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Nicaragua: Trouble in Paradise

Make no mistake, events that have developed the character of Nicaragua and its people have not always been pretty, and have not been without lasting consequence. Even the capital city Managua has not gone unscathed, with a collection of buildings still in the state of disrepair they were left in by the 1972 earthquake that shook the region.

It certainly is not a vast infrastructure with amenities produced by a technologically ad- vanced society that draws adventurers and pleasure seekers by the millions! No, some vacationers have actually described their visit as synonymous with time travel to the past. This, of course, depends on which locations they chose to visit. Yes, there are some back- ward locations that still do not have the benefits of electricity and running water. Fortu- nately these are rare instances.

Truth be told, the current poor conditions in Nicaragua are as much the result of centuries of political strife, social upheaval, and civil war, which have periodically pushed the reset button on the nation’s fragile economy, as they are of acts of God. It seems that every step toward economic progress has historically been accompanied by a consequent retrogres- sive step, linked to either political or natural disasters.

But which country does not own a similar history?

Still, what is the appeal? Ironically, the same conditions that make Nicaragua currently the second poorest country in the hemisphere—vast tracts of untouched, undeveloped and largely inaccessible land—also imbue its atmosphere with an ecstatic sense of awe and adventure, a sentiment possibly felt by the region’s prehistoric ancestors who discovered this remote but diverse area.

Two tectonic plates collