Top Ten Nicaraguan Attractions

Top Ten Nicaraguan Attractions

       Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country’s physical geography divides it into three major zones: Pacific lowlands, wet, cooler central highlands and the Caribbean Lowlands. On the Pacific side of the country are the two largest fresh water lakes in Central America, Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua. Surrounding these lakes and extending to their northwest along the rift valley of the Gulf of Fonsecaare fertile lowland plains, whose soil is highly enriched with ash from nearby volcanoes. Nicaragua’s abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contributes to Mesoamerica’s designation as a biodiversity hotspot. The Central American Volcanic Arc runs through the spine of the country, earning Nicaragua its notably famous nickname: The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and the territory became associated with the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later the Captaincy General of Guatemala. Alongside the Spanish, the British established a protectorate on the eastern seaboard beginning in the middle of the 17th century. The eastern seaboard retains its colonial heritage; English and Jamaican Patois are commonly spoken and the culture in the Atlantic region identifies as being more Caribbean. In 1821, Nicaragua achieved its independence from Spain and joined the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823, later leaving the Federal Republic in 1838. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, military intervention on behalf of the US, dictatorship and fiscal crisis, the most notable causes that lead to the Nicaraguan Revolution. Prior to the revolution, Nicaragua was one of Central America’s wealthiest and most developed countries. The revolutionary conflict, paired with Nicaragua’s 1972 earthquake reversed the country’s prior economic standing. Despite the harsh economic effects of both phenomena, Nicaragua is a representative democratic republic which has experienced economic growth and political stability in recent years. In 1990, Nicaragua elected Violeta Chamorro as its president, making it the first country in the Americas and in Latin American history to democratically elect a female head of state and the 2nd country in the Western Hemisphere to do so, following Iceland’s democratic election of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. The mixture of cultural traditions has generated substantial diversity in art, cuisine, literature and music. Nicaragua’s biological diversity, warm tropical climate, and active volcanoes make it an increasingly popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists and volcanologists. The country has also been dubbed The Land of Poets, due to various literary contributions of renown Nicaraguan writers, including Rubén Darío, Ernesto Cardenal and Gioconda Belli.

  1. Fortress of the Immaculate Conception

    The Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, (El Castillo de la Inmaculada Concepción) is a fortification located on the southern bank of the Río San Juan, in the village of El Castillo in southern Nicaragua. The fortress is situated approximately 6 kilometers from the border with Costa Rica, at the Raudal del Diablo rapids of the San Juan River. It was completed in 1675 as part of a series of fortifications along the San Juan River, to defend against pirate attacks upon the city of Granada, which can be reached by navigating upstream from the Caribbean Sea along the San Juan River into Lake Nicaragua. The settlement of El Castillo and its fortress continued to be strategically important to the Captaincy General of Guatemala until the late 18th century.
  2. Corn Islands

    The Corn Islands are two islands about 70 km (43 mi) east off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, constituting one of 12 municipalities of the Región Autónoma del Atlántico Sur department.
  3. Ruins of León Viejo

    León Viejo, is the place where the city of León was originally founded in what is now the town of Puerto Momotombo in the Municipality of La Paz Centro. This city, after a popular consultation, was abandoned to be settled in another location. For this reason it is called “León Viejo” (Old León). It was founded on June 15, 1524 by the Spanish conqueror, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, who was decapitated in its Plaza Mayor (Major Plaza) in 1526 by Pedrarias Dávila, his Lieutenant. This town, in other time inhabited for the first colonists after the discovery, in the beginning had in its suburbs a few 15.000 natural neighbors of the country. It is located on the banks of the Lago de Managua (Lake Managua or Lake Xolotlán), in front of the volcano Momotombo. The area where León settled is very warm and had a lot of telluric activity caused by the continuous activity of the volcano Momotombo, that signified launch by the air of sand, ash and lava in igneous state, besides violent and persistent tremblings that culminated in the earthquakes of 1594 and 1610, this last one of greater intensity. The city was not destroyed as commonly is believed. After the violent earthquake of 1610 that damaged it and due to the seismic characteristics of the place, its settlers, as a result of a popular consultation, decided to move the city to the settlement that today occupies, and the old city was gradually buried by the continuous expulsions of ash and volcanic stone and by lake sediments. The Ruins of León Viejo were discovered in 1967 and one year later the excavations looking for historic vestiges were started. As a result of the excavations, it’s known that the city had a similar sketch to almost all cities of Latin America in that time, in form of an exact square and the plaza is located in its center. The center of León Viejo occupies an approximate area of 800 meters times 500 meters, and in it straighten up, around its Plaza Mayor and on the border of its streets, 16 ruins rehabilitated until now. The city had three monasteries: “La Merced”, “San Pedro” and “San Francisco”, they were placed in the main streets of the city and open approximately until 1560. La Merced has been found already in the south extreme of the ruins. Also San Pedro has been identified.
    Links: Top 100 Ruins,,
  4. Leon Cathedral

    The Cathedral of León, also known as the Cathedral of Santa María de Gracia, is an significantly important and historic landmark in Nicaragua. The Cathedral’s construction lasted between 1747 and 1814 and was consecrated by Pope Pius IX in 1860. Since then, the cathedral of León has maintained the status of being the largest cathedral in Central America and one of the most known in the Americas due to its Baroque style of architecture.
    Links: Top Ten Cathedrals,,
  5. Links: Poetry, Top Ten Poets, Top Ten North American Poets, Top Ten Poems by Rubén Darío, Top Ten Poems by Ernesto Cardenal, Top Ten Poems by Gioconda Belli,,