20 Interesting and Fun Facts About Nicaragua [Explained]

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Nicaragua is one of the most naturally blessed countries in the world. This Central American country is well known for its biodiversity, rich culture, and eventful history. There are several interesting facts about Nicaragua that make it an attractive destination.

Common Facts About Nicaragua

Nicaragua, officially “The Republic of Nicaragua,” is a country between the Caribbean sea and the Pacific ocean. It is the largest country in Central America and houses an approximate population of 6.3 million people.

One unique fact about Nicaragua to know is that it has both Spanish and British heritage. The country is famous for its tropical climate and some active volcanoes. Nicaragua is also known for its lakes and some jaw-dropping beaches.

Historical Facts On Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s Colonization And Duo Heritage

This is the only country in Latin America colonized by the Spanish and British.

After Gil Gonzalez Davila arrived in the region of what is now known as Nicaragua, he conquered the area in 1522. In fact, he was said to be the first European to set foot in Nicaragua.

The British colonized Nicaragua in 1633, and they were in control for over 200 years until 1860. As such, Nicaragua has Spanish and English as official languages.


Nicaragua’s Independence

Nicaragua is one of the few countries that benefited from the Successful Mexican Revolution from Spain in 1821. Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala are the other countries to benefit from the revolution.

Nicaragua did not directly fight for its independence, but it gained independence due to the Mexican revolution. An important fact about Nicaragua is that they celebrate independence on the 15th of September, a national holiday.


Leon Viejo Ruins

Nicaragua is home to the Leon Viejo ruins, one of the oldest settlements on the continent.

The city was founded by the first Spanish settlers and is said to be at least 1500 years old. What’s interesting is that it still stands today and you can visit them.

American President In Nicaragua

Here is a fun fact about Nicaragua that you didn’t know. In 1856, Nicaragua had an American president.

William Walker, an American from Tennessee, took control of the country and proclaimed himself president. He intended to make the country a slave state for the U.S.

His reign was short-lived. The following year 1857, with the help of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Nicaraguan people kicked him out.

Picking The Capital

Managua is the current capital city of Nicaragua, but it was not always the case. Leon used to be the Capital until 1858 when Managua took over.

Granada and Leon had continuous tussles about which of the two cities should be the nation’s Capital. Since they both couldn’t agree, a neutral city “Managua” was chosen as the Capital instead. 

Infamous Disasters In Nicaragua

Nicaragua has experienced its bit of tragedy, but these two are infamous.

On the 24th of December 1972, an earthquake rocked Nicaragua. It occurred a few miles outside the capital city of Managua. This earthquake claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people.

Also, in 1998 category Five Hurricane Mitch hit Nicaragua. This incident also claimed the lives of many, as at least 3,000 people lost their lives. More than a million people were also displaced and homeless.

Useful Facts About Nicaragua For Tourists

Night Sky In Nicaragua

Who doesn’t love a beautiful star? Star gazing is something tourists cannot get enough of in Nicaragua. One fact about Nicaragua is that it has one of the best night skies in the world.

There are 88 known constellations in existence. Amazingly, you can see 86 of this constellation in Nicaragua.


A Biodiverse Country

This probably becomes an obvious fact about Nicaragua once you visit. However, Nicaragua houses about 7% of the world’s biodiversity.

Some species in Nicaragua include vertebrates, birds, arthropods, fish, fungi, invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians.

Interestingly, Nicaragua has more than 65 ecosystems and plant formations. This tally represents a whopping 60% of central America’s biodiversity.


Lake Nicaragua

There are many beautiful lakes in Nicaragua, but this one stands out. One piece of information about Nicaragua you didn’t know is that it houses the only freshwater sharks in the world, “the Bull Sharks.”

These sharks used to swim from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rip San Juan. Once they get to the freshwater, they embrace their new environment and adapt to living in the freshwater.

These sharks have been rare, as none have been spotted in a couple of years.


Active Volcanoes

There are more than 39 volcanoes on Nicaragua’s pacific coast, and as high as 19 of them are considered active.

An exciting Nicaragua fact is that it is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world – “Masaya Volcano .” The volcano sits less than 25km from the capital city of Managua. It is one of the popular attractions and famous landmarks in Nicaragua.

Surfing City

This is an interesting fact about Nicaragua for surfers. There’s no better place in Central America to surf on the Pacific Coast than in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua houses at least 10 amazing beaches where you can surf and have fun. Popoyo and Sun Juan are two of the most famous surfing spots.

There has been an increase in the number of surfers visiting, which has impacted the prices of surfing camps. Before you go surfing, ensure you have enough money to surf.

