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Nicaragua eNewsletter April 2013
 
     
spacer Sustainability in Nicaragua

Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America and known as “the land of lakes and volcanoes,” is steadily increasing its sustainability efforts. This growing awareness of sustainability and eco-friendly practices has led to increased efforts in recycling and waste material recovery facilities, upgrades in the country’s power transmission grids, growing support of farmers’ associations to help expand production in a sustainable way, and the expansion of solar- and wind-power energy.

Solar

Nicaragua's Ministry of Energy and Mines along with the National Company of Electricity Transmission recently inaugurated the country's first solar-energy project: a 1-megawatt solar facility that can generate enough energy to supply more than 1,000 homes throughout Nicaragua with an average consumption of 150 kilowatt-hours per month per home. Partially funded by the government of Japan, the solar farm was built 36 miles south of Managua, the nation's capital, and contains 5,880 photovoltaic solar panels. This solar farm is the first of its type in Central America.

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Ecotourism in Nicaragua

Ometepe spacer Ecotourism means responsible travel to natural places with minimal impact on the environment and an effort to sustain the well-being of the local people and surroundings. An increasing number of hotels and resorts in Nicaragua use this definition as a formula when developing their eco-friendly practices.

Ometepe

Travelers may enjoy ecotourism opportunities in a number of resorts in Nicaragua:

Ometepe Island:

Totoco Eco-lodge: Situated near Maderas Volcano's cloud forest, Totoco is an eco-lodge that boasts solar-powered energy and its own organic farm. The six-hectare property is designed for the traveler looking to experience nature without sacrificing comfort or convenience.

Hotel Finca del Sol: Built by an Italian and Canadian couple, this ecolodge is 100 percent solar powered.  The cabins were made with techniques that maximize the use of natural materials such as adobe for the walls and floors, and wood and palm leaves for the roofs. All the woodwork was honed by hand. The eco-friendly property focuses on organic farming, has a passive solar hot-water system, and a toilet composting system. It is also 100 percent solar powered.

Hotel Villa Paraiso: Located on Playa Santo Domingo, 14 miles from Moyogalpa (the main port on the island of Ometepe) and 8 miles from the new port of San Jose del Sur, the hotel has private cabins set among natural vegetation overlooking the beach. The hotel uses solar power for its hot water. The property's private Mountain Farm cabin is 100 percent solar powered.


West Coast

Along the Pacific Coast:

Jicaro Island Ecolodge: A luxury eco-resort located on its own private islet in Lake Nicaragua, Jicaro is a 20-minute boat ride from the colonial town of Granada. Guests can enjoy yoga classes, wellness treatments and locally sourced cuisine. The resort offers minimal impact on the island with its nine private, two-story casitas that are furnished with locally crafted Rainforest Alliance-certified wood and feature organic cotton bathrobes, bamboo blended linens and biodegradable soaps. Solar power is used to heat the water and a recycling program helps with waste.

Hacienda & Ecolodge Morgan's Rock: The first luxury ecolodge in Nicaragua, Morgan's Rock features 15 private bungalows perched over a beautiful beach along the Pacific coast. The property covers 1,800 hectares that involve tree farming and reforestation as well as sustainable agriculture. Guests enjoy fresh eggs and cheese from the ecolodge's animal farm and nature tours are available. Morgan's Rock is a perfect place stay for travelers who want to enjoy nature in a low impact way.

Aqua Wellness Resort: A resort featuring “tree house” accommodations, Aqua is an ideal destination for yoga, meditation and wellness retreats. The spa program incorporates local natural products and techniques and each villa is elevated off the ground to minimize impact on the forest. The beach is calm enough for snorkeling and there are paths for walking through the surrounding areas.

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Managua Ranks in the Top Three of "American Cities of the Future 2013/14"

Managua spacer Managua, the capital of Nicaragua and its largest city, recently ranked as the third best city in the Americas for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy. The ranking was part of the "American Cities of the Future 2013/14" report published by fDi Intelligence, a division of The Financial Times. This annual report placed Managua behind only Montreal and Toronto, making it the only Central American city in the top ten within the category. Managua had to compete with 126 other cities from North and South America to receive this accolade. fDi Intelligence acknowledged the efforts of the Nicaraguan government and the private sector to develop the country's initiatives to improve business and attract FDI. To read more about the category or the rationale, click here. For the full report from fDi Intelligence, click here.

Managua

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Coffee Farms in Nicaragua

Coffee spacer Coffee arrived in Nicaragua in the mid-1800s. Since then, the country's fertile soil has helped the crop to play a significant role in the country's economy. A wide variety of small to large farms are operated by multi-generational families. During the coffee harvest, which usually occurs between November and February, large plantations employ and house hundreds, sometimes thousands of coffee pickers.

Coffee

The country's most popular cultivating areas are in regions within Nicaragua's Central northern mountains – Segovias (Estelí, Madriz and Nueva Segovia), Matagalpa (Isabelia and Dariense mountain ranges) and Jinotega. The humid climate and rich volcanic soil allow for lush vegetation to thrive.

The following ecolodge and coffee farm offers travelers the opportunity to experience life on a coffee plantation:

  • Selva Negra Mountain Resort: Owned by descendants of German settlers, Selva Negra is an ecolodge, organic farm and bird-friendly coffee estate in the highlands of Northern Nicaragua in Matagalpa. Guests stay in chalets overgrown with orchards and ferns. The property is well-known for protecting the forest, birds and wildlife. Coffee plantation tours are best from November through February. They're usually on foot and include lessons on plantillo (coffee plant) care, coffee picking, how coffee is processed, waste processing, an introduction to the coffee museum and coffee tasting.

  • Café Las Flores: Located on the Mombacho Volcano, near Granada, the Café Las Flores coffee farm features shade grown coffee that is hand-picked and processed on sun-dried patios. Tours are available where guests learn about the many steps that go into making coffee, from planting to picking to processing. A coffee tasting is available at the end of the tour.

Coffee Tours:

Road Scholar “Exploring Nicaragua: Colonial Towns to Countryside” 7-day package: Culture and coffee

  • Colonial city of Granada
  • Tour of the Selva Negra coffee plantation
  • Masaya Volcano National Park

Mila Tours “Nicaragua” 6-day package: Culture, adventure, cigars

  • Masaya Volcano National Park
  • Volcano Museum
  • Masaya market
  • Colonial city of Granada
  • Cruise on Lake Nicaragua, hot springs
  • Hike through cloud forest
  • Esteli cigar tour
  • Coffee tour
  • Colonial city of Leon

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The Nicaraguan Tourism Board
Hotel Crowne Plaza, 1c Sur, 1c. Oeste. Managua, Nicaragua. Aptdo. Postal No. 5088
Pbx: (505) 2254-5191 / Fax: (505)2222-6610
www.visitnicaragua.us