Nicaragua is very inviting to travel and to live due to the charm of its people and the tropical ambience. Dealing with the neighbors is loving and peaceful, the crime rate is low. However, good organization is not one of the country’s strengths. If you want to travel, for example, new doubts can constantly arise as to whether, when and where the bus really leaves.
As one of countries in Central America according to mathgeneral, Nicaragua is geographically divided into three regions, which run roughly in a north-south direction: the Pacific region, the central mountainous region and the Atlantic region. Detailed information on the territory and the relief structure can be found in the 2015 Statistical Yearbook.
The center of the country with its fertile soils and the greatest population density is on the Pacific side. This is where the main traffic flows and the capital Managua, the traditionally important cities of León, Masaya, Granada and Rivas and the port of Corinto are also located. The region is dominated by a chain of impressive volcanic cones with a total of 25 craters, some of which are still threateningly active today.
To the east joins the central mountainous country, the peaks of which rise to a height of 2,107 m (Mogotón) on the border with Honduras and gradually flatten out towards the south. The cities of Matagalpa, Jinotega and Estelí are important agricultural centers for coffee and food production.
Beyond the watershed, the Atlantic region begins, through which all of the country’s major rivers flow before they flow into the Caribbean Sea. This large part of the country, which is covered by forests, savannas and swamps, is sparsely populated and poorly developed. Important settlements here are the mining center around Bonanza and the port towns of Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas (Bilwi).
According to neovideogames, Tourism in Central America has grown annually by around 5% since 2005 and has developed into an economic factor of great importance. Compared to the large flows of travelers to Costa Rica and Guatemala, the tourism industry in Nicaragua still has some catching up to do. However, it has made significant progress and the previously very modest infrastructure has improved. The cities of Granada, Masaya and León, the port city of San Juan del Sur and the island of Ometepe in the Great Lake Nicaragua are popular travel destinations today. In terms of safety and quality of life, Nicaragua regularly receives top marks in international surveys and media.
In 2019, 1.45 million foreign visitors were registered in Nicaragua. In 2017, 1.96 million guests were counted, in 2018 it was 1.41 million. The sharp decline in the numbers reflects the slump in tourism as a result of the protest movement in 2018, which continued to have a severe impact in 2019. The negative development can be seen even more clearly in the annual foreign exchange income from tourism. They fell from US $ 840.5 million (2017) to 544.4 million (2018, -35%) and 515.3 million (2019, again -6.3%). Most long-distance tourists came from North America in 2018 (21.2%). 5.4% of all visitors came from Europe, with the countries of origin Germany (11,000), France (9,000), Great Britain and Spain (8,000 each) deserving special mention.
Since the slight slump in 2010, tourism had developed very dynamically until 2017. However, this development suffered in 2018 due to the crisis of the protest year a serious setback. Because of the unrest and the uncertainty in the country, the guests stayed away. This development continued in 2019. A revival was expected in 2020, but the Corona crisis made things worse and the return to normal is still not in sight. In March 2020, even Managua Airport had to be completely closed to passengers. It is now open again, but the major airlines have repeatedly postponed the resumption of regular services. This can be expected in January 2021 at the earliest, so that the main Christmas season is also lost for long-distance tourism. There are dramatic proportions behind these sober figures. Restaurants, hotels and tour operators everywhere had to close their doors. Even the new luxury resort “Mukul” of the major entrepreneur Carlos Pellas, located on the so-called “Emerald Coast” near Rivas, had to close for an indefinite period on June 25, 2018. Lucy Valenti, President of the National Chamber of Tourism CANATUR,estimated that of the 120,000 employees by September 2018, over 60,000 had already been laid off.
In its new publications, the UN World Tourism Organization underlines the great development potential of tourism with impressive figures. At the same time, however, she emphasizes that only sustainable and environmentally friendly travel arrangements can have lasting consequences for social and economic development. One can only hope that projects of gentle tourism will also be developed in Nicaragua in coordination with nature conservation. The destruction of the beaches and landscapes by major projects is in full swing. Fortunately, the future plans that were developed with the canal project have been put on hold for the time being. On the other hand, various initiatives in the NGO sector try to promote the development of sustainable and communitarian tourism projects, e.g.Venive (Spain). One can also mention the Esperanza Verde project in the coffee mountains of San Ramón, which won the 2004 TO DO! Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism.
The usual information is available on the INTUR website. With the song “Nicaragua Mía” the country presents itself from its chocolate side. Official tourism advertising can be found on the visitor page “Visita Nicaragua” and a gallery of beautiful photos in the Nicaragua portal.