Geographically the largest country in Central America (excluding Mexico), Nicaragua has featured far more in the foreign psyche as a bloody war zone than as a potential holiday hot spot. Although both the human and physical damage from its notorious ‘civil’ conflict during the 1970s and 1980s is still evident today, to think of the country only in this regard is a great injustice. It is a less well-known tourist destination not because it has little to offer, but because its cultural and natural wealth has been largely ignored. Take another look, and you will be well rewarded.

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This Central American Nation has a landmass of 120,000 square kilometres, similar in size to Greece. It is blessed with coastlines on both and Pacific ocean and Caribbean, and shares boarders with Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. As of 2015, Nicaragua had a population of 6.3 million people – the capital Managua has a population of 2.5 million inhabitants.

In 2013, 1.2 million International tourists visited Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s tourism infrastructure is far less developed than that of neighbouring Costa Rica, but this heightens the sense of adventure. A word of warning, though: road safety conditions are poor, so keep this in mind when planning each journey.

And there are several trips worth making – across beautiful volcanic landscapes, to colonial cities steeped in history, to sandy beaches with stunning backdrops at sunset, and to the country’s jewel, Lake Nicaragua. Amongst the world’s largest freshwater lakes, its captivating islets and archipelagos, teeming with wildlife, are just waiting to be explored.

This is an excellent country for walking, particularly around volcanoes; but it is always best to go with a guide – mainly for reasons of safety, but also purely for the chat. Nicaraguans are great conversationalists, guaranteed to bring the country even more to life.

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