Capital: Managua

Size: 129,494 km²

Population: 4.8m

Currency: Córdoba

Language: Spanish

Visas: Not required by British nationals

Food: The highlight is fresh lobster for about $3 - it is to die for!

Drink: Nicaragua is the land of a thousand fruits, so go for refrescos (fruit juices).

Festivals: Elaborate festivals are organized in each town or village to celebrate the local patron saint’s day.

Nicaragua is a friendly and peaceful country that has received some negative press over the years. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, for, while other countries in the region have been flooded by tourists, Nicaragua has managed to preserve its authenticity and character.

The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is full of incredible contrasts, a testament to a turbulent but fascinating history. On its Pacific side, where most of the population now live, the major colonial influence was Spanish, while the Caribbean coast was dominated by the British.

With its volcanoes and the massive inland sea of Lago de Nicaragua, the Pacific lowlands are stunningly beautiful. Ometepe Island, which lies in the lake, is the largest freshwater island in the world, dominated by the Concepción and Maderas volcanoes. There are regular ferries to this largely unspoilt jewel.

Elsewhere, in the city of León, you’ll find old colonial buildings, while the beaches along the Pacific coast are quiet and perfect for watersports and swimming. Off the Caribbean coast, the Corn Islands were once a base for British buccaneers, but sandy beaches and clear blue seas now make the islands an ideal spot for snorkelling and diving.

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Getting there