The beautiful country of Nicaragua is located in Central America and is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It’s known for its breathtaking landscapes of lakes, volcanoes and primitive beaches.
Map of Nicaragua Showing Volcanoes and Lakes - Courtesy of alecamikia.blogspot.com
Nicaragua in the middle of the Americas
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America and is about the same size as the state of New York. It borders Costa Rica to the South and Honduras to the North, with the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the Caribbean Sea to the East. The population is over 6 million.
Lake Managua and the Momotombo Volcano are located north of the Capital City of Managua. The city of Granada lies south, on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, and is known for its fantastic Spanish colonial landmarks that have survived repeated pirate invasions.
The colonial heritage and a history of resilience
The first Spanish permanent settlements were founded in 1524. That year, the conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba founded two of Nicaragua’s principal cities: Granada, with the conservative faction, and León, with the liberals. Historically, both cities of Granada and León have been rivals, shaped by different values and political views.
The Historical Center of Granada, with Lake Nicaragua in the Background - Photo from iStock
In fact, the opposition between the two cities even led to a bloody civil war in 1854, which was worsened by the arrival of American filibuster William Walker and his army, who came to Nicaragua hired by Leon’s liberal faction. Walker eventually betrayed Leon and seized control of the country. The civil war then became the National War, which came to an end with the peace treaty between the two factions of the civil war and the aid from the armies of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.
In order to maintain peace, it was agreed that city of Managua would take over as Nicaragua’s capital in 1852, from León. The cities of Granada and León are similar in that they both have centuries old history and architecture and beautiful sun-baked buildings, but are very different otherwise. If you visit one, you must visit the other, which is easy enough to do since they are about 2.5 hours away from each other via private taxi.
The country of lakes and volcanoes
Nicaraguan Beaches - Photo Courtesy of Nicaragua Travel Guide
The country of Nicaragua has approximately 500 miles of coastline, along which are five of the best surf spots in the world! Read more about 5 Amazing Surfing Beaches in Nicaragua here.
Located in the vast Lake Nicaragua, is a little island called “Ometepe”. Its name is derived from the Nahuatl words “ome” (two) and “tepetl” (mountain), meaning “two mountains”. These two volcanoes - Concepcion and Maderas - are joined by a low isthmus, which form it into an hourglass or dumb-bell shape. It’s the third largest island in the world to be located in a freshwater lake. The rich soils on Isla de Ometepe produce delicious and flavorful coffee.
Ometepe Island in the Middle of Lake Nicaragua - Photo from Mike Polischuk
Nicaragua, also known as the “Country of Lakes and Volcanoes” has 21 volcanoes, and two of the largest freshwater lakes in Central America - Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua. Lake Nicaragua is one of the very few lakes in the world to contain fresh-water sharks.
Freshwater Sharks - Photo Courtesy of animals.mom.me
The average temperatures in Nicaragua year-round range from low to mid 80s F. Nicaragua has two seasons: Wet Season and Dry Season. The locals call these “Invierno” or Winter, and “Verano” or Summer. The rainy season lasts from May to October, but Nicaragua’s wettest months are September and October.
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