Nicaragua is the largest but least populated country in Central America. It is bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country, the Caribbean to the east. The country is mountainous in the North, volcanic in the West and swampy in the East.
Nicaragua, which derives its name from the chief of the area's leading Indian tribe at the time of the Spanish Conquest, was first settled by the Spanish in 1522. The country won independence in 1838. Since then, Nicaragua has experienced periods of political unrest and military intervention. But since 1990, the political situation has been stable. And although still being one of the poorest countries, Nicaragua is said to be the safest country in Central America, finally attracting more and more tourist.
Today, the country is famous for its landscapes, flora, fauna, beaches, lakes, islands, volcanoes and colonial cities, with Granada being the preferred spot for tourists (INTUR). But although the number of tourists is rising steadily – in 2010, the country welcomed a total of one million tourists –, Nicaragua is still the least visited country in the region, which has a lot of advantages:
The low number of tourists helps Nicaragua keep low prices, which makes a visit rather affordable. And big parts of the country are still untouched which gives the tourist a feeling of naturalness not easy to find anywhere else in Central America.