Nicaragua's civil war in the 1980s left a strange legacy behind. On the one hand, it changed international perception of this subtropical paradise for the worse. On the other, the changes in government that followed have made Nicaragua a great place to visit, especially for wealthy American investors.
As a recent New York Times magazine expose demonstrates, young developers are making major names for themselves by investing in high-class real estate geared towards tourism. Nicaragua's ministry of tourism is more than welcoming of these foreign incursions, hoping to realize major profits from non-destructive exploitation of their natural resources. From volcanic calderas to coconut tree groves to beaches, Nicaragua has a wide range of environments that are ripe for visitors.
Maderas, San Juan del Sur and other cities already play host to dedicated adventure travelers. These spring break partiers, surfers and backpack enthusiasts are more than willing to brave Nicaragua's jungly wilds, but modern investors are looking to change the profile of the country to be more amenable to higher-end tourists.
International developers and their local counterparts both recognize the need for more high-class resorts and facilities to attract urban business people from other countries. Even though adventure tourism will still have its place, Nicaragua must develop an appeal for those who have more money to spend.
Fortunately, the fact that Nicaragua is just now getting into tourism bodes well for future developments. Modern Nicaraguan resort developers are incorporating green technologies and architecture as well as donating supplies and assistance to local communities.