Nicaragua (or "Surrounded by Water" as the name is literally translated) is a democratic republic and the largest country in Central America. Nicaragua is bordered by Costa Rica to the South and Honduras to the North. Nicaragua’s proximity to Costa Rica has encouraged reciprocal tourism between the countries. On the western side of the country, Nicaragua’s coastline abuts the Pacific Ocean, while on the eastern coast the Caribbean Sea meets is shores. Nicaragua has three distinct regions: the Atlantic Lowlands, the North-Central Highlands and the Pacific Lowlands each possessing a unique climate and geography. The capital and largest city is Managua. The national currency is the Cordoba.
For U.S. citizens, a valid US Passport is required for entry into Nicaragua but a visa is not required. Most foreign travelers arrive at Managua International Airport, which is located approximately 8 miles from the center of Managua. The airport is a modern facility and has recently been renovated. Managua International also serves as a regional hub for the many national airlines in the Caribbean. For U.S. travelers there are regularly scheduled flights offered by a number of U.S. carriers including American Airlines, Continental, and Delta. For domestic and regional flights, travelers can choose between Copa Airlines, Aerocaribbean and Grupo Taca. Numerous cruise lines stop in Nicaragua at the Corinto Port.
Nicaragua is considered to have two main travel seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The most popular travel season is typically between January and April as the weather is driest. The wettest parts of the year occur between May and October. For sport fisherman, April to July is generally considered to be the best season.
Nicaragua has many fine hotels that offer a range of accommodations for every budget, from luxury resorts to bed and breakfasts. In Managua, the Intercontinental Hotel is considered amongst the city’s finest along with a number of similarly priced and equally comfortable hotels, such as the Best Western, Crowne Plaza and Hilton. In the city, country and along the coast there are numerous boutique and small hotels. These small hotels or Hoteles Pequenos are not to be confused with inexpensive as they offer some of the finest accommodations in the region. Budget travel is also popular in Nicaragua as some tourists prefer to enjoy the local scenery and outdoors while camping or staying at such eco-friendly hotels as the Los Cardones EcoLodge or the Bahia Majagual EcoLodge. In addition to accommodations for vacationers, Nicaragua has become one of the favorite Central America destinations for part time residents who have chosen to purchase property and second homes for investment or retirement purposes while enjoying the high standard of living afforded by differences in currency valuation.
Nicaragua offers a number of cultural activities, ranging from theatre to religious sites. In Managua, there are three popular theatres - the Rubén Darío National Theater, the Victor Romeo Theater, and the Justo Rufino Garay Theatre, each offering a unique ambiance and venue for special performances. There are many historical buildings and attractions to see such as the Cathedral of Leon, the Church of Jaleva and Parque Central in Granada, and the colorful markets of Masaya. For nature enthusiasts, Nicaragua has 78 national parks, including sanctuaries, refuges, and reserves, each teaming with unique wildlife and flora not seen outside of Central America. Some of the more popular National Parks include the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge, Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve, and Indio-Maìz Biological Reserve.
For outdoor enthusiasts, sport fishing, golf, canopy tours, scuba diving, and boating offer exciting activities and memorable experiences. Deep sea fishing in Nicaragua is considered to be the best in Central America where the sparkling Pacific Ocean offers exceptional opportunities to catch Marlin. Fishermen can fly fish in places like Lake Nicaragua and or hire a boat at Bluefields and try their hand at catching Bonito and Sierra Mackerel. Golfers can enjoy their favorite pastime at Nicaragua’s famous Nejapa Golf and Country Club or the Iguana Golf and Beach Club. A number of establishments, such as the Selva Negra Resort, offer horses for rent, while equestrian centers in Rancho Santa and Montecristo offer guided horseback tours through spectacular countryside and rain forests.
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