Nicaragua: Open Yourself to the Allure of Paradise
“If the homeland is small, one dreams it large.”
— Rubén Darío
The people of Nicaragua honor it as a land of poets, and the country has served as muse to many who have been moved by its relentless spirit and unrivaled natural glories. The adventurous have been drawn here for centuries to experience its beauty and riches. Between the waters of the Caribbean on the east and Pacific on the west lie deep rain forests thriving with exotic flora and fauna, mist-shrouded mountains and volcanic peaks, giant lakes and tranquil rivers, and gentle savannas. In Nicaragua’s villages and towns, people take fierce pride in their literature, dance, art, music and food, and greet visitors with open smiles. And here the pace of daily life moves just a little slower.
The history and culture of Nicaragua is ancient and deep. Over 8,000 years ago, a tribe known as Los Concheros--the shell collectors--became the first known humans to roam the land. Other tribes migrated in and settled other areas of the country, establishing traditions of agriculture, art and music that continue today. The Spanish came in the 1500s, while English settlements were planted on the Caribbean coast in the 1700s. From these diverse roots developed an independent nation that, despite historic conflicts, has retained its spirit and now is reemerging onto the world stage.
In fact, Nicaragua’s economic performance has steadily improved in recent years, with the outlook extremely positive for continued growth. The country’s exports are increasing, while tourism shows consistent improvement. Visitors to Nicaragua topped one million for the first time during 2010, an 8% increase, and have continued to rise. Another very positive development is the steady advance in foreign direct investment. According to PRONicaragua, the country’s economic development organization, this is helping companies expand production capacities and maintain growth, which bodes well for the overall economy.
Recent reports from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank demonstrate that Nicaragua’s upward trends are being recognized around the world. This ongoing progress supports mounting acknowledgement of the health of the Nicaraguan economy, and the successful efforts to promote investment and economic activity. Along with other key factors, this growth further highlights Nicaragua as a promising place to invest.
Government stability also has an impact on the country’s economy. Nicaragua has held open democratic elections since 1989 and enjoyed a strengthening of its democratic institutions. As PRONicaragua notes, “Democracy and freedom are alive and well in Nicaragua.” This progress has enhanced the country’s relationships with other nations, and led to stronger international acceptance and support.
Personal safety and security also are always an area of concern for visitors and investors. Studies done by various outside groups constantly demonstrate Nicaragua has the lowest incidence of crime in Central America, ranking it as the safest in the region.
“Having moved our family here, we have enjoyed the sense of security offered throughout Nicaragua,” explains Carolyn Keeling. “Compared to some neighboring countries, we’re very fortunate to live in a place where people value personal safety.”
One sometimes overlooked fact is that Nicaragua possesses more than 7% of the world’s biodiversity. The country simply is an oasis incredibly rich in natural life within its coastal habitats and tropical rain forests, which are the largest remaining in Central America. Over 9,000 plant species have been identified within Nicaragua, with speculation thousands more could be discovered. There also are more than 750 species of birds and 200 species of mammals, as well as over 200 species of reptiles and amphibians.
Nicaragua’s natural habitats provide critical protection for flora and fauna that are endangered or have disappeared entirely from other areas. The country has nearly a hundred protected regions and privately owned reserves—many of which are open to visitors. This total protected area represents nearly 20% of the country's land, providing evidence of the desire to maintain and enhance Nicaragua’s natural assets.
“It’s impossible to envision the natural beauty and biodiversity here without experiencing it for yourself,” says Roger Keeling, who moved to Nicaragua from Atlanta, Georgia, in 2007. “One of the things we try to do with our in-country tours is give visitors a sense of just what a special and unique place this is.”
Nicaragua is, quite simply, a place that welcomes you and invites you to immerse yourself in all that it offers.