NICARAGUA is the largest but most sparsely populated of the Central American nations, sitting 11o north of the Equator. It is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys and two big lakes, Nicaragua, about 161 km long, and Managua, about 61 km long. Close to 20% of the country’s territory is designated as protected areas such as national parks, nature reserves and biological reserves.
Nicaraguan culture has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavours. Tourism in Nicaragua is reportedly booming, it is currently the second largest industry in the nation and over the last decade tourism has almost doubled nationwide. Visitors are attracted to the tropical climate, beautiful volcanic coastline and beaches, diving and surfing and various developments along the very fertile Pacific coast, such as golf courses.