Is Nicaragua the new Costa Rica?

Travel Destinations — By on October 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm

That’s what was suggested in this recent NY Times travel article, in which Jeff Koyen wrote about the charms of this small country, and in particular the city of Granada. Koyen beleves Nicaragua is on its way to becoming another popular Central American travel destination – and one that is, for the moment at least, more inexpensive than neighboring Costa Rica.

Nicaragua’s tourism industry is bullish for good reason. The country’s beaches are among the finest in the Americas, and among the least developed. Dozens of volcanic peaks offer treks through rain forests teeming with a rich biodiversity. And large tracts of nature reserves offer an eco-tourist wonderland.

But when it comes to Nicaraguan culture, new and old, nothing compares to Granada.

Founded in 1524 by the conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba, Granada is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. It was also one of the most frequently sacked, thanks to its location on Lake Nicaragua, which reaches the Caribbean by way of the San Juan River. But despite frequent sieges by pirates and would-be imperialists, a good portion of the city’s colonial architecture remains miraculously intact. Add the narrow, cobblestone streets and courtyard cafes, and it’s one of Central America’s loveliest spots.

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