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Nicaragua eNewsletter November 2012
 
     
spacer Nicaragua Enjoys Record-Breaking Year for Tourism in 2012

Tourism in Nicaragua is one of the fastest growing economic sectors of the country. Tourist arrivals have increased in the past few years to become Nicaragua’s largest industry, as the destination offers travelers a full range of activities and experiences that include pristine beaches, ecotourism and rich culture. From January through September 2012, tourism to the country increased by 11%, which led to an 11.45% increase of foreign investment.

Tourism

The increase in tourism is in part due to easier access to Nicaragua and to its more remote regions. Travelers have enjoyed the improved roads and more plentiful and accessible flights to Central America’s safest country. Cruise lines are also stopping in Nicaragua’s ports and will be increasing in number come 2014 when the port of the beautiful beach town, San Juan del Sur, gets its makeover. The colonial city of Granada, one of the most well-preserved colonial cities in the Americas, was the most popular Nicaraguan tourist site for 2012. The town accounted for 41.12% of the tourists visiting the country’s top five tourist destinations! 

Visitors to Nicaragua enjoyed a range of adventurous activities including surfing, rappelling down an ocean cliff, horseback riding and ashboarding down a volcano. They also visited prehistoric sites such as León, home to the largest cathedral in Central America, and the ruins of old León, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and eco-centered locales like Lake Nicaragua, Central America’s largest freshwater lake; the country’s coastal rainforests, considered the Amazon of Central America; the Istelas of Granada, 365 small islands located in Lake Nicaragua; the natural reserve cloud forests; Indio Maiz Biological Reserve; the enchanting Ometepe Island; and the Caribbean’s virgin tropical paradise, the Corn Islands.

As tourism increases thanks to more North Americans experiencing Nicaragua via tours, individual visits and excursions from cruise ships, Central America’s next “hot spot” destination is set to be “the” spot in 2013 for all adventure- and culture-seeking travelers.

Here are a few adventure-driven package recommendations to get you started!

Austin-Lehman Adventures “Nicaragua Adventure Travel” 8-day package: For the active traveler

  • Climb Cerro Negro volcano and ashboard down its black volcanic sand
  • Tour the cathedral, galleries and museums of Leon
  • Hike Masaya Volcano National Park
  • Kayak and zip line
  • San Juan del Sur and beaches

Mega Yacht SeaDream “SeaDream Active – Mombacho Volcano & Granada” excursion: Volcano eco-adventure and culture

  • Visits to Mombacho Natural Reserve
  • Hike around the volcano crater
  • Colonial city of Granada
  • Awe-inspiring views of some of Nicaragua’s most beautiful landmarks

Mega Yacht SeaDream “Masaya Volcano, Catarina View Point & Granada” excursion: Volcano eco-adventure and culture

  • Hike through Masaya Volcano National Park
  • Visit to the Apoyo Lagoon and shop for local handicrafts
  • Colonial city of Granada
  • Awe-inspiring views at the Catarina Overlook

Pleasant Holidays “Treasures of Costa Rica and Nicaragua” 8-day package: Culture, nature and beaches

  • Colonial city of Granada
  • Visit to the Isletas de Granada
  • Hike Masaya Volcano National Park
  • Transfer to Costa Rica for visit to beaches
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San Juan del Sur to Expand its Port to Accommodate More Cruise Ships

SJDS   San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua’s popular beach town on the Pacific Coast, is giving its port a multi-million dollar makeover. When the $3.5 million renovation is completed in 2014, the pier will triple in size to three tenders so that the port may welcome up to 720 passengers at one time. The Nicaragua Tourism Board has teamed with the Inter-American Development Bank and the country’s National Port Operations Department to invest in the project, which will include updated customs and immigration offices, duty free shops, a café and parking lots.

“We are thrilled to position San Juan del Sur as a leading port for cruise ships on Latin American and Panama Canal sailings,” said Mario Salinas, Nicaragua’s Minister of Tourism. “The improvements of the pier and port-side facilities are exciting steps in our plan to develop Nicaragua as a prime travel destination."

Nicaragua presently offers cruise-goers entry to Nicaragua via San Juan del Sur’s small port and the larger port of Corinto, a city on the northwest Pacific coast. Prospective passengers may book a cruise that allows a tender in either of these ports and experience the country’s pristine beaches, tropical landscapes and vibrant colonial cities for themselves. A few cruise line options include:

Princess Cruises: Panama Canal and South American Cruises

Princes Cruises offers 14-, 17-, 30- and 49-day Panama Canal and South American cruises, all of which include stops in San Juan del Sur. From San Juan del Sur, cruise passengers may visit the picturesque colonial city of Granada, with its ornate Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and vibrant central market; Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America; Las Isletas, 365 little islands formed by the volcanic activity of nearby Mombacho volcano and home to abundant wildlife; Apoyo Lagoon, one of Nicaragua’s most beautiful lagoons, in the center of a volcanic crater; and the nature reserve at Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge, a luxury eco-lodge that serves in part as a rainforest sanctuary for howler monkeys, sloths and assortment of birds and reptiles.

Holland America: Panama Canal Cruise

Holland America’s 18-, 19-, 20- and 23-day Panama Canal cruises feature stops in Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, California and Nicaragua. Passengers disembark at the northwest Nicaraguan port of Corinto, where they can take excursions to the ruins of old León, known as the “Pompeii of Central America,” to Cerro Negro volcano, or to visit a primary school of the Betania Foundation.

Star Clippers: Costa Rica & Nicaragua Cruise

Star Clippers’ luxurious seven-night Costa Rica & Nicaragua cruise offers travelers a variety of off-the-beaten-path excursions to untouched rainforest and pristine beaches. Each Star Clipper ship accommodates 170 guests and provides all the amenities of a private mega-yacht.

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First Ultra-Luxury Resort & Spa to Open in Nicaragua on February 1, 2013

Luxury spacer Travelers will soon enjoy Nicaragua’s first ultra-luxury resort, Mukul Resort & Spa, when it officially opens its doors February 1, 2013. The resort is set in Guacalito de la Isla, a new $250-million, 1,670-acre, low-density private beach on Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast. "Mukul," the Mayan word for “secret,” will feature 37 spacious accommodations, each with an ocean view, pool and private staff.

Luxury

Other Mukul Resort amenities include Spa Mukul, with six private spa-treatment casitas; a beach club featuring dining and lounge areas and a swimming pool; and the 18-hole Guacalito Golf Course designed by world-famous Scottish golf architect David McClay Kidd. Guests will enjoy access to the property’s four miles of white-sand beach and rugged coastline, and 12 kilometers of nature trails on which they can hike or bike to observe the four species of monkeys and other wildlife that reside in the lush coastal forest. The Mukul concierge will arrange for guests to explore Nicaragua through customized experiences that introduce them to the nature, culture and people in this up-and-coming tourism destination. Opening rates at Mukul will start at $525 per double per night, including breakfast, lunch, domestic premium open bar during the day and private ground transportation to/from Managua International Airport. Mukul Resort & Spa is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. www.mukulresort.com.

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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