NICARAGUA: “The Next Big Thing”
Offering authentic, yet to be discovered experiences.
In recent years, as social stability and economic growth have come to Central America, travelers with a taste for the cutting edge are discovering that Nicaragua is one of the undiscovered treasures of the Western Hemisphere.
Gaining a reputation as Central America’s most intriguing new travel destinations, Nicaragua is working hard to overcome misperceptions that it is unsafe or unwelcoming to tourists. Early adopters to this country will find that tours, accommodations, food, activities and transportation are affordably priced. And perhaps an even more important distinction - locals are truly authentic and welcoming. The interactive traveler who likes to be the first to discover a new destination, actively engage with the locals knowing that their visit to the country is giving back directly to the local community, and revels in experiences that are culturally rich because they are so authentic, will love Nicaragua. And word is getting out.
Tourism in Nicaragua has grown about 70% nationwide in the last ten years, with growth rates of about 7% annually. The increase in tourism has had a positive effect on the agricultural, commercial, and finance industries, as well as the construction industry and travelers can be assured that their dollars are not only helping average people but enhancing the country’s social network and culture.
In 2009, Travel + Leisure Magazine and Condé Nast Traveler, featured Nicaragua as “the next big thing.” New, eco-luxury resorts like Jicaro Island Ecolodge are hitting the 2010 “Hot Lists” (Condé Nast Traveler, March 2010) and as early as 2005 Frommers Guidebooks predicted Nicaragua would compete with Central America’s other hot spots, Costa Rica and Belize, with more affordable hotels, burgeoning eco-adventure, pristine rainforests and un-crowded coastlines.
Ask around and many people may be surprised to know that Nicaragua’s government has been stable and democratic for more than 30 years. Like many developing third world countries, tourists to Nicaragua need to do their homework, but the country has also been deemed one of the safest countries in Central America by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Nicaragua is also very accessible for a quick “bolt” out of town or a more immersive experience. It is only a two- to three-hour flight from Miami (American), Atlanta (Delta) and Houston (Continental) into the capital city of Managua, and no visas are required.And because tourism is being given the respect it deserves as an economic generator, Nicaragua offers a range of memorable experiences for lovers of nature, adventure, active sports, beaches, history and culture. With vast stretches of untouched rainforests and cloud forests preserved as national parks, more than 70 different eco-systems and comfortable eco-lodges throughout the country, Nicaragua is developing a thriving ecotourism industry. A top draw are the beaches and the Pacific Coast has miles of pristine white-sand beaches, many with perfect surf breaks. The Caribbean coast has clear, gentle water and the laid-back Corn Islands where visitors can dive for their dinner or enjoy fresh lobster at a beachside café for $5.