Cultural Facts About Nicaragua


Baseball, The National Sport

Most Latin American countries are known lovers of soccer, but this is quite different in Nicaragua.

Playing and watching baseball is part of the culture, just like soccer is in other Latin American countries. But baseball is the national sport in Nicaragua.

The U.S. has significant influence over some of the Caribbean region, so baseball is a famous and loved sport in the region.

Nicaragua has many professional baseball leagues, and some of their players are way better than some Americans who introduced the game to the country.

Poorest Country In Central America

There are many poor countries in the world, and Nicaragua is considered one of them. This is one of the more unfortunate facts about Nicaragua, but the country ranks as the poorest in mainland Central America. (Second after Haiti, considering the region)

A study shows more than 60% of the country’s population lives on $2 per day.


Gallo Pinto The National Dish

That said, here’s one fact about Nicaragua’s culture and food. Beans and rice are staples in their cuisine.

Although corn is another popular food in Nicaragua, it can be processed and made into different dishes and used to make different local drinks. Regardless though, Gallo Pinto meaning”spotted rooster,” is the National Dish.

Gallo Pinto in Nicaragua typically has no meat; instead, it is rice mixed with red beans. And it’s often eaten as breakfast, although some have it for lunch and dinner.

Although Nicaraguans claim it is their national dish, different alternations to this dish exist. Many Caribbean and South American countries also claim Gallo Pinto as their national dish.

Celebrations In Nicaragua

Although the country’s official independence day is on the 15th of September, independence is widely celebrated throughout the month.

In August, they celebrate the Festival of Santa Domingo (a festival honoring the patron saints of Managua). The people also celebrate Algeria por la vide in March, meaning “Happiness for Life.”

A Multicultural Country

Nicaragua is a multicultural country, although a higher percentage (69%) of the population are mestizos (mixed white and indigenous); 17% are white, 9% are black, and 5% are indigenous.

Beyond Spanish and English, Miskito, Rama, Sumo, and Garifuna are some officially recognized regional languages.

Their religion is also a little diverse, although Christianity is dominant with 84.4%, 14.2% have no religion, and 0.9% have other religions.

Other Interesting Facts About Nicaragua


Protected Regions

This is an exciting fact about Nicaragua for nature lovers. The country has the highest amount of forests in Central America.

In addition, the country has as many as 70 areas declared as protected regions, both on water and land.

These regions are protected so that their endangered species can be preserved. Some of the endangered species include sea turtles, sloths, and different types of monkeys.


Renewable Energy

Over 50% of the power supply in Nicaragua comes from renewable resources.

Although touted as the poorest Country in Central America, it stands tall in this regard compared to other countries in the region.

This is certainly one of the proud facts of Nicaragua. 50% is pretty remarkable. In comparison, the U.S. only produces 13% of the country’s energy from renewable resources.

No Street Names In Nicaragua

The Capital city of Nicaragua, Managua, was hit by an earthquake in 1972. Since then, the city has never remained the same.

Before the earthquake, they had a good grid system of streets, but the story is different now. Most streets are often called depending on the landmark beside them.

An important thing to know when visiting is to always stay aware of the surroundings. Streets can be described as four blocks south of the house painted green.

On your visit, don’t be shocked to see your hotel address read two blocks west of the store in front of the cathedral. It can seem like a funny fact about Nicaragua when you first read it.


No Need For a Tourist Visa

You only get your Visa when you arrive in Nicaragua, as they issue visas on arrival. Citizens of many countries only need a tourist card of $10 upon arrival to gain assess to the country.

If you arrive safely in Nicaragua, you have a license to travel within a few countries. You can travel through Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, which created a free movement union with Nicaragua.

Of course, make sure you double-check with the relevant authorities for your visa requirements as it varies depending on your passport and nationality. 

Lowest Crime Rate In Central America

Here’s a perhaps surprising fact about Nicaragua. It is one of the poorest countries in Central America but has the lowest crime rate in the region.

Some countries in the Americas are well known for their drug trafficking. Nicaragua is not as involved in this as much as their neighbors.

Nicaragua is considered one of the safest countries to travel to in Central America. The country’s economy centers around agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and mining.

Discovering More Fun Facts About Nicaragua

Nicaragua is an amazing country with a diverse culture and incredible nature. These are just some of the many interesting facts about Nicaragua to discover. Despite all the challenges the country faces, Nicaragua also stands out for the right regions.

From its protected regions full of endangered species to its renewable energy sources, there’s something here that will interest any traveler. If you want to discover more fascinating Nicaragua facts, there is nothing better than visiting yourself!



Book Your Flight

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Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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