Sustainable Travel in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Nicaraguan jungles encompass about 2.4 million acres, comprising the second largest-sized rainforest of the Americas. Some 78 protected areas currently in Nicaragua cover about 17% of its landmass. These include wildlife refuges and nature reserves that shelter a wide range of ecosystems. More than 1,400 animal species have been noted in Nicaragua so far, while some 12,000 species of plants have been classified to date, with an estimated 5,000 species waiting to be classified. As part of the Mesoamerican Biodiversity Hotspot, Central America contains seven percent of the world’s biodiversity. In terms of archaeology, new discoveries are emerging to suggest that complex societies were developing in Mesoamerica earlier than researchers had previously thought. At the end of the 15th century, western Nicaragua was inhabited by several indigenous peoples related by culture to the Mesoamerican civilizations of the Aztec and Maya, and by language to the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. Nicaragua is waiting with biological diversity, a warm tropical climate, active volcanoes, colonial cities and welcoming people.

What are they doing right?

Once considered a tourism backwater, Nicaragua is emerging as a regional leader in sustainable tourism. The first-ever Meeting of Regional Agencies of Sustainable Tourism was hosted by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Tourism and Nicaragua also served as chair for the ACS Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism. Simultaneously, small farming communities across Nicaragua have begun rural sustainable tourism programs, while along Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast, larger resorts such as Mukul are demonstrating that luxury travel, environmentally-friendly practices, and support for local socio-economic growth can go hand in hand.

The Finch Ranking

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Destination stewardship planning is underway at the national level with multiple stakeholders, including government, NGOs, private sector and communities, to increase understanding and awareness of sustainable tourism best practices.

Along the two dramatic ocean coastlines - the Caribbean and the Pacific - of Nicaragua, small towns have long catered to passionate surfers, local fishermen, and those intrepid travelers seeking quiet beaches to watch the sun and enjoy the peace and solitude. But inland, the vibrant colonial city of Granada and dramatic Lake Nicaragua and its small isletas are teeming with rich cultural traditions honed over centuries. Prolific birds and other wildlife, towering volcanoes, and a growing effort to support community based tourism all make Nicaragua an exciting and diverse destination, leading some travelers to call it, "the new Costa Rica." Learn more about the values.

Why the Finch Ranking?