"B r i g h t g r e e n h i l l s n e v e r l o o k e d s o w e l c o m e , s o e n c h a n t i n g , s o a l t o g e t h e r l o v e l y . ”
- M a r k T w a i n D i s c o v e r i n g N i c a r a g u a
Follow in the footsteps of Mark Twain and explore the surroundings of San Juan del Sur, a quintessential Nicaraguan sea-side town that overlooks a half moon bay, providing the perfect scene for watching the sun set over the Pacific. Experience the vibrant colors around town, the Victorian style houses, and the many local culinary delights dotting the streets.
A little bustling hub, its streets lined with fruit markets, surf shops, busy bars, and juice vendors, the town of San Juan del Sur offers visitors a satisfying mix of authenticity and touristic amenities. Wander around these streets for a couple of days, and soon you will start to recognize the friendly faces that make this town unique.
Surrounded by jungle and sea, with dozens of world class breaks just north and south, San Juan del Sur really is a hidden gem worth a visit.
If you feel like you want to take a day out of the surf, the options available around San Juan del Sur are endless. Situated a mere 25 minutes away is Lake Nicaragua, one of the top ten largest fresh water lakes in the Americas and home to Ometepe Island and Concepcion Volcano.
An hour away is the colonial town of Granada. Take a day to explore this architectural delight and enjoy one of its many superb restaurants. Why not check out the Mombacho cigar factory? See these world-famous cigars being rolled in front of your eyes before indulging in one of your guilty pleasures.
Nicaragua caters to all tastes, so let your sense of adventure take over and discover what inspired world-renowned poets and writers such as Ruben Dario, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, and Ernesto Cardenal.
H i s t o r y o f N i c a r a g u a
Nicaragua has enjoyed a long-awaited political stability as of late. Daniel Ortega is in charge of the nation for the third time in its history. The majority of the 6 million strong population voted this year for the Representative Democratic Republic Party. IN addition to its flourishing gold, tobacco and cattle-exporting trades, the country recently has developed a vibrant tourism industry as well, with nearly 1 million visitors in 2015. Nicaragua also has placed new focus on providing its own renewable energy, primarily wind. Add to this booming economy the prospect of hosting the new trans-Central American Canal to accommodate modern cargo ships that are outgrowing the aging Panama Canal, and Nicaragua is definitely putting itself on the map.
However, it has not been all smooth sailing for this great Central American nation. The name 'Nicaragua' derives from 'Nicarao', chief of the largest of the indigenous tribes that were inhabiting the island in 1502 when it was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who stumbled on the coast during an expedition to Honduras.
Spanish colonial rule soon followed for the indigenous Aztec and Mayan tribes.
Centuries of hardship and brutalities followed under colonial rule until the resilient Nicaraguan people came together and overthrew the Spanish in 1821. Unfortunately, however, following independence the country endured years of political unrest, dictatorships, and fiscal crisis. A US-backed conservative regime took hold of the country from 1909 until 1930, when the famous left-wing guerrilla and now national icon, Augusto Cesar Sandino, inspired a political and cultural revolution, which pavied the way for a new government. After the Americans were driven out, power was assumed by the Somoza family, who did not see eye-to-eye with Sandino and eventually ordered his assassination. The Somoza family went on to run the longest-running military dictatorship in Nicaraguan History.
More political turmoil followed, power passing from one corrupt government to the next. The Sandinista Liberal Front, inspired by the late Sandino, led yet another revolution against the government in the 1970s, pushing for a political and cultural shift. Emphasis was placed on spreading the wealth from the capital, Managua, where Somoza focused his attention, to the more rural areas of the country. Education, and particularly, literacy also became a top priority for the government, and the national literacy rate quickly rose from 12% to over 50%.
The parties in charge of the country changed hands, with varying degrees of success, until the 2007 elections, when Daniel Ortega began his second stint as President. Ortega has since won two elections. The most recent coming in 2016 when he managed to get the National Assembly to change its laws to allow him to run for a third term. Nicaragua now offers widely available healthcare options, benefits from a free education system (with adult literacy eclipsing 80%), and boasts a respectable 48 universities. With income from tourism growing by 300% in the last 10 years, the country's future is looking bright.