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San Juan del Sur bay, Rivas department, Nicaragua
San Juan del Sur bay, Rivas department in southwest Nicaragua.
Image: Céline Colin
Nicaragua Flag
Flag of Nicaragua
Location map of Nicaragua. Where in Central America is Nicaragua?
Location map of Nicaragua
Destination Nicaragua, a virtual guide to this country in the center of the Central American isthmus, bordering both the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean) and the North Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Costa Rica and Honduras, and it shares maritime borders with Colombia and El Salvador.

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, it occupies an area of 130,370 km2, compared it is somewhat larger than half the size of the United Kingdom or slightly smaller than the state of New York.

The country has a variety of climates and terrains, its landscape offers extensive coastal plains at the Atlantic, lowlands at the Pacific and interior mountains in the central highlands. Highest point is the peak of Cerro Mogoton, the stated elevation might be incorrect – figures vary between 2,094 m, 2,107 m and 2,438 m above sea level, but anyway, Pico Mogoton the highest mountain in the country. Nicaragua is famous for a lot of lakes and volcanoes. The two largest fresh water lakes in Central America, Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua, are located there.

The country has a population of 6.2 million people (est. in 2017). Capital and largest city is Managua, almost one quarter of the country's population lives in the city. Spoken languages are Spanish (official), and several regional recognized languages like Miskito, Rama, Sumo, Miskito Coastal Creole, Garifuna, and Rama Cay Creole.

Republic of Nicaragua | Republica de Nicaragua

Country Profile

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Settled as a colony of Spain in the 1520s, Nicaragua gained its independence in 1821.
Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990 and again in 1996 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

related countries: Spain, United Kingdom

other Central American countries: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama

Official Name:
Republica de Nicaragua
short form: Nicaragua
int'l long form: Republic of Nicaragua

ISO Country Code: ni, NIC
Actual Time: Wed-Nov-11  09:16
Local Time = UTC -6h

Country Calling Code: +505

Capital City: Managua (pop. 1 million)

Other Cities: Granada, León, Jinotega, Matagalpa, Chinandega, Masaya.

Type: Republic.
Independence: 1821 (from Spain).
Constitution: The 1987 Sandinista-era Constitution was changed in 1995 to provide for a more even distribution of power among the four branches of government and again in 2000 to increase the Supreme Court and the Controller General's Office and to make changes to the electoral laws.

Location: Central America
Area: 130,370 km2 (50,336 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes.

Climate: Tropical in lowlands; cooler in highlands.

Nationality: Nicaraguan(s)
Population: 6.2 million (2017)
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed European and indigenous) 69%, white 17%, black (Jamaican origin) 9%, indigenous 5%.
Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic, with rapidly growing percentage of Evangelical Protestants.
Languages: Spanish (official), English and indigenous languages on Caribbean coast.
Literacy: 75%

Natural resources: Arable land, livestock, fisheries, gold, timber.
Agriculture products: Coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products.

Industries: Food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood.

Exports - commodities: coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel, cotton

Exports - partners: USA 56.5%, Mexico 10.7%, Venezuela 5.4%, El Salvador 4.3% (2015)

Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products

Imports - partners: USA 19.9%, Mexico 14.9%, China 10.6%, Venezuela 7%, Costa Rica 7%, El Salvador 5.7%, Guatemala 5.6%, Netherlands Antilles 5.5% (2015)

Currency: Cordoba Oro (NIO)

Palace of Culture, former National Palace (Palacio Nacional) in Managua, Nicaragua's capital city
Palace of Culture, the former National Palace (Palacio Nacional) in Nicaragua's capital Managua was until 1979 home to the National Congress. Today it is used as a museum, an archive, and it houses the National Library.

Political system
Nicaragua is a presidential representative 'democratic' republic, or more precise, a family run business. President Daniel Ortega is head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. His wife Rosario Murillo is now the Vice-president and 'communications chief'. Ortega, a Nicaraguan guerrilla leader and chairman of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) became first Nicaragua's president in January 1985, then in January 2007 and he managed to find a legal way to stay in power after January 2012, when his second and last government period was expected to end.
Legislative power is vested in both the government and Nicaragua's weak unicameral National Assembly, which is elected by proportional representation for five years.

