Seven of the sustainable hotels, resorts and eco lodges that we manage are in Costa Rica. One of them is in located in Nicaragua. We find that selling the Costa Rica properties is pretty easy these days. Everybody has heard great things about “Pura Vida”, the friendly Ticos and the great natural beauty of the country. But Nicaragua is still a whole different ballgame. Many of our potential guests find it inconceivable to vacation in a country like Nicaragua. Why?
It’s the Reputation. Nicaragua still has a terrible political reputation. A lot of people think of the civil war of the 1980″s that was a result of the cold war of East against West. Iran Contra and the Oliver North Hearings are still remembered in a negative way by many potential visitors. But this is 30 years ago now.
Why do so many people look at you like you are from another planet when you tell them that you are thinking of going to Nicaragua? The most common questions are: Is it safe to travel there? Are people nice? Are there any good hotels? How is the food? We think those responses are mostly a lack of information and often plain ignorance. Ask the ones that took the plunge and went there. You will be surprised by what you hear.
In the past two to three years, almost every important US and Canadian newspaper have published an article about Nicaragua and how it is the potential to be the “new Costa Rica“. Look up articles in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and you will find raving reviews of journalists that visited the country in the past months.
At Cayuga, we have believed in Nicaragua and have done business there for almost 15 years now. We did consulting on tourism operations and hotels in the Granada area opened the country’s first luxury ecolodge near San Juan del Sur and opened Nicaragua’s premier Ecolodge Jicaro Island Ecolodge on a Granada Isleta in Lake Nicaragua. Next month, we are headed back to the coast to work on the development of another sustainable beachfront resort.
While we don’t like the comparisons with Costa Rica (the experiences are very different and unique), we think that Nicaragua has a lot to offer and is a new and hot destination for travelers that are looking to get ” off the beaten path”. There is so much to do and see. From skiing down in the black sand of an active volcano, to swimming in a warm water lake to the most amazing colonial towns such as Granada and Leon and of course unspoiled white sand beaches on the Pacific coast. And we have not event mentioned the San Juan River, the Caribbean Islands and the cooler coffee growing highlands to the north.
What is fascinating to many first time visitors is how warm and friendly the Nicaraguans are. It is not unusual to be invited into their homes for a cold drink or a meal. They are eager to share their culture and learn about other countries. And one thing is for sure. You get bragging right the next time you have dinner with friends: ” What? You went where? Nicaragua? Wow!!!”
Travel to Nicaragua is easier than you might think. You can take flights to Managua from several hubs in the US like Miami, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. Another option is to fly into Liberia in Costa Rica and cross the border.
We would love for you to stay at least three nights at the Jicaro Island Ecolodge and use it as a base to explore the colonial town of Granada, the Isletas, the Mombacho Volcano and many other adventures and tours in the area. Need help setting this up? Send us a note to [email protected].