Nicaragua: Just the facts

Geography: about the size of New York State, largest country in Central America

Climate: tropical with average daily temps between 80-90’s

People: total population 6 million with nearly 2 million living in Managua (the capital city)

Adult literacy: 67%

Economy: over half of the population is either unemployed or underemployed

Nearly a quarter of Nicaraguans rely on money sent back to Nicaragua from relatives in the United States and Canada. Last year, Nicaraguans received $300 million from family members living abroad. Not even coffee exports account for a larger percentage of the nation’s economy.

Religion: nearly 75% Catholic

Nicaragua diet:

Gallo pinto: most people in Nicaragua eat this daily and it’s a national symbol. It is composed of a mixture of fried rice with onion and sweet pepper, red beans boiled with garlic. They are mixed and fried all together.

Although Nicaragua’s capital is Managua, the city of Granada is probably the most popular amongst tourists, and in fact is the oldest city on continental Latin America. It was founded in 1524 by Hernandez de Cordoba, who gave his name to the national currency – the Cordoba.

Nicaragua is often referred to as 'the country of Lakes and Volcanoes'. Not only do many lakes and lagoons exist throughout the country, an impressive line of volcanoes also runs from north to south. There is a great variety among these volcanoes; some have huge smoking crater mouths whereas other volcanoes were blown away in violent eruptions thousands of years ago, leaving behind nothing more than a tranquil crater lake.

Lake Nicaragua is the biggest lake of Central America and has the only freshwater sharks in the world!

The time zone is the same as US Central time. This is GMT-6. Normally, Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Nicaragua.

Throughout Nicaragua, urban and rural addresses do not use any real numerical order. Instead, the system is ruled by reference points. That means that Nicaraguan addresses take a certain well-known point and continue with the route from that point. These reference points are mostly buildings (churches, government buildings, private buildings, commercial centers, banks, etc.) or monuments, but sometimes these points are ancient trees, hills, bridges, or famous buildings that do not exist anymore!