipil)

Typical Nicaraguan dress is cotton pants and shirt for men and skirt with blouse for woman. In the cities most Nicaraguans dress as elegant as possible when out on the town, while more casual dress is the norm for the beaches and mountains. Our visitors are given specific ideas depending on the travel itinerary chosen.

Nicaraguan History

Nicaraguan history is fascinating. From pre-Columbian times it was a place desired by outsiders and fought over by insiders. Only a tour with a level-headed and well educated guide can bring this complex history to life on a tour.

Nicaragua Travel

The Nicaraguan government has put much effort into seeing than the number of people traveling in Nicaragua increases on an annual basis. Nicaragua travel is increases annually at a rate of about 15%.

Nicaragua Vacation

Vacation in Nicaragua A lot has changed in the last 20 years with Nicaragua Tourism and vacations in Nicaragua are becoming less and less of a surprise to the international market, in particular the US traveler has begun to realize that vacations in Nicaragua are not only unique but highly attractive with Nicaragua being high on the vacation list for holidays the idea of a Nicaragua vacation no longer brings chuckles and head-scratching from fellow workers in the office. The options for a Vacation in Nicaragua are numerous, whether it be a Nicaragua beach vacation, eco tour vacation in Nicaragua or an adventure vacation in Nicaragua that includes both sports and either culture or nature or all of the above. That is one of the great advantages of a vacation in Nicaragua, the traveler can combine not only ecotourism and adventure, but also cultural tourism, making Nicaragua one of the regions most attractive vacation destinations. We invite you to consider a Nicaragua vacation package with Tours Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan People

No doubt that Nicaraguan people are the best thing about Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan people are renowned for humor and hospitality. Though all countries have a special natural beauty that impress visitors, the Nicaraguan people are what leave a lasting impression for most visitors.

Maderas Volcano
With a height of 1,394 metres (4,573 ft), Maderas is the smaller of the two volcanoes which make up the island of Ometepe, situated in Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua, Central America. Unlike Concepción, the other volcano on the island, Maderas has not been active in historical times. Its crater contains a crater lake. The slopes of Maderas are one of the few places on the Pacific side of Nicaragua where cloud forest grows. Cloud forests are characterized by a rich plant and animal life, made possible by the high levels of humidity in the climate. Prehistoric petroglyphs have been found at the Maderas volcano.

Concepción Volcano
Is one of two volcanoes (along with Maderas) that form the island of Ometepe, which is situated in Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua, Central America. Concepción is an active stratovolcano that forms the northwest part of the Isla de Ometepe. Concepción is 1600 m tall and rests on a 1-km-thick base of Quaternary lacustrine mudstones. It is considered a “pristine” volcano because there has been no influence of other volcanoes on its growth. The growth of the volcano comes in phases based on weaknesses of the crust that the volcano rests on. As it grows from additional magma flow, the volcano grows in mass and exerts pressure on the crust. This causes shifts which in turn causes more volcanic growth. This affects the magma chamber which begins the cycle again with growth because of magmatic flow.
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Santo Domingo Beach
Playa Santo Domingo’s 4 km long sand beach is one of Ometepe’s favorite vacation spots. Situated on the island’s north-eastern side Santo Domingo faces the predominant wind direction and the constant, strong onshore breeze keeps you cool. The water is always choppy but nicely warm and shallow so that it’s safe for bathing and swimming. On the beach you often see egrets and ibises. The birds have their nesting sites in the swamp land of the Rio Istian whose intricate water jungle extends behind the strip of dry forest, parallel to the beach. In dry season you can walk on a path a few hundred meters into the swamps to watch birds – around 40 different species have been counted on the isthmus of Ometepe.

Convento de San Francisco
The Museo del Convento de San Francisco, or San Francisco Convent, has a rich heritage and its existence is testimony to its importance to the people of Granada. The San Francisco Convent is attached to the church and both structures were first erected in 1525, along with the rest of the city of Granada. Unfortunately this city was plagued by pirates who plundered cities and burnt what they were not able to take with them. This led to the burning of Museo del Convento de San Francisco in 1665 and again in 1685. The people of Granada enjoyed a short-lived peace period in which they rebuilt their beloved city and tried to regain all they had lost. In 1856 William Walker and his group of mercenaries attacked Granada. Everything was lost yet again, including the church and the convent. The people of Granada had courage and, despite years of turbulent pirate raids and attacks on their city, they started to rebuild their city once again. The destruction to the convent was devastating and all that remains of the original structure is the outer walls, the vestibule, part of the tower and the launching slips.

White Towns
In the areas around Granada and Masaya there are the “Pueblos Blancos” or White Towns – Nindiri, San Juan de Oriente, San Marcos, Niquinohomo, Masatepe, Catarina, Diria and Diriomo – small pueblos known all over the country as representing all things Nicaraguan with strong pre-Columbian roots and traditions. They are so named due to the traditional whitewash used on the houses, carburo, which is made from water, lime and salt. Each town has its own fiestas and artisan traditions including hammocks, furniture, ceramic, stone carvings, leather work, ornamental plants and more. Some of these villages enjoy wonderful views over the blue waters of Lake Apoyo and others are famous for its delicious homemade “cajetas” or sweets. A visit to this region is definitely worth your while.

Catarina
Vistas and Flowers As you drive near Catarina you will see plants and flowers lining the roads like colored ribbons. Every time we visit, we see new plants or flowers that are unknown to us. Everything from small ornamental plants to large palm trees are sold at ridiculously cheap prices. There is such a large variety of plants offered that even people living outside the department of Masaya visit Catarina to buy their plants. It is difficult to tell where one vendor’s area ends and the next begins since they are almost continuous. It makes Catarina look like a gigantic flower garden.

Masatepe
The name of this former indigenous settlement comes from the Nahuatl language, standing for “Hill of Deer”. It has an attractive church dedicated to San Juan Bautista and a very peaceful central park where every afternoon locals gather. Masetepe is known for the production and sale of wooden furniture and for mondongo soup. This soup is a traditional Nicaraguan dish though it seems to taste better in this area. While Masatepe has the reputation, you can find many small furniture shops in the towns around Masatepe.

Rama People
When you travel a lot you will start to notice that even though the majority of a particular population may speak the same language, there are invariably at least one or two small groups of people who speak a different language or who even have a different culture. The Rama people are such a group who live in Nicaragua.

There are currently approximately 900 Rama people living in relatively close proximity to each other near the Rama Cay Island on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. This small group of indigenous people of Nicaragua live a somewhat rudimentary existence when compared to other people in Nicaragua. Most of them feed themselves by engaging in hunting, fishing and growing crops. However, their main crops are bananas and white cacao, so they may engage in trade where possible to have access to a greater variety of products.

Garifuna People
Oral traditions and rituals over the last centuries have allowed the Garifunas to keep their Carib identity. The British expelled them from their original home island, St. Vincent in the Caribbean Sea. Their expulsion and later diaspora gave them an enhanced sense of identity, kept through their traditions. Although the Garifuna culture might become extinct, their traditional way of life, idiosyncrasy, spirituality, and belief system are very interesting.

The Garifuna people are an ethnic group—descendants of Carib Indians, Arawak from South America, and black people from Africa. The Garifunas came to Central America late in the 18thcentury. Today, Garifuna means the Indians that came from St. Vincent, and the language they speak. After the British conquered the island, they sent more than 2,000 Garifunas to Roatan Island in Honduras. Later, these Garifunas—young ethnic group—could move to and settle along the Caribbean Coast of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Monimbó
Located next to Masaya, Monimbo is one of the few places in Nicaragua conserving deep rooted indigenous traditions. Their pre-Columbian/Hispanic culture is conveyed through different traditions expressions such as food, music, dances, and handmade crafts. Most of the handcrafts and souvenirs for sale at the local and souvenir markets thorough out Nicaragua, (and many places in Central America) are produced in Monimbo. Almost every family run workshop where they skillfully produce wood, bamboo, vines, royal palm, leather, and cane fiber arts and crafts, baskets, shoes and boots. These traditions of producing handcrafts are passed from generation to generation. Many of the hammocks sold to tourist transiting the Panama Canal are made in this little town, – complete with the word PANAMA embroider with large letters on the skirt of the hammock.