The exchange rate is favorable and with our Nicaraguan Cordobas obtained from ATM’s found in major cities, the hotels and food were not expensive. While Nicaragua is listed as one of the poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti, and most live on less than $3,000 per year, people are not living in shacks, most seem to have cell phones and even satellite tv antennas were present in rural village rooftops. Basic education and health care is available and free. As we traveled throughout the country we found few other tourists and the people were very friendly towards us and proud of their country. The Sandinista-Contra war is “ancient” history and they understand that the road to prosperity, in part, depends on tourism. Investments from China, Venezuela and other places are starting to slowly transform the country with glitzy beach resorts beginning to rise along the Pacific coast. These will encourage cruise ships to make stops in Nicaragua. It will not be long before the tourist experience changes.

The national symbols of Nicaragua are: the mot mot bird, volcanoes, triangle for equality, rainbow for peace, the phrygian cap symbolizes FREEDOM and the Frangipani flower.