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Travel Guide to Nicaragua

Travel Nicaragua - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Map of the Area

Travel Nicaragua - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery
  • Managua
  • 130,375 km2 (50,338 sq mi)
  • 26.2 °C (79.16°F)
  • UTC (GMT) -6 hrs
  • The Nicaraguan Córdoba (NIO) C$30.2524 = $1 USD.
  • Spanish
  • 6,167,237 (2012)
  • 12°9′N 86°16′W

Welcome to Nicaragua

Just two hours from main hubs such as Dallas, Houston and Miami, Nicaragua is the largest country of Central America, and the least populated, considered the last true frontier of the Americas to be discovered. It is the perfect destination for all those who are looking for something truly different and natural. A Nicaragua vacation offers Caribbean and Pacific seas, 122 volcanoes, gigantic lakes, magical lagoons, hundreds of fabulous rivers, wildlife, rainforest, old colonial towns and culture, rich history, archaeological gems and countless natural wonders. Couple this with joyful music, amazing cultural events, lively evenings, great gastronomy and the warmth of its people, and you are destined to fall in love with Nicaragua.

Granada & Masaya Nicaragua - Main Attractions - Tropical Discovery

The best of Nicaragua

Rich history, folklore, Nature, Colonial architecture, Culture & Gastronomy and Volcanoes

We have chosen key regions of interest to show you the local richness of the area, each providing an amazingly unique experience and a taste of the staggering variety Nicaragua offers. In each region you will have the option to embark on cultural, nature and special interest Nicaragua tours, as well as partake in the myriad of adventure activities offered such as surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, water sports, horse back riding, deep sea fishing, and much more.


Travel Guides to each region of Nicaragua


Nicaragua is still a relatively unknown country and considered a very new destination for tourists. Having a troubled past, Nicaragua is now a democratic republic, with leadership promoting progress and advancement for all people. Today considered the safest country in Central America, it is ideally suited for tourist development and business investments. To learn more about this beautiful country, please read the information below.


Life in Nicaragua Before Colonization

A number of different peoples inhabited the territory that is now Nicaragua. In the Pacific region, for example, there were the Maribios, also know as the Subtiabas, the Mangues or the Chorotegas, the Nahuas or Nicaraguas, also called the Niquiranos. These peoples settled near the lakes and volcanoes and organized themselves into towns or agricultural villages led by councils of elders.

Their way of life was very similar to that of the cultures of Mexico, with a trading system based on bartering or exchanges with neighboring peoples. They worked the land and lived off agriculture based on the cultivation of corn. Before the arrival of the conquistadors or Spanish conquerors, the Chorotegas and Nicaraguaswere the main cultures in the Pacific Region. The Maribios mostly settled to the west of the chain of volcanoes that traverse the region, which is why it is now called the "Marrabios" Range; an adulteration of the indigenous name.

The peoples that inhabited the Caribbeanor Atlanticarea were more connected to South America; they appear to have migrated from the south of Venezuela. These are the Sumos or Sumus, the Miskitos and Ramas that settled on the CaribbeanCoast. The Sumus and the Miskitos are more connected as their languages are very similar. The Miskitos are currently the most numerous ethnic group, while there is a smaller number of indigenous of the Rama group. Their lifestyle included the absence of natural towns, a rudimentary political and social organization, a nomadic economy and the practice of shamanism.

The Time of the Conquest

In 1523, the Spanish captain Gil Gonzalez de Avila reached the Gulfof Nicoya, and traveled from there to the Chorotega town of Nicoya, accompanied by a troop of 100 Spaniards and 400 indigenous auxiliary troops. He later entered Nicaraguaitself at the Isthmus of Rivas, where the indigenous leader Nicarao, with 6,000 of his people, accepted baptism at the request of the Spanish. Before accepting baptism, the leader first conversed with Gil Gonzalez de Avila about his religious beliefs. Gil Gonzalez and his expedition advanced toward the lake and were received by the chief Diriangen, who gave them more gifts, but opposed their presence and, together with 4,000 men surrounded the expedition, captured one of them and wounded others. Later, there was a second attack by Chief Nicaragua and Gil Gonzalez was able to save himself and safely reach the Gulfof Nicoyaand the ships of Andres Niño.

At the end of 1524, Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba completed the conquest of the region, and founded the cities of Leonand Granada.

In 1542, laws were passed to centralize Spanish authority and to establish a judiciary system that would control the distribution of land and the amounts of taxes that would be demanded from the indigenous peoples in the future. The Church has played an important role In Nicaragua since Colonial times. To facilitate the evangelization of the indigenous peoples in order to integrate them into the new society - both spiritually and materially - many missionary orders came to Nicaragua, led by friars or priests.

