Nicaragua–Not just for Communists Anymore

My first trip of 2012 involved a speaking engagement to my 121st recorded country, Nicaragua! Before this trip, when I thought of Nicaragua, I thought of Sandinistas, civil wars, communists, and Daniel Ortega.  Ortega is still there…in fact, he’s the president again, and the Sandinistas are still around.  But communism and the war are long gone and, let me tell you, Nicaragua is one unbelievably beautiful place.

Nicaragua shares its climate with its Caribbean and Central American neighbors…in other words, tropical breezes, sunshine, and warmth. In addition, it also has some massive lakes, the largest, the aptly named Lake Nicaragua, is the largest in Central America.

The group of SharePoint specialists I spent my time with took me out on a boat tour of the many islands in Lake Nicaragua.  If you are ever in the market for buying your own personal island, this is the place to do it!  The going rate starts at $100,000, pretty cheap considering ITS YOUR OWN ISLAND.  Suddenly you don’t have to be Johnny Depp to own one.

$100,000?  I'll take it!

And, by the way, if you make it there…don’t bother with Managua, the capital.  Make your way directly to Grenada, the old capital, and a city locked in time architecturally.  All of the buildings in Grenada are under strict rules not to change their facades. At the same time, this isn’t a Disney-style city, it is a real living breathing city with many more locals than tourists.

Grenada, Nicaragua

Let’s be honest, Nicaragua is not for everyone, of course.  It doesn’t have a full traditional tourism infrastructure set up and there is still a crime element here, or at least I am told. I did note some corruption issues with bribes being demanded by police that would stop motorists, and there were a few areas of Managua that I passed through that could be considered ‘dodgy.’  That said, I didn’t have any problems there and can honestly say I’ve seen much worse in other places.  The people here also were quite nice, and very real.

Nicaraguans in Managua

So, my advice?  Visit and check out Nicaragua before the rest of the world figures out what a gem this place. Eventually, a bunch of foreigners will end up buying up all of the buildings in Grenada and the islands in Lake Nicaragua and turning the whole place into one big western-style resort.  Until then, I’ll sit and savor the memories and smells of my freshly caught Nicaraguan fish, enjoyed on an island in the midst of my newly discovered paradise.

Great local cuisine, fresh from the lake!  On Lake Nicaragua.

10 thoughts on “Nicaragua–Not just for Communists Anymore

  1. I seriously think that the US is using propaganda to keep Nicaragua from becoming like panama & costa rica. They aren’t fans of the politics. I *really* enjoyed being able to find a bit of paradise in Nicaragua. Definitely the most under rated country in north/central America.

    • Plenty, but I wanted to keep the post short and sweet. Nearly everyone in Nicaragua was pleasant to deal with, and it had a very relaxed attitude. Don’t expect to go anywhere fast, of course! There was never a rush to get where we needed to go, but that was a nice change from my typical American pace.

      As a society, the locals I was hanging out with did comment that there was internal discrimination between those with lighter skin color and the ‘Morenos’, which had darker skin. After they pointed that out, I noticed that our friend at the table with us (a local SharePoint guy) was the only Moreno seated in the cafe, the rest of the darker-skinned population in the cafe were all workers. Everyone seated as customers were lighter-skinned. It was a sign to me that there was an undercurrent of discrimination there, so in that way it’s not a perfect society. Of course, I have yet to find any society that is completely color-blind in that way.

  2. Michael, this is amazing. The combination of your travel, photography and writing experience will definitely make this blog a top read for me!

  3. What a great idea to share your traveling experience through this blog. I greatly appreciate it. I have been looking at the different pictures you posted on FB for several years, but this blog gives me insights of the country from your perspective. From a perspective of a traveler that I definitely trust and whose opinion matters. I am looking forward to read more beautiful stories and see more amazing pictures. I have a very close friend from Nicaragua and she asked me several times to go with her when she visits her family over there. Kind of did not consider it before. I feel I should reconsider and go.

    • Thanks Liliya!

      I think you should definitely reconsider going. It’s a beautiful place, and I never felt uncomfortable at any time. I just scratched the surface of what there is to offer there as well. Thanks for your kind words!

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