Nicaragua may be the largest Central American country but it is also one of the least visited, although there are growing signs that this is about to change. It’s a land where the violent geological and climatological history is matched by a human story of political upheavals, but now it is quiet, slowly developing its infrastructure, and eager to welcome visitors.
There are fuming volcanoes, with fertile shores lapped by the waters of glassy lakes, purple ranges of unexplored mountains and vast swathes of rainforest overwhelmed with wildlife. The highlands of Masaya National Park are cut through with trails and the banks of Rio San Juan festooned with tropical vegetation. Utterly peaceful Ometepe Island, with its twin volcanic peaks, rises from the vast sheet of water which comprises the metallic-blue Lake Nicaragua, the largest body of water in Central America.
The highland cities of Granada and León are steeped in history, art and culture. Beautiful colonial buildings and churches contrast vividly with political murals depicting the Nicaragua’s revolutionary past. There are near empty palm-fringed beaches on the Caribbean, especially on the simple Corn Islands. The Pacific coastline is equally unspoilt and a haven for surfers.