Posted on February 25th, 2009 by admin
6,000 year-old footprints baked into volcanic ash border the southern shore of Lake Nicaragua, harking back to an age when actives volcanoes presided over the land and humans lived sparsely among them. Today, Central America’s largest country has been coined the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’ and boasts 40 volcanoes, six of which are active. The southwest is punctuated by Lago Nicaragua, a lake the size of Puerto Rico, big enough to hide two volcanoes within its depths (as well as the world’s only fresh-water shark). No longer the political hotbed it was in the 80’s, Nicaragua is considered the safest Central American country for travelers.
The Pacific coast offers world-class surf breaking on oftentimes sparsely populated beaches: white and dark sands roll back into lush and diverse forests. Slowly but surely, Nicaragua is developing a tourism infrastructure to accommodate those riding in on their boards, and you’ll find an increasingly diverse array of options, from luxury resorts to camping spots.
The Atlantic coast of Nicaragua is another world into itself: “The Atlantic Coast [of Nicaragua] is perhaps best understood if one imagines it as a Caribbean island that, by some geological catastrophe, drifted toward Central America and found itself part of a foreign nation,” writes Stephen Kinzer, the former New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua. The Atlantic coast is less explored than the burgeoning Pacific, with harder to access and less known surf breaks.
Quite apart from the swells that roll in from brilliant blue seas, something else elusive about Nicaragua will captivate you. Days and nights hang in perfect equilibrium of twelve and twelve; expect the sun to rise at six and set at six, the latter a languid spectacle of colors that will last through several ice cold Toñas, the national beer. Perhaps this elusive quality has to do with Nicaraguans, a people that haven’t forgotten their tumultuous past but have moved on to embrace life deeply. After dinner, Nicaraguans lean back and sigh with a smile: Full belly, happy heart. Indeed, in Nicaragua, it doesn’t take much to make a heart happy.