Nicaragua, like most of Latin America, will be celebrating Semana Santa from March 26 – April 1 this year. Semana Santa honors the traditions of Holy Week with processions, celebrations, music and food. Additionally, government businesses and banks are closed in observance of the holiday.
Travelers interested in participating in Holy Week activities will find much to choose from. On Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Semana Santa begins, The Donkey Procession takes place. A statue of Jesus (or a real person dressed as Jesus) is set atop a donkey as parade participants walk around town to and from the local chapel singing and praying. Semana Santa is also a time when red meat is not consumed and travelers will find vegetarian and fish specials aplenty at many restaurants. In Nicaragua, traditional Holy Week dishes include almibar, a sweet syrup-like drink made with mangoes, coconut and papaya; cheese soup made with corn and similar to a chowder; and Gaspar fish cooked with spices and served with rice.
During this time many Nicaraguans also take the time to vacation, heading to popular beach towns including San Juan del Sur and the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, where beaches are turned into party scenes. Travelers will find that hotels, restaurants and bars will be full of locals from all over Nicaragua. The following are domestic Caribbean destinations that may be of interest during this time.