Nicaragua-The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes 2012
NICARAGUA is only a brief two hour flight from Miami and after a quick stop at passport control, it was reassuring to see a sign with our name on it to help lead us through the hoards of people that seem to always be milling around airports in a developing country. Gerald, our guide for the next ten days, efficiently escorted us through the crowds to a waiting car. For the next ten days Gerald and Harold, our driver, helped us learn about and experience Nicaragua. While Central American countries like Costa Rica and Belize have been US tourist destinations for many years, Nicaragua has suffered from poverty and political upheaval since Columbus first landed there in 1502 and the British called it the Mosquito Kingdom in 1625. When people today think about Nicaragua, what is probably recalled is the Sandinista-Contra war and the Iran-Contra affair while Reagan was president.

Nicaragua is a beautiful country sandwiched between Honduras to the north and Costa Rica on the south, stretching from the Caribbean to the Pacific. It still feels unexplored in many ways. While it is the largest Central American country in size, about the same area as New York state, it has less than 6 million people making it the least densely populated area in Central America. The three main cities are Managua, Leon and Granada. The geography is impressive with two huge lakes, active volcanoes everywhere and many wildlife sanctuaries to look for colorful birds. The main road through Nicaragua is part of the Pan American highway. It is in very good shape. The side roads seem to go from bad to worse where it can take over an hour just to travel a few miles. Driving on these roads during the May to early November wet season would be a muddy mess at best. It was not unusual to see horse drawn carriages rather than cars on the roads.