Hot in the lowlands, cooler in highlands. The weather during the dry months November-April can be very hot in the Pacific lowlands. Torrential downpours in the rainy season May-October can leave you soaked and chilly, even in the Pacific lowlands when it's cloudy, so be prepared if you're traveling during those months. Also be prepared for cooler, cloudier weather in mountainous regions. The Atlantic coast sees an occasional hurricane each season. In the past, these hurricanes have inflicted a lot of damage.
Nicaragua was entered by Spanish conquistadors in the early 16th century. The pre-Colombian Indian civilization was almost completely destroyed by population losses due to infectious diseases, enslavement and deportation. Spain made Nicaragua a colony; Granada was founded as one of the oldest colonial cities in the American continent. During the colonial period, Nicaragua was part of the Capitania General based in Guatemala.
Nicaragua declared independence from Spain in 1821; by 1838, the country became an independent republic. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades.
One of the most colorful personalities of Nicaraguan history is William Walker. Walker, a US southerner, came to Nicaragua as an opportunist. Nicaragua was on the verge of a civil war; Walker sided with one of the factions and was able to gain control of the country, hoping that the US would annex Nicaragua as a southern slave state. With designs on conquering the rest of Central America, Walker and his filibustero army marched on Costa Rica before he was turned back at the battle of Santa Rosa. Eventually Walker left Nicaragua; he was executed after arriving in Honduras at a later date.
The U.S. Marines invaded Nicaragua several times. One of the cities that witnessed an invasion was San Juan Del Sur. General Sandino, seeing the US as invaders, took the war to them. It lasted more than 5 years, until the Marines withdrew from the country.
The twentieth century was characterized by the rise and fall of the Somoza dynasty. Anastasio Somoza Garcia came to power as the head of the National Guard. Educated in the US and trained by the US Army, he was adept managing his relations with the United States. After being assassinated, he was succeeded by his sons, Luis and Anastasio Jr "Tachito". By 1978, opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes and resulted in a short-lived civil war that led to the fall of Somoza in July, 1979. The armed part of the insurgence was named the Sandinistas, after the liberator of Nicaragua, Augusto CÃ©sar Sandino. Due to the nature of the Sandinista government, with their social programs designed to benefit the majority, their support for rebels fighting against the military government in El Salvador, and their close alliance with Cuba, the right-wing US President Ronald Reagan considered them a threat, and at his administration's insistence, guerrilla forces Contras were organized, trained, and armed throughout most of the 1980s. Peace was brokered in 1987 by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, and led to new elections in 1990. In a stunning development, Violeta Chamorro of the UNO coalition surprisingly beat out the incumbent leader Daniel Ortega.
Elections in 1996, and again in 2001 saw the Sandinistas defeated by the Liberal party. During the 1990s the country's economic policies saw a shift in direction aiming to transform Nicaragua to a market economy. However, the Sandinistas, led as in the 1980s and 90s by Daniel Ortega, were returned to power in elections in 2006 and won again in 2011.
Nicaragua has suffered from natural disasters in recent decades. Managua's downtown area was vastly damaged by an earthquake in 1972, which killed more than 10,000 people, and in 1998, Nicaragua was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch. Nicaragua remains the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti.
There are about 5.6 million NicaragÃ¼enses in Nicaragua. The majority of the population is mestizo and white. Nicaraguan culture has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavors. The main language is Spanish, which is spoken by about 90% of the population.
Tourism in Nicaragua is growing at 15% to 20% annually. Tourists are coming for the beauty and richness this country has to offer. From eco-tourism, adventure, beach, colonial cities, nightlife, and a low cost of living, Nicaragua has experienced a booming number of tourists from around the world. The places where tourists are hanging out and having a good time are in the colonial cities of Granada and Leon, in the mountainous region of Matagalpa, the Pacific Coast, hiking on the volcanoes, and in the Caribbean coast in the Corn Islands.
There is much to see and do in Nicaragua, and it is a budget paradise due to the fact that everything in Nicaragua is cheap. Tourism has grown over 300% in seven years, with tourists arriving from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Bars, discotheques, restaurants, and hotels are opening at a rapid rate in the cities of Granada, and Leon. San Juan Del Sur is experiencing a rise in surfing tourism with surfers from around the world coming to catch some of the greatest waves ranked as one of the 5 best in the world. San Juan del Sur has also experienced a huge increase in service tourism. Tourist can visit the local lending library,managed by Jane Mirandette,and sign up to help in a variety of ways including working in the library, teaching at rural schools and donating needed items.This non-profit library is a good connection hub for tourists. The library's website is www.sjdsbiblioteca.org. With a land filled with festivals, poets, singers, and beauty, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should not dream of visiting this beautiful country.
Extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes making for some majestic landscapes. Nicaragua is dotted by several lakes of volcanic origin, the largest being Lago de Nicaragua. Managua, the capital, sits on the shores of the polluted Lago de Managua.
Natural hazards destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides.
Highest point Mogoton 2,107 m