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Nicaragua was settled as a colony of Spain in the 1520s and gained its independence in 1821. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and again in 2001 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.


Nicaragua is located in the heart of Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras, 13 degrees North of the equator. With nearly 130 thousand sq. km. of land, Nicaragua is just smaller than the state of New York. Nicaragua boasts an astounding 910 km of coastline as it touches both the Carribean Sea to the east and Pacific Ocean to the west. To the North, Nicaragua borders Honduras for 922 km and to the South, borders Costa Rica for 309 km.

The terrain varies from the Atlantic costal plains to an interior mountain range with a narrow Pacific coastal plain mixed with the occasional volcanoes. Nicaragua is bless with a variety of natural resources including precious metals and some of the strongest hardwoods in the world. Nicaragua also boasts the largest freshwater body of water in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua.

The People

The popoulation is just over 5 million (July 2002 est.) and is primarily Roman Catholic. Nicaragua gained its independence from Spain on the 15th of September, 1821.

Historically, Nicaragua is one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. However, Nicaragua is now taking strides towards building a new tourism based economy. By offering similar initiatives to foriegn investment as Costa Rica did in the 1980’s, Nicaragua has seen a huge increase in foriegn investment. This investment has in turn, brought a tremendous number of jobs to the country.




U.S. citizens must provide a valid U.S. passport. Passports are required for ALL U.S. citizens of any age entering Costa Rica. U.S. Citizens are not required to have a visa to enter Costa Rica. All non U.S. citizens should check entry and re-entry requirements. See passport information in the link here.