One of the most colorful personalities of Nicaraguan history is William Walker. Walker, a US southerner, came to Nicaragua as an opportunist. Nicaragua was on the verge of a civil war; Walker sided with one of the factions and was able to gain control of the country, hoping that the US would annex Nicaragua as a southern slave state. With designs on conquering the rest of Central America, Walker and his filibustero army marched on Costa Rica before he was turned back at the battle of Santa Rosa. Eventually Walker left Nicaragua; he was executed after arriving in Honduras at a later date.The U.S. Marines invaded Nicaragua several times. One of the cities that witnessed an invasion was San Juan Del Sur. General Sandino, seeing the US as invaders, took the war to them. It lasted more than 5 years, until the Marines withdrew from the country.
The twentieth century was characterized by the rise and fall of the Somoza dynasty. Anastasio Somoza Garcia came to power as the head of the National Guard. Educated in the US and trained by the US Army, he was adept managing his relations with the United States. After being assassinated, he was succeeded by his sons, Luis and Anastasio Jr (“Tachito”). By 1978, opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes and resulted in a short-lived civil war that led to the fall of Somoza in July, 1979. The armed part of the insurgence was named the Sandinistas, after the liberator of Nicaragua, Augusto César Sandino. Due to the nature of the Sandinista government, with their social programs designed to benefit the majority, their support for rebels fighting against the military government in El Salvador, and their close alliance with Cuba, the right-wing US President Ronald Reagan considered them a threat, and at his administration”s insistence, guerrilla forces (Contras) were organized, trained, and armed throughout most of the 1980s. Peace was brokered in 1987 by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, and led to new elections in 1990. In a stunning development, Violeta Chamorro of the UNO coalition surprisingly beat out the incumbent leader Daniel Ortega.
Elections in 1996, and again in 2001 saw the Sandinistas defeated by the Liberal party. During the 1990s the country”s economic policies saw a shift in direction aiming to transform Nicaragua to a market economy. However, the Sandinistas, led as in the 1980s and 90s by Daniel Ortega were returned to power in elections in 2006 and won again in 2011.
Nicaragua has suffered from natural disasters in recent decades. Managua”s downtown area was vastly damaged by an earthquake in 1972, which killed more than 10,000 people, and in 1998, Nicaragua was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch. Nicaragua remains the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti.
There are about 5.6 million Nicaragüenses in Nicaragua. The majority of the population is mestizo and white. Nicaraguan culture has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavors. The main language is Spanish, which is spoken by about 90% of the population.
Tourism in Nicaragua is growing at 15% to 20% annually. Tourists are coming for the beauty and richness this country has to offer. From eco-tourism, adventure, beach, colonial cities, nightlife, and a low cost of living, Nicaragua has experienced a booming number of tourists from around the world. The places where tourists are hanging out and having a good time are in the colonial cities of Granada and Leon, in the mountainous region of Matagalpa, the Pacific Coast, hiking on the volcanoes, and in the Caribbean coast in the Corn Islands (Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island).
There is much to see and do in Nicaragua, and it is a budget paradise due to the fact that everything in Nicaragua is cheap. Tourism has grown over 300% in seven years, with tourists arriving from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Bars, discotheques, restaurants, and hotels are opening at a rapid rate in the cities of Granada, and Leon. San Juan Del Sur is experiencing a rise in surfing tourism with surfers from around the world coming to catch some of the greatest waves ranked as one of the 5 best in the world. San Juan del Sur has also experienced a huge increase in service tourism. With a land filled with festivals, poets, singers, and beauty, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should not dream of visiting this beautiful country.
Nicaragua is most populous region, centered on the capital, Managua
Here travel is mostly done by boat and the rich mixture of Nicaraguan, Caribbean, Miskito Indian and Garifuna cultures makes this region seem like another country.
Visit cigar factories and see how coffee is grown in a region filled with remnants of the revolution.
Northern Pacific Coast
At the collision point between two tectonic plates, this region has some of the highest volcanic activity on Earth and is also home to two national icons : Flor de Caña rum and poet Rubén Darío.
Southern Pacific Coast
A narrow stretch of land bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Lago Nicaragua. Surf remote spots along the coast, party in San Juan del Sur or ride a motorbike around iconic Isla de Ometepe.
Rio San Juan Region
Almost forgotten part of the country with its hidden treasures like the car free Solentiname Islands or El Castillo.
- Managua – Capital
Ports and harbors
- El Bluff
- Puerto Cabezas
- Puerto Sandino
- San Juan del Sur
- San Juan Del Norte