Nicaragua eNewsletter February 2012

Following 2011's strong increase in tourism, Nicaragua is attracting more visitors than ever in 2012.

Green Season

In January 2012 alone, Nicaragua welcomed 12.4% more tourists than in January 2011. Travelers are enticed by Nicaragua’s natural beauty, culture and plethora of outdoor adventures. We call it the destination for a fabulous vacation in 2012!


Nicaragua's Rich Culture and Nature

Green Season

As Central America’s largest and safest country, Nicaragua offers tourists an unparalleled abundance of cultural and natural richness:

  • 3 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, including the Bosawas Reserve, the largest rain forest north of the Amazon
  • 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • 7 indigenous cultures
  • 7 types of forest
  • 7% of the world’s biodiversity
  • 25 volcanoes
  • 70 cultural festivals a year
  • 72 protected areas
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Surfing Expo spacer The beach town of San Juan del Sur is the most popular tourist destination on Nicaragua's Pacific coast. On any given morning you can see vans and jeeps loaded with surfboards as surfers head out to catch the perfect wave at the spectacular beaches just north and south of town. Once the sun starts dropping into the sea, the surfers – and tourists who have just completed a fun day of hiking, fishing or zip-lining through the canopy – descend on the cafes, restaurants and bars that make San Juan del Sur a culinary and party hotspot. Many of these open-air establishments are right on the beach, offering front-row seats for Nicaragua’s vibrant ocean sunsets.

You’ll find information about San Juan del Sur on the new Nicaraguan Tourism website, designed for North American travelers who are considering – or planning – a vacation in Nicaragua.

Among the top spots to stay in San Juan del Sur:

  • Mango Rosa Surf Resort – Mango Rosa offers private bungalows, a palapa-roofed lobby/restaurant/bar, a huge swimming pool and free shuttle service to the nearby surfing beaches.
  • Pelican Eyes Resort – Perched on a hill overlooking the town and San Juan del Sur Bay, Pelican features spacious casitas, several swimming pools and restaurants, a new spa and spectacular views.
  • Hotel Victoriano – A charming boutique hotel and restaurant in a Victorian-style building that dates back to 1902. The location is ideal:  across the street from the beach, and within steps of the nightlife action.
  • La Posada Azul – New boutique hotel with a pool in what was a comfy house, just one block from the beach.
  • Villas de Palermo – A peaceful and private ecological-friendly resort that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and green pastures of the Palermo farm.

Where to drink, dine and party in San Juan del Sur:

  • Bambu Beach Club – Beachfront restaurant known for its extensive drink menu
  • El Timon – Fresh seafood served right on the beach and shows on Thursday nights
  • Mauricio’s Pizzeria – Best homemade pizza in San Juan del Sur
  • Barrio Café – Located in the center of town, serving creative international fare
  • La Cascada – Pelican Eyes Resort’ fine dining restaurant offers breathtaking ocean views
  • El Colibri – One of the most popular restaurants in San Juan del Sur
  • Iguana Beach Bar – Dine with us and stay for socializing at the only late night bar on the beach, it's the perfect way to finish off the evening

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Airline News spacer Every fall, millions of birds belonging to more than 150 species in North America travel south for the winter. Ever wonder where they go? Many end up in Nicaragua, which, with its lush tropical vegetation and lakes and rivers filled with fish, offers them an ideal winter-vacation home. During their stay, the birds from North America mingle with the hundreds of species of tropical birds that live here year round.

In Nicaragua, there are more than 750 species of birds including egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, ospreys, jacanas, oropendolas, sandpipers and Nicaragua’s national bird, the “Guardabarranco” or “Turquoise-browed Motmot.” Prime bird-watching season runs between September and April. Tours are available for visitors who like to focus on bird watching when they travel, or combine bird watching with other nature activities. Prime bird-watching spots include:

  • Ometepe Island – Located in Central America’s largest lake, Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe is formed by two volcanoes connected by a pristine wetland. The range of altitudes on the island combined with its position between Nicaragua’s dry tropical Pacific and wet tropical Caribbean coasts subject it to a dramatic range of climates. For this reason all the major habitat types found in Nicaragua are present on the island and it has been named an official UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Here birders will find threatened bird species that are known to have declined dramatically elsewhere, including the Yellow-necked Parrot, the Three-wattled Bellbird and the Purple-throated Mountain Gem Hummingbird.

  • Las Isletas de Granada – An archipelago in Lake Nicaragua of more than 300 little islands, the result of a volcanic explosion centuries ago on nearby Mombacho Volcano, Las Isletas are home to parakeets, flycatchers, magpies, jays and egrets, among hundreds of other species. Bird watchers can travel by panga, tour boat, or kayak to spot them. The isletas are just offshore from the colonial city of Granada, the most popular tourist destination in Nicaragua, making a bird-watching excursion an easy day’s outing.

  • Mombacho Cloud Forest – Mombacho Volcano, located just outside the city of Granada, is home to the protected Mombacho Natural Reserve. Travelers who hike (or travel by vehicle) up to the cloud forest near the summit can find 173 species of birds, as well as unique species of salamanders and orchids.

  • Matagalpa Highlands – Nicaragua’s central highlands bring cool mountain weather. The bird community here represents a varied mix of both Pacific and Atlantic-slope species, as well as rare tropical mountain species.

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What people are saying spacer Nicaragua’s Rio San Juan is a great destination for adventurous fishermen. A short flight from Managua’s international airport and you’re in the rainforest, where the water in Lake Nicaragua, one of the largest lakes in Latin America, flows 120 miles down the San Juan River to the Caribbean Sea. It is unique to have tarpon, typically a saltwater fish, living more than 100 miles upriver from the sea, in freshwater. But just downriver from where the Rio San Juan meets Lake Nicaragua, tarpon rule!

On the Rio San Juan, fishermen have been known to land tarpon that weigh well over 100 pounds. (The fishing here is all catch and release, as tarpon are endangered.) After a morning spent snagging native fish in addition to tarpon, such as snook, rainbow bass, machaca and mojara, visitors can stop at a rancho on the river bank and eat an authentic meal with a local family. “Magic hour,” as dusk descends, is the best time to spot jungle animals such as howler monkeys, sloths and toucans. At night, you might catch the eerie glow of caiman alligator eyes in your flashlight beam.
Many fishing guides are former professional fisherman and speak English. To learn more about fishing on the Rio San Juan, including where to stay and packages, go to Suggestions:

  • Hotel Victoria – Overlooking the river, Hotel Victoria provides is great for walks and canoeing
  • Hotel Sabalos – Located on the water, offers boating, canoeing, horseback riding and more
  • Sabalos Lodge – Cabins elevated over the water’s edge are perfect for the true adventurer

For more information on fishing in Nicaragua, visit:
Nicaragua Tourism or Nicaragua Fishing

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The Nicaraguan Tourism Board
Hotel Crowne Plaza, 1c Sur, 1c. Oeste. Managua, Nicaragua. Aptdo. Postal No. 5088
Pbx: (505) 2254-5191 / Fax: (505)2222-6610