Over the past few years, Nicaragua has become the ultimate destination for those looking to experience real natural beauty.
Known as the ‘land of lakes and volcanoes’, it has also become known for its beautiful colonial cities, unpretentious organic food, authentic cultural experiences – some as simple as a meal with a local restaurant owner – and thrilling eco-adventures, like sandboarding down an active volcano, or feeding monkeys avocados from a boat. More importantly, visitors get to experience the warmth of Nicaragua’s people.
We connected with Ana Carolina Garcia, Director of Promotion and Market Development for Nicaragua’s Tourism Institute (INTUR), to hear her thoughts on what’s new and upcoming for Nicaragua in 2023 and why it should be on the radar for travel advisors and travellers.
For clients looking for authentic experiences, incredible landscapes and warm hospitality, Nicaragua delivers on all fronts.
Travelweek: Tell us why Nicaragua should be on Canadian’s bucket list.
Garcia: “Nicaragua is a country with a rich and authentic tourism offer that most people aren’t aware of. Located in the heart of the Central American region, Nicaragua is fairly accessible. We are a country with an incomparable human warmth. Our people have unique characteristics that represent us, willing to go above and beyond to make you feel welcomed.
“In addition, Nicaragua offers an impressive natural beauty, active volcanoes, hundreds of islands in the calm waters of a huge lake, rivers, forests, waterfalls, impressive landscapes, pristine Caribbean-like beaches for surfing, diving, relaxing, beautiful colonial cities, exquisite and unpretentious farm to table gastronomy and above all the living culture of each region.
“And not to mention the road infrastructure, which allows you to travel easily and safely from one end of the country to the other – from the north of the country to the Pacific, from the centre to the Caribbean. Nicaragua unquestionably offers you all the infrastructure for tourism. The only thing that you need is to book your ticket and the desire to come. These are just some of the few reasons why Nicaragua should be on your list of countries to visit this 2023. Visit us, you will not regret it!”
Travelweek: What’s new and exciting in Nicaragua in terms of experiences and new properties?
Garcia: “Nicaragua offers the only experience in the world where you can do volcano boarding on the slopes of an active volcano. You spend some 45 minutes hiking up the 728-metre-high active volcano Cerro Negro, and then slide down its steep slopes on a sled made partly of plywood and partly of metal, possibly hitting speeds of around 93 kph.
“The sledders wear special suits and goggles to protect themselves from what’s described as a ‘gravelly, basaltic surface.’ It’s an unforgettable experience that should not be missed when visiting our country.”
“Nicaragua is one of the few destinations in the world that offers primarily beautiful luxury boutique properties with all the necessary amenities for your stay. You will find one all inclusive resort.
“Regarding new properties, you can currently find throughout the country a series of properties and new hotels that will make the experience of your clients unforgettable, among them the 4-star hotel Gran Victoria Hotel, and the 5-star Resort La Santa María, located in the picturesque coastal town of Pacific San Juan del Sur.
“Just 45 minutes from Managua you will find Gran Pacífica Resort, a perfect space to combine golf, great gastronomy and the perfect spot to chill and escape the harsh Canadian winter. And of course we must highlight the 4-star hotel located in the north of our country, L’Ver Hotel.”
Travelweek: Why is Canada an important market for Nicaragua?
Garcia: “Based on our promotion and marketing strategy, North America is our second priority market, due to the geographical proximity. And Canada as a country is one of our key potential markets for Nicaragua.
“According to the statistics registered by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism, in 2021 Canada ranked 7 out of the 10 main countries that send visitors to our land of lakes and volcanoes, highlighting with this the relevance of Canada as a market. Canadians love outdoor activities and Nicaragua is the ideal destination for them.”
Travelweek: What is your message for Canadian travel advisors?
Garcia: “Nicaragua is ready to welcome your clients post-pandemic. Our country is the ideal destination for anyone that loves adventure and outdoor activities, and for travellers wishing to reconnect with nature. Given that Nicaragua is an affordable destination and a non-massive tourism destination, we have the facility to offer unique, original and unexplored areas – ideal for those vacations to the outdoors that travellers seek so much.
“We are the safest country in the Central American region, with the best road infrastructure, further facilitating internal connectivity throughout the country. This allows travellers to discover each region, local cultural and natural diversity that the country offers in less time.
“We have air connections that facilitate the arrival experience at the destination, highlighting direct connections from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Houston. And from Canada, we have connecting flights from Toronto and Montreal via El Salvador, and from Vancouver via Los Angeles.”
Travelweek: Nicaragua launched a new brand campaign this year: Naturally Beautiful. Can you tell us more about it and how the destination is positioning itself?
Garcia: “Nicaragua launched in April 2022 the tourism promotion campaign ‘Nicaragua Naturally Beautiful’, which seeks to showcase the natural beauty of the country. It also highlights that our national territory has a designation of more than 50% in terms of protected area, and the importance of having four biosphere reserves. It also highlights that Nicaragua houses 7% of biodiversity worldwide.
“This campaign also highlights the human warmth of Nicaraguans, our living culture, and our wide range of activities that tourists can experience in open-air spaces. We are known as a non-mass tourism destination, and the campaign highlights that Nicaragua is an authentic, sustainable, original and multicultural country.”
Travelweek: Nicaragua is forging a path in the sustainable tourism industry. Can you expand on that?
Garcia: “In terms of sustainable tourism, our country has spent years making various efforts to develop a responsible tourism activity, forming part of the Top 10 countries worldwide that lead and promote the generation and use of renewable energy.
“Under this premise of sustainability, we have the honour to comment that Nicaragua has the only Geopark at the Central American level. It’s called ‘Geopark Río Coco’. These are unique and unified geographical areas in which sites and landscapes of international geological importance are managed.
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, approved during the 209th Session of the Executive Council the designation of the new Río Coco Geopark to the World Geoparks Network, which has 162 geoparks worldwide.”
For more information about travel to Nicaragua go to www.visitnicaragua.us.