Nicaragua hasn't exactly been known as a Central American tourism hot spot over the years. Political instability and lack of infrastructure may have been factors, but recent trends suggest that Nicaragua is fast become a major tourist destination. The reason is the many extraordinary beaches in Nicaragua that offer the perfect place to get away and enjoy the sun, the sand and the sea.
The Pacific Coast Beaches
San Juan del Sur is by far the most popular and visited beach on the Pacific coast for both Nicaraguans and foreign tourists. This fantastic beach lies about 2 hours south of the capital of Managua and lines the shore of an almost perfectly U-shaped bay. San Juan's waters are famous for fishing, surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling
Other beach attractions of note along Nicaragua's Pacific coast include:
Â La Flor Nature Reserve - A famous eco-tourism destination, La Flor is a nesting ground for the endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtle.
Â Playa Maderas and Marsella - These two beaches just up the coast from San Juan del Sur are Nicaragua's premier surfing destinations, known for great swells and point breaks.
In addition to these highlights, virtually every town and village along the more than 180 miles of coast features its own little beach, many of them yet to be discovered by tourists.
The Caribbean Coast
In contrast to the Pacific coast, the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is sparsely populated and remains largely undeveloped. For travelers looking for the pristine and unspoiled, Nicaragua's Caribbean side remains the best-kept travel secret in all of Central America.
The area is just beginning to boom, with many American ex-patriots buying real estate and setting up shop as adventure travel and eco-tourism promoters. Tour operations and facilities are springing up offering a range of adventure opportunities from white water rafting to rain forest canopy tours to scuba diving and deep sea fishing
Nicaragua just may be the ultimate beach destination, offering just about any beach experience imaginable, from sunbather-packed tourist beaches to wave-washed surfer scenes to lonely and undiscovered stretches of beach wilderness.