Most of the indigenous people adored certain Catholic saints associated with ancient gods: to cure illnesses, to still volcanic eruptions or to pray for successful harvests. One example of this continued fervor is the festival in honor of St. Dominic of Guzman.

In 1610, an earthquake destroyed the city of Leon, which was located on the shores of LakeXolotlan, and the city was relocated to its current site. In some ways, this worked to the benefit of the city of Granadaas its trade routes were through LakeCocibolcaand the San Juan River, but that city did not escape surprise attacks by pirates who also gained access to the city through the river and lake.

Among these privateers was Henry Morgan. The pirates usually negotiated with the indigenous people that they encountered in the Caribbeanand with the English from Jamaica. Thus, they began visiting the CaribbeanCoastfor trading purposes, giving rise to the rivalry between Spainand the Protectorate of the Caribbean, England.

Nicaragua in the Independent and Modern Eras

In 1821, the Central American region declared its independence from Spain and divided into five states, which later became five sovereign republics. Slavery was abolished and Nicaragua entered an era of social and economic development. However, the rivalries and conflicts between the prominent elites of Leonand Granadawere devastating for the peace of the province. They all wanted power and control of the government and, after struggles between liberals and conservatives, the first of many civil wars erupted in 1824.

In the face of the inability of its rulers to reach an agreement, the country was subject to the interests of those who saw Nicaraguaas a possible inter-oceanic route, including not just the English, who claimed to have rights to it, but also other adventurers.

From 1854 to 1856 in Nicaragua, the National War was waged against William Walker, who had been contracted by the Leonliberals (democrats) to defeat the Conservatives from Granada(legitimists). This adventurer took control of the country. He was interested in establishing a state and controlling the transit route for the Californiagold rush. He was expelled from Nicaraguain 1856, after the signing of the Providential Pact on September 12 of that year by the two groups in contention (Granados Doña, 2002).

In 1893, the Liberal Party - led by General Jose Santos Zelaya - gained power and brought many changes to the country: the railroad, telegraph, ports, coffee farming and the incorporation of the Mosquitia region. There were even efforts made to build the inter-oceanic canal, but it was not possible: first because of its high cost, and secondly, on December 20, 1909, Zelaya was forced to resign because of the Knox Note. Following this, power passed to the coalition which included the liberal Juan Jose Estrada and, later, the conservatives Emiliano Chamorro, Luis Mena and Adolfo Diaz. On May 23, 1927, in Yali, Augusto C. Sandino - a laborer with the rank of General in the Constitutionalist War - rejected the U.S.pact with the Liberals, began his struggle, and marched into the Las Segovias region with his small army. On January 2, 1933, the occupation of Nicaraguacame to an end and, one month later, Sandino agreed to lay down his arms in exchange for a commitment from the Liberals and Conservatives to retain the political and economic sovereignty of Nicaraguaat all costs.

Before leaving the country, the U.S.marines transferred the command of 4,000 Nicaraguan soldiers to the National Guard, under the command of Anastasio Somoza Garcia. Anastasio and Luis Somoza Debayle - continued the dictatorship until July 19, 1979, when it was overthrown by the Sandinista. On November 4, 1984, the first elections were held and Commander Daniel Ortega Saavedra was elected president.

Violeta Barrios de Chamorro

New national elections were held on February 25, 1990and Violeta Barrios, widow of Pedro Joaquin Chamorro and the candidate of the alliance called the National Opposition Union (UNO), won the presidency. She is the only woman ever elected to this country's highest office.

Under Ms. Chamorro's administration the foreign debt was significantly reduced. Twenty-three parties and alliances participated in the 1996 presidential elections and Dr. Arnoldo Aleman, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party candidate, was elected to office. The FSLN came in second place in those elections.

Mr. Enrique Bolaños G.

The latest elections were held on November 4, 2001and Mr. Enrique Bolaños was elected president. Voter turnout was high, over 90%, an uncommonly high rate among democratic countries. The president-elect took power on January 10, 2002, initiating a new era for Nicaraguawith the "Fight Against Corruption."

