Nicaragua is a land born out of poetry, fire and brazen revolutionary spirit; few countries can boast such an authentic character. The 1979 Sandinista Revolution, more than other historical episode, is indelibly etched on the Nicaraguan psyche. As a moment of self-realisation, it continues to inspire
great national pride and endless passionate discourse.
Sadly, over a decade of civil war left its mark too, with broken infrastructure, poverty, unemployment and a lingering negative image. Fortunately, those dark days are gone, and Nicaragua is at lasting peace and very much on its way up. Burgeoning foreign investment, including a bold new transoceanic canal project, signal dramatic transformations for this long overlooked Central American nation, but head off the beaten track and development is patchy: power cuts are common, many towns lack paved roads, horses and carts are still widely used and wood remains the principal source of fuel.
Despite Nicaragua’s hardships, the nation’s cultural life is among the most sophisticated in Central America. The country revels in unique forms of dance, music and festivals, many of them with pre-Hispanic roots. But most of all Nicaragua breathes poetry, the unrivalled national passion. It has produced some of the most important poets in the history of the Spanish language.
Nicaragua’s expressive and tempestuous national temperament runs in striking parallel to its volatile geological scenery. A rugged spine of more than 50 volcanoes runs from the northwest Pacific to the watery expanse of Lake Nicaragua. Elsewhere, nearly 20% of the country’s land mass is an officially protected area. These diverse ecosystems include rainforests, cloudforests, and wetlands, which guard 10% of the earth’s biodiversity.
For those willing to take the plunge, Nicaragua’s ethereal natural beauty and anarchic charms tend to leave lasting impressions. Through it all, the people, eternally warm and good humoured, are the country’s finest asset.