Nicaragua offers a wide variety of touristic activities that have already attracted approximately 340 thousand visitors and have generated US$99 million in revenues during the first four months of 2010. Being the largest country in Central America, Nicaragua offers diverse activities for tourists, whether it be eco-friendly adventures, planning a destination wedding, taking a luxury cruise or simply relaxing at a Spa & Golf Resort.
Eco-friendly yet adrenaline-raising activities are available in Nicaragua, such as sand skiing on the Cerro Negro Volcano, in the department of Leon, surfing on the beaches of San Juan del Sur, recently declared one of the top 10 beach destinations in Central America, and paragliding, a recently introduced sport at Apoyo Lagoon, a thermally vented crater lake.
Hiking is another popular eco-friendly sport offered in Nicaragua that allows visitors to enjoy its forests, which cover 41 percent of its territory, or visit the Bosawas Reserve or Ometepe Island, which are two of the three Biosphere Reserves in Nicaragua, declared by the UNESCO.
Nicaragua has also grown in popularity when considering a location for destination weddings. More people have decided to make their weddings memorable and original by choosing among the many touristic destinations the country offers such as Granada, one of the oldest cities in America with great cultural richness or Corn Island located in the Caribbean. Amongst the many advantages offered, one can find that there are no long flights or jetlags and airfare prices are extremely competitive.
Cruise line companies have also taken a notice in Nicaragua due to the fact that Nicaragua offers 720 km of coastline in the Pacific and Atlantic. The season for cruise ships is usually between October and April, when tourists may enter the country for a day to tour colonial cities such as Granada, Leon as well as Masaya’s craft market. The Nicaraguan Tourism Board has will soon invest in new infrastructure projects to attract more cruise ships, including the construction of a pier in San Juan del Sur. The San Juan del Sur project will also include restaurants, souvenir stores and other attractions.
The Spa industry has also diversified as foreign investors have decided to develop new projects, creating luxury resorts featuring condominiums, golf & oceanfront villas, casitas, home sites, equestrian centers, town centers and oceanfront destination clubs. Marina Puesta del Sol, which is located in the Aserradores Estuary on the North Pacific coast of Nicaragua, has access to mangrove lined canals and preserves and protects the unique natural habitat in its area. Gran Pacifica Beach & Golf Resort, on the other hand, is the first New Urbanism community-resort in Central America and one of the largest tourism projects in Nicaragua.
According to projections from the Nicaraguan Tourism Board (INTUR, for its acronym in Spanish) Nicaragua is expected to receive more than one million tourists during 2010, mainly from the Central American region and the United States. Additionally, tourism receipts are expected to rise by more than 16 percent. With such a variety of touristic attractions, laws that promote tourist investments, such as the Tourism Incentives Law (Law 306) and its many natural and unique wonders, the projections are soon to become a reality.