* Source: Nicaragua Institute of Tourism -

Safety Tips

Here and throughout the world, enjoy a safe holiday by following these simple guidelines:

  • Decide your destination in advance and have a planned route of travel.
  • Always be alert and aware of what is going on around you.
  • If your vehicle is bumped from behind, do not stop on the roadway or side road. Drive to the nearest public area and call for police assistance.
  • If someone in suspicious attitude approaches your vehicle at a red light or stop sign, blare the horn.
  • Do not pull over for flashing headlights. An emergency or police vehicle is the only one authorized to turn on red or blue flashing lights.
  • If you become lost, try to find a public place, like a service station, to read your map or ask for directions. Do not show yourself nervous. If you are told that something is wrong with your vehicle, do not stop immediately. Drive to the nearest service station or to another well lighted public area.
  • Keep doors locked and windows shut up when driving, and mainly when the vehicle is parked.
  • Goods and valuables should be kept in the trunk, locked glove compartment, or out of sight whenever traveling or leaving the vehicle parked.
  • Always park in well lit areas.
  • Check the interior of your vehicle and surrounding areas before getting on your vehicle.
  • Do not pick up hitchhikers.
  • If using an automatic cashier, be sure the area is well lit. Count your money inside your vehicle with the windows shout up.
  • Do not leave the keys in your vehicle or the motor on when using the automatic cashier or in a public telephone.
  • If you suspect that you are being followed, go to the nearest well lit public area and call the police.
  • If you must carry a purse or back pack, hold it in front of you close to your body. Be sure it is securely closed.
  • Just in case, if you are threatened by a hostile individual, do not resist. Give the person what is asked for. Your belongings are not worth your life or serious injury. In case of emergency call the number 911 on any telephone.
  • Pay for the airport taxes only at authorized places.
Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island, Nicaragua - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

The best of Nicaragua

Rich history, folklore, Nature, Colonial architecture, Culture & Gastronomy and Volcanoes

Please, visit each region to find Day Tours offered by Tropical Discovery:


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Hotel Colonial

Hotel Colonial Masaya & Granada Nicaragua

Hotel Colonial is an old colonial house located in the heart of this magical city.

avg/night$75.00 SELECT
La Islita Boutique Hotel

La Islita Boutique Hotel Masaya & Granada Nicaragua

La Islita Boutique Hotel in Granada, Nicaragua is the one of the newest and most comfortable boutique hotels in the heart of the town’s colonial historic center.

avg/night$76.00 SELECT
Punta Teonoste

Punta Teonoste Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Punta Teonoste Nature Lodges & Beach Spa is an exclusive boutique property located on the southwestern coast of Nicaragua known as the Pacific Riviera, close to Rivas.

avg/night$89.00 SELECT
Hotel Los Robles

Hotel Los Robles Managua Nicaragua

Hotel Los Robles is a beautiful boutique hotel built inside a distinctive colonial Nicaraguan home. Furnished with antiquities from the colonial time, creates for a charming and relaxing environment.

avg/night$95.00 SELECT
Hotel El Convento

Hotel El Convento Masaya & Granada Nicaragua

This historical hotel in the heart of the magical city of Leon, is a true colonial jewel.

avg/night$95.00 SELECT
Totoco Eco-Lodge

Totoco Eco-Lodge Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Ometepe Island’s most unique and environmentally responsible hotel. With private and shared accommodation to choose from, Totoco Ecolodge caters for everyone.

avg/night$100.00 SELECT
Hotel Seminole Plaza

Hotel Seminole Plaza Managua Nicaragua

The Seminole Plaza Hotel is a charming hotel located in the heart of the new modern zone of Managua, close to restaurants, bars, banking offices, embassies and all other institutions.

avg/night$115.00 SELECT
Hotel La Gran Francia

Hotel La Gran Francia Masaya & Granada Nicaragua

La Gran Francia is a splendid ancestral building whose existence historians argue dates back to the years immediately following the founding of Granada, in 1524.

avg/night$123.00 SELECT
Hotel Plaza Colon

Hotel Plaza Colon Masaya & Granada Nicaragua

Hotel Plaza Colon is located right in front of Parque Colón, known as Parque Central in the historical city of Granada.

avg/night$134.00 SELECT
Pelican Eyes Resort

Pelican Eyes Resort Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Located in the charming village of San Juan del Sur on Nicaragua's stunning Pacific Coast, Pelican Eyes Hotel and Resort offers a distinctive blend of gracious hospitality, local charm, architectural flair, and community commitment.

avg/night$180.00 SELECT
Hotel Bahia Del Sol

Hotel Bahia Del Sol Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Hotel Bahia Del Sol Villas & Condominiums is located in the most exclusive neighborhood in town.

avg/night$220.00 SELECT
morgans rock hacienda

Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge Pacific Coast & Ometepe Island Nicaragua

Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge is more than just a hotel. It is a unique and natural haven for the true traveler who is looking for a touch of luxury while enjoying the adventure and excitement of an exotic and tropical destination.

avg/night$265.00 SELECT
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