Nicaragua is fast-becoming a popular tourist destination and gaining the worldwide acknowledgement it deserves. Known as the ‘Land of the Lakes and Volcanoes’, this simply beautiful Latin American country welcomed 1.5 million tourists in 2017. With tourism, and consequently, the economy on the rise, SITU looks to provide serviced apartments for those savvy corporates who realise the potential of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, bordering Honduras in the north and Costa Rica in the south. The country is the largest in the Central American isthmus and is home to over six million people. Nicaragua also consists of its famous freshwater lake, Lake Nicaragua, the largest in Central America, and has the extraordinary stratovolcano Momotombo north of the capital. Both these amazing sites are clear expressions of Nicaraguan history and past colonisation.
The indigenous Rama population still live along the Caribbean coast like their pre-Hispanic ancestors. These generations of people have lived through centuries of Spanish colonisation and US political intervention. These have forced constant political rearrangements and ever-changing foreign relations. Today, President Ortega and the FSLN party are pushing for economic growth, with the government recently reintroducing free health care and education.
Despite the widespread belief of Nicaragua’s poor economic capabilities, there are in fact profitable business investment opportunities in the country. Plans are in place to support the growth of tourism, agricultural, energy and textile sectors, with trends in macroeconomic developments becoming the priority. The government are therefore open to foreign investments, and new business venture in all these sectors can expect a profit. The Foreign Investment Promotion Law and PRONicaragua agency provide support services and guarantee equal treatment for foreign investors. Savvy corporates consider Nicaragua to be a place for business promise, and demand for serviced apartments has emerged as a result.
As well as this, no restrictions are imposed on converting foreign currency in Nicaragua. The currency is the Nicaragua Córdoba, but the US Dollar is also primarily spent across the country. In fact, it is the only currency that can be exchangeable in banks, and we recommend using Córdoba only for smaller purchases. For the current exchange rates, visit www.xe.com.
Based on popular opinion, the negatives outweigh the positives with regard to driving in Nicaragua. Road conditions vary massively throughout the country, with some being perfectly safe and others being virtually undrivable. Upon arriving in the country, you will be expected to insure your car, rented or your own, but your national driving license is appropriate. The most important things to be aware of are dodgy police officers and potentially hazardous weather.
Alternatively, taxis are an efficient mode of travel. The fares are cheap, and the taxis are unmetered, meaning you will have to negotiate your fare. It usually cost no more than twenty Córdoba around the busiest towns. Another option is taking a ride on the arguably more fun tuk-tuks or triciclos that are always around towns.
The people of Nicaragua are known to be very welcoming of foreign visitors. This does not mean you should not keep your wits about you. Demonstrations and political unrest are common nowadays, but these should not disturb your trip if you keep vigilant. Some would argue the most important thing to be aware of is the weather. The rainy season falls between May and November and can involve hurricane activity. These can impact both your hiking and driving arrangements.
Residents of all EU countries, the US, Australia and Canada do not require visas for entry to Nicaragua. A full list detailing visa exempt countries can be found on the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry website, www.migob.gob.ni. The Central America Border Control Agreement (CA-4) also allows all visa exempt visitors access to Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala for up to ninety days without completing immigration formalities.
Nicaragua has a host of natural wonders and stunning landscapes which overlook impressive preservations of colonial architecture. Serviced apartments are around the cities of León and Granada, which arguably best showcase the country’s fascinating colonial past. The León Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Central America, and the Centro de Arte Fundación Otiz Gurdián are just two examples of worth-visiting pristine colonial buildings in Leon. Whereas Granada is more westernised but still consists of brilliant attractions such as Mi Museo’s pre-Columbian ceramics museum and the famous Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral. Both locations are perfect for the more explorative travellers and perfectly epitomise Nicaragua's past.
As mentioned before, Lake Nicaragua is one of the country’s biggest attractions for foreign visitors. The Isla de Ometepe dominates the interior of the lake, with the staggering Concepción and Maderas volcanoes overlooking the luscious green scenery. An alternative hiking experience to consider is around the Volcán Mombacho. The dormant volcano dwarfs the wildlife-rich nature preserve. There is even a museum nearby to educate you more about this proud feature of the Nicaraguan landscape.
Nicaragua has gone through a recent period of surprising many of its foreign visitors. The improving economic climate and its astonishing topography have not gone unrecognised by SITU, and demand for serviced apartments is growing ever-larger.
Named after the Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto Nicolás Sandino, Nicaragua’s main airport is located in the country’s capital, Managua.
It acts as both the main public and civil-military airport and is the fifth busiest in Central America.
With no train transport available post-2012, buses are the essential mode of transport for travellers and locals. The capital Managua has the most extensive bus network in the country.
The stations and buses are not anything abnormal, but the ride can be uncomfortable so try to keep them short! Make sure you are either on an expreso or ordinario bus, and always keep your ticket with you to avoid repaying fares.