Official Sites of Nicaragua

Note: External links will open in a new browser window.

Presidencia de la Republica de Nicaragua
The Presidency of Nicaragua (in Spanish).

Asamblea Nacional de Nicaragua
The National Assembly of Nicaragua.

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (offline)
Ministry of External Relations (in Spanish).

Permanent Mission of Nicaragua to the UN
Consulate of Nicaragua
Consulates from Nicaragua around the World.


Map of Nicaragua
Political Map of Nicaragua.
Administrative Map of Nicaragua
Map of Nicaragua showing NIcaragua's administrative divisions.
Google Earth Google Earth Nicaragua
Searchable map and satellite view of Nicaragua.
Google Earth Google Earth Managua
Searchable map and satellite view of Nicaragua's capital city.

Map of Central America and the Caribbean
Reference Map of Central America and the Caribbean. 


Nicaragua's radio and TV are the main sources of news. Reporters Without Borders has noted that President Daniel Ortega’s re-election in November 2016 for a third consecutive term was accompanied by mistreatment of Nicaraguan journalists, especially those with independent or opposition media outlets. Journalism as a whole is stigmatized and journalists are often the targets of harassment campaigns, arbitrary arrests, and death threats.

Bolsa de Noticias
National news (in Spanish).
El Nuevo Diario
100% News Noticias
Noticias de Nicaragua.
La Prensa
Regional and international news (in Spanish).
Trinchera de la Noticia
Regional news.

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Iglesia la Merced church in Granada, Nicaragua
16th century church Iglesia la Merced in Granada, Nicaragua.
Image: Alex Barth

Arts & Culture

Ernesto Cardenal
Ernesto Cardenal is a major poet of the Spanish language and a spokesman for justice and self-determination in Latin America.
Rubén Darío
The Nicaraguan poet who changed the course of Spanish poetry and brought it into the mainstream of twentieth-century.
Museo Archivo Rubén Darío
The Rubén Darío museum (in Spanish).
Casa de los Tres Mundos
The Casa de los Tres Mundos Foundation is a catalyst for cultural exchange between Central America and the rest of the world.

Business & Economy

Nicaragua is primarily an agricultural country with small industries. It is the least developed country in Central America. Coffee is one of the country's principal products. Other top exports of Nicaragua are insulated wire, knit ware, gold, and frozen bovine meat.

Nicaraguan Association of Producers and Product Exporters - APENN
Business organization founded in 1991 to represent and provide services to its partners, exporters, importers and providers of International Trade Services.

Banco Central de Nicaragua
The Central Bank of Nicaragua.

Bolsa de Valores de Nicaragua
Nicaragua's Stock Exchange.
Cathedral of León Nicaragua
Cathedral of León
Otto Beach on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Otto Beach on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
Image: Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Nicaragua - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Nicaragua
Cities: Managua (capital city); Bluefields (Black Creole culture); Carazo (mountains and beaches), Chinandega, Granada, Jinotega, León, Masaya (gateway to Masaya Volcano National Park), Matagalpa (coffee and mountains), Puerto Cabezas (or Bilwi, a Caribbean port town); San Juan del Sur (bay with beaches).

Lakes: Apoyo Lagoon (a volcanic lake and a natural reserve); Lake Managua (Lake Xolotlán, large lake contaminated by sewage from the capital); Lake Nicaragua (the largest lake in Central America has sawfish, tarpon, and sharks); Isla Zapatera (island with a shield volcano); Masaya Volcano (national park with a massive caldera);
Corn Island (coconut islands with coral reefs in the Caribbean), Miskito Cays (archipelago with estuaries, coral reefs, cays and seagrass beds).
The East: Raan (North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region), Raas (South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region).

Find accommodation, hotels, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, biking, hiking, climbing, cruising, diving, tours and much more.

Nicaragua, a country with a heart
Country and tourist information by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR). (in Spanish)

Visit Nicaragua
Nicaragua Tourism Board US.

Nicaragua Online
The gateway to the land of lakes and volcanos.

Alcaldía de Managua
Government of the city of Managua. (in Spanish)

Laguna de Apoyo lake, Masaya and Granada departments
Laguna de Apoyo, a volcanic lake seen from the crater rim. Laguna de Apoyo is one of the 78 protected areas of Nicaragua.
Image: Phayne  


Universidad Centroamericana de Managua
Founded 1960 (in Spanish).
Universidad Nacional Agraria
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua
The Independent National University of Nicaragua-Leon (UNAN-Leon) is the oldest of Nicaragua and the last university founded on Latin America by the Spaniards, City of Leon.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua
Managua Founded 1982 (in Spanish).
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería
Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua
Masaya Volcano. Masaya is a caldera located about 20 km south of Nicaragua's
capital Managua.

Image: Alex Keshavjee

Environment & Nature

Government Agencies
Ministerio del Ambiente y los Recursos Naturales de Nicaragua | MARENA
Official website of the Ministry for Evirnoment and Natural Resouces (in Spanish)

Sistema Nacional de Información Ambiental de Nicaragua - SINIA
Nicaragua's National Environmental Information System (in Spanish)

Nicaragua Network Environmental Committee
The committee aspires to strengthen environmental protection in Nicaragua by working in solidarity with Nicaraguan non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Nature Conservancy
Nature Conservancy is working with Nicaragua's leading environmental organizations to protect the country's rich natural heritage.


The country's meagre national wealth benefited mainly a few elite families of Spanish descent, in particular the Somoza family in the mid-20th century. This dynasty ruled the country with US backing between 1937 and the Sandinista revolution in 1979. Since the 1850's, the U.S. government has intervened in Nicaragua numerous times, creating puppet governments to protect its economic and political interests.

Nicaragua History and Culture
History and culture of Nicaragua.

Historical Background of Nicaragua
Brief overview of Nicaragua's History.

History of Nicaragua
The free encyclopedia Wikipedia about Nicaragua's history.
Jóvenes Por Nicaragua
Site about Nicaragua with sections on policy, economy, and history.
Nicaragua's History
Historical summary and a timeline of the important events in Nicaragua's history.
Political History of Nicaragua
Nicaragua, as a Nation-State (Stanford University).

Native - Indigenous People of Nicaragua

Who Owns the Forest?
Article about conflicts between Nicaragua's indigenous tribes and Mestizo farmers.
La Nación Moskitia en Internet
Site with information about Miskito Nation (in Spanish)
Nicaragua and the Indian Revolution
Essay by Bernard Nietschmann on indigenous uprisings in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
Miskitos and Sandinistas - Nicaragua's Unresolved Ethnic Problems
About the conflict between Nicaragua's central government in Managua and the Miskito Indians on the Caribbean coast.
Inside Nicaragua's bloody conflict over indigenous land
As new settlers occupy indigenous lands in Nicaragua, the violence is forcing the native Miskitos to flee to Honduras.
The history of Native Nicaragua
Various articles about the history of Nicaragua's native indians.

Sources and additional Information on Nicaragua

Amnesty International: Nicaragua

BBC Country Profile: Nicaragua

FAO: Nicaragua

GlobalEDGE: Nicaragua

The Heritage Foundation: Nicaragua

Human Rights Watch: Nicaragua

OEC: Nicaragua

Reporters Without Borders: Nicaragua

Wikipedia: Nicaragua (portal Nicaragua)

The World Factbook -- Nicaragua
 Support UNICEF

Other countries of Middle and Central America:
Belize | Costa Rica | El Salvador | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Panama

Major Cities in Middle and Central America:
Belmopan, Guatemala City, Managua, Mexico City, Panama City, San José, San Salvador, Tegucigalpa

Countries of South America:
Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | French Guiana
Guyana | Paraguay | Peru | Uruguay | Suriname | Venezuela