NICARAGUA TRAVEL GUIDE
Nicaragua, set between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is a Central American nation known for its dramatic terrain of lakes, volcanoes and beaches. Vast Lake Managua and the iconic strato-volcano Momotombo sit north of the capital Managua. To its south is Granada, noted for its Spanish colonial architecture and an archipelago of navigable islets rich in tropical bird life.
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NICARAGUA QUICK FACTS
- Capital: Managua
- Currency: Gold cordoba (NIO)
- Area: 130,373 km²
- Population: 6,466 million (2018)
- Language: Spanish, English
- Religion: Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant
- Electricity: 120V/60Hz (US plug)
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NICARAGUA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 May, Labour Day
- 30 May, Mother’s Day
- 19 July, National Liberation Day
- 1 August, Fiesta Day (Santo Domingo Day)
- 14 September, San Jacinto Fight Day
- 15 September, Independence Day
- 2 November, All Souls Day
- 8 December, Immaculate Conception
Also, Semana Santa (Holy Week) from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.
FESTIVALS IN NICARAGUA
Palo de Mayo - (late May) Bluefields celebrates fertility with a series of neighborhood block parties leading to the bright and boisterous carnival on the last Saturday of the month. The closing Tulululu features a midnight romp through the streets, complete with brass band.
Noche de Agüizotes - This spooky festival, held on the last Friday in October in Masaya, brings to life characters from horror stories of the colonial period with elaborate costumes. Keep an eye out for the headless priest.
NICARAGUA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Nicaragua has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation in temperature, which ranges between 21-27˚C, and two distinct rainfall seasons: a ‘wet’ season’ (May-October) and a ‘dry’ season (November-April). A dry period called the ‘Canícula’ regularly interrupts the wet season during late July and early August. From July to October the country is subject to increased rainfall intensity and strong winds resulting from its geographic location in the path of Pacific cyclones and Atlantic hurricanes. El Niño Southern Oscillation fluctuations during June and August bring relatively warmer and drier or colder and wetter conditions, respectively.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN NICARAGUA
The best time for outdoor activities in Nicaragua is during the dry season, from November to April, although November can still see a fair amount of rain. Hike to prehistoric petroglyphs on Nicaragua’s Isla de Ometepe, or climb a volcano, such as Volcán Mombacho or the volcanoes near León.
BEACH OPTIONS IN NICARAGUA
The beaches in Nicaragua are best enjoyed during the dry season from December to April. During this time, the beaches are more accessible and the sea is not too choppy.
SURFING IN NICARAGUA
The Pacific coast here sees the biggest waves from April to June, thanks to southern swells and offshore winds. The surf is dependable anytime between March and November, though. Again, the rain starts in May, so be prepared.
KITESURF IN NICARAGUA
The windy kitesurfing season in Nicaragua starts in November and sometimes lasts until July, although there is usually less wind from April to June. The best months are from the middle of December until the end of March.
For more details on kite surfing in Nicaragua expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN NICARAGUA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
NICARAGUA TRAVEL TIPS
San Juan del Sur and the nearby beach towns are prime budget destinations. The outdoor attractions are free, or course, and there are plenty of hostels, cheap places to eat, and services that cater to budget travelers. If you need a guide, those are inexpensive, too (just be sure to tip).