Nicaragua is wedged between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea in the east. It is bordered to the north by Honduras and Costa Rica to the south. With an area of 129,494 km ² Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. The three main regions of the lowlands of the Pacific with nearly forty volcanoes, the central mountain massif which almost reaches to the border with Costa Rica , and the lowlands of the Caribbean Sea, a sparsely populated area with lots of tropical rainforest. The highest mountain is the Pico Mogotón (2107 m). In the southwest are two large lakes, Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua (148 km long and 55 km wide), also the largest lake in Central America.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest but also nicest countries in the region. The country has in recent decades, had to deal with many disasters and wars. In the early seventies, mainly Managua was hit by a severe earthquake that killed several thousand people. The damage is still visible in the old Cathedral of Managua. After that, a bloody civil war has raged between the Contras and the Sandinistas. For a dozen years now they have yet to bury the hatchet but it goes slowly in the right direction and the country is slowly on the way back. In 1996, Nicaragua was the fastest growing economy in Central America, with a net growth of 5.5 percent. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 was an abrupt end to the progress that had been made in the years before it. It not only destroyed the entire infrastructure but also the hope that people had built. In recent years, Nicaragua has been frequently plagued by natural disasters such as drought or excessive rainfall. All this has major impact on the economy of the country. There are considerable differences in income and stability of the economy is hard to find. Hence the population is very vulnerable to change. However, public investment in sectors like education and health has risen steadily and slowly but surely it seems to get better for Nicaragua. The economy is almost entirely driven by agricultural exports. This particularly applies to coffee, fruit and sugar cane products and meat. Tobacco, melons and onions are now exported.
Managua is the capital of the country. It is a faceless place because they do not have the means to rebuild the center after the earthquake inflicted its damage. Granada is the most authentic town and the land is rich. It lies on the Great Lake of Nicaragua in which hundreds of islands are located. Furthermore, the image of Nicaragua is determined by a large number of still active volcanoes including Masaya volcano, which is the best. Most Nicaraguans (Spanish-Indian descent) are living in central and western Nicaragua. In the eastern coastal area still live very many Indian tribes. This area is still very primitive and very difficult to reach. Animals you may encounter in this country include: jaguars, crocodiles, navel pigs, parrots, pelicans and pumas.