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Nicaragua eNewsletter March 2015
 
     
 
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Nicaragua Celebrates Semana Santa “Holy Week”

Nicaragua, like most of Latin America, will be celebrating Semana Santa from March 29 – April 5 this year. Semana Santa honors the traditions of Holy Week with processions, celebrations, music and food. Additionally, government businesses and banks are closed in observance of the holiday.

Nicaragua

Travelers interested in participating in Holy Week activities will find much to choose from. On Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Semana Santa begins, The Donkey Procession takes place. A statue of Jesus (or a real person dressed as Jesus) is set atop a donkey as parade participants walk around town to and from the local chapel singing and praying. Semana Santa is also a time when red meat is not consumed and travelers will find vegetarian and fish specials aplenty at many restaurants. In Nicaragua, traditional Holy Week dishes include almibar, a sweet syrup-like drink made with mangoes, coconut and papaya; cheese soup made with corn and similar to a chowder; and Gaspar fish cooked with spices and served with rice.

During this time many Nicaraguans also take the time to vacation, heading to popular beach towns including San Juan del Sur and the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, where beaches are turned into party scenes. Travelers will find that hotels, restaurants and bars will be full of locals from all over Nicaragua. The following are domestic Caribbean destinations that may be of interest during this time.

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Caribbean Cues in Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Puerto Cabezas

Blue Lagoon

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Nicaragua has a major Caribbean influence on its Atlantic Coast, with a vibrant mix of indigenous, African and European cultures. Visitors to Nicaragua’s Caribbean side will come across English-speaking Creole towns and indigenous Miskito, Mayangna, Rama and Garifuna communities throughout the region. While many travelers might be familiar with the picturesque Corn Islands of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast, there are many other Caribbean communities on Nicaragua’s east coast to explore. For travelers heading to Caribbean destinations in Nicaragua, La Costeña provides daily air transportation from Managua to 10 destinations throughout Nicaragua, including Bluefields, Corn Islands, Ometepe, and Puerto Cabezas, among others.

  • Bluefields – Bluefields is Nicaragua’s chief Caribbean port, and the main hub from which hardwood, seafood, shrimp and lobster are exported. Its inhabitants are mostly Mestizo or Miskito, along with smaller indigenous communities of Garifuna, Chinese, Sumu, and Ramas. The colorful wooden Victorian houses and vintage buildings, and the reggae music often find wafting through the city give a Caribbean feel. Through Bluefields, visitors can access other local sites including Monkey Point, Rama Cay, Corn Islands and The Bluff.

  • Puerto Cabezas – Located on the North Caribbean Coast, the municipality of Puerto Cabezas and the entire region are indigenous lands which include 51 Miskitu communities. The languages spoken are Spanish, Miskitu, Sumo and English. Travelers to the region can enjoy coastal cuisine largely comprised of coconut and rice, fish and coconut bread at the many restaurants dotting the port.

  • Greytown – The colonial city of Greytown is located on the southern Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and was once a British trading post in the 18th and 19th centuries. Of interest in the area are the centuries-old cemeteries that can be easily visited from San Juan del Norte. It’s a 10-minute boat ride from the town and such a trip can be perfectly combined with a visit to some of the other attractions in the region including the San Juan River and the Blue Lagoon.

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New Upscale Offering in Nicaragua

Rancho Santana

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The Inn at Rancho Santana – A new entry in upscale hospitality in Nicaragua, Rancho Santana officially opened this month on the Southwest Pacific Coast, just two hours away from Managua. The 17-room boutique hotel is in addition to the residential options already available at Rancho Santana, including 21 casitas, villas and ocean homes available to renters. The new Inn and the overarching resort are great options for families, weddings and large groups. Guests will enjoy access to five distinct beaches on the shores of Rancho Santana: Playa Santana, Playa Rosada, Playa Escondida, Playa Duna and Playa Los Perros, where swimming, snorkeling and surfing can be enjoyed. Resort amenities and activities range from spa & yoga, surfing, a clubhouse & restaurant, riding stables and more.

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Another Look at Managua: What to See & Do

Dario

Dario

Birds

Birds

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Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua and the main hub for business and transportation in Nicaragua. Managua is often viewed as an arrival and transfer point as visitors make their way to other points in Nicaragua; however, the capital city is chock full of attractions worthy of exploration.¬†Points of interest in Managua are largely located within the downtown area and can be easily enjoyed in an afternoon for those short on time. Travelers with a more ample schedule should take advantage of the sights including the excellent restaurants, the new waterfront area, and the city’s popular nightlife.

For daytime activities, travelers can head to Plaza de la Revolución for access to historical landmarks including the Casa Presidencial; the Palacio Natural de Cultura, which houses Nicaragua’s national museum; and Parque Ruben Dario, which honors Nicaragua’s most famous poet. The new waterfront development at Salvador Allende offers visitors an array of restaurants, bars, picnic huts and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. There is also a day boat that leaves from Allende and tours Lake Managua, taking visitors around the lake and to the “Island of Love,” which is said to be where couples from rival families in the 19th century would secretly meet. For nature and adventure nearby, Managua has three important natural reserves: the Chiltepe Peninsula with two volcanic lagoons, the Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve, and the Montibelli Natural Reserve, where travelers can camp out and enjoy the waterfalls.

Consider these hotels while staying in Managua:

  • Hotel Contempo – A modern hotel option in Managua, offering 24 rooms, a spa, Azul Restaurant and event space for meetings and wedding.

  • Elements Hotel Boutique – A newer hotel in Managua offering single, double and executive rooms, a gym, business center and Oxigeno Lounge & Bar.

  • Barceló – Recently renovated, Barceló offers elegant rooms, fitness center, swimming pool, two restaurants, a bar/lounge and a modern convention center.

  • InterContinental Managua – The hotel is conveniently located next to the Metrocentro Mall and offers an outdoor pool, gym, cocktail lounge and three restaurants.

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Travel packages include:

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Travel Packages

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

Travel Packages

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Nica Travel’sRancho Santana Surf & Discovery” 7-day Package – luxury, surf, beach
  • Accommodation in luxury ocean view condos, villas or casitas
  • Daily surf instruction
  • Access to five local beaches
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TripMasters.com All of Nicaragua” 14-to-21-day Package – adventure, beach, culture
  • Colonial cities of Granada and Leon
  • Selva Negra in Matagalpa (the highlands of Nicaragua)
  • Managua, Ometepe Island and San Juan del Sur
  • Surfing, hiking, horseback riding and cultural exploration
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MG Tour Company Explore Nicaragua” 8- and 10-day Packages – culture, beach, nature and wildlife
  • Colonial cities of Granada and Leon
  • Nightlife in Managua
  • San Juan del Sur, Rivas and Puerto Sandino
  • Surfing, zip lining, kayaking, educational nature walks and cultural exploration
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Festival ToursNicaragua Sampler” 4-day Package – culture and adventure
  • Managua, Lake Nicaragua and colonial Granada
  • Masaya Volcano National Park ¬†and market
  • Culture, shopping and nature
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Albee Adventures Nicaragua Exotic and Unspoiled” 8-Day Package – culture, volcanoes and beaches
  • Hotel Plaza Colón, Granada and Isletas
  • Hotel El Convento, Leon, Masaya Volcano and Sand-boarding
  • Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, yoga snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding

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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