Nicaragua only has two seasons: the summer when it is warm and sunny and the wind blows, and the winter when it is hot and rainy. It also has three major zones: the Pacific zone is hot, the Central zone is cooler and the Caribbean zone is rainy and hot.
Nicaragua is located in the center of the American continents between Honduras and Costa Rica. It is the biggest country in Central America with a size of 130,000 square kilometers and a population of 5.9 million people. It is known as ”the land of lakes and volcanoes”. Its two major lakes, Lake Managua (Xolotlan) and Lake Cocibolca, are the biggest in Central America. Of Nicaragua’s fifty volcanoes, seven are considered active, and many offer great possibilities for tourism with activities such as hiking, climbing and swimming in crater lakes. The most important of these volcanoes are Cerro Negro located in Leon, where sandboarding tours are offered, and Volcan Santiago located in Masaya city.
The Spanish Empire conquered Central America in the 16th Century, and Nicaragua achieved its independence from Spain in 1821. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, and fiscal crisis, the most recent and significant being the Sandinista revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Today the country has a “democratic system”.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti. Forty-six percent of the population lives below the poverty line and seventy-nine percent lives on less than US$2 per day. One third of the adult population is illiterate. The country is, however, ecologically rich and cultivates its own rice, fruits, and vegetables. The typical food is “Gallo Pinto,” a mix of rice and beans.
The country’s capital is Managua, which is located in the geographic center of Nicaragua. In 1972 a strong earthquake destroyed most parts of Managua and most of the city has been rebuilt since that time. The national bird is named Guardabarranco, and the national flower is the “Flower of Sacuanjoche”.