Nicaragua is a nation of immense natural splendor, enchanting colonial towns, breathtaking forests and glorious beaches. But there's more to do in the country than golf, surf and lay on the beach. If you look below the surface, you'll discover that Nicaragua has plenty to offer when it comes to cultural experiences. The truth is that Nicaragua has a vibrant civil society and a rich culture.
Culture in Nicaragua at a Glance
With a population of nearly 6 million, Nicaragua is the biggest country in Central America. The working-class people of Nicaragua are a multi-lingual, multi-cultural people with a distinctive political and cultural background that sets them apart.
The national religion is Christianity, and the mixture of Catholicism and native customs have produced a culture of fiestas designed to honor various saints; every city in Nicaragua has its own patron saint. The national pastime is baseball, and the major languages spoken include Spanish, English and several indigenous languages.
If you want to get a taste of all of the cultural attractions Nicaragua has to offer, the best thing to do is sample a bit of everything. Here are a few exciting things to do when vacationing or visiting "the land of lakes and volcanoes."
Visit the exciting locales such as the historical cities of Leon and Granada. Both were founded in 1524, and they are considered two of the oldest colonial cities in mainland America. Many visitors fall in love with Grenada at first sight because of its great restaurants, active night life, charming cafes and all of the things to see and do. A great place to start is Casa de Leones, the epicenter of Grenada's cultural scene.
If you're lucky, you may catch a performance by the father of Nicaraguan folk music, Carlos Mejia Godoy, who still plays in clubs and coffee houses in Managua.
Other cultural attractions include:
- Ortiz Gurdian Foundation's Deshon House: Built in a house of Leonese architecture dating back to the 19th century, this museum located in Leon is home to an impressive collection of contemporary art.
- The International Guitar Festival: Managua, Leon and Juigalpa co-host activities with 30 international guitarists from Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain and Nicaragua including concerts and free workshops.
- The International Tourism Fair: The National Chamber of Tourism, the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute and the company AC Events host this annual event which boasts 150 local companies and 50 foreign wholesalers from North America, Europe, South America and other parts of the world.
- The Central American Theater Festival: Spanning 11 days, this event features performances by artists from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Many of the events are held in Managua.