Key Country Facts
Has the world’s only dual volcano on Ometepe island!
Top exports: coffee, shrimp, lobster, beef, peanuts, tobacco, sugar, gold, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, and clothing.
I traveled to Nicaragua in 1986, during the Contra War.
This was another proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. On one side of the conflict were Nicaragua’s Sandinista government, Soviet puppets or sympathizers. On the other were the rebels, known as the Contras, who the U.S. hoped would remove the Sandinistas from power, supported by the Reagan presidential team. However, Congress was not interested in another proxy war and did not support arming or financing the Contra forces. So the administration concocted a plan which involved Iran, cocaine runners, U.S. military leader Oliver North, and Panamanian president Manuel Noriega where US weapons were sold to Iran and cocaine proceeds were sent to the Contras.
I had a chance to spend 2 nights in Managua, and then spent 3 nights in rural Nicaragua. This was an eye-opening experience for a me, being relatively new to international travel. I stayed two nights with a family in a very basic grass hut, which was maybe 100 square feet. It had no electricity nor did it have running water. I slept in the family’s hammock, while they slept on the floor. The father got up every morning at 4am, and spent the entire day cutting sugar cane in the scorching hot sun. I was struck that none of the children in the village wore shoes. This was my first realization that money did not equate to happiness, because everyone seemed happy and content, despite having “little”.
Tropical Republic of Nicaragua was founded in 1821. The capital is Managua and the main language is Spanish. About 7 million people live here. Over 90% of the population is some sort of Christian denomination, mainly Roman Catholic. Its main exports are coffee, shrimp, lobster, beef, peanuts, tobacco, sugar, gold, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, and clothing. The time zone is 1 hour behind EST. Nicaragua does not use Daylight Saving Time.
A fun fact about Nicaragua is that it has the world’s only dual volcano on Ometepe island, formed by two separate flows of magma by the volcanoes Concepción and Maderas. Also unique is that Nicaragua has over 70 protected lands and waters to preserve natural life, save endangered species, and help keep the environment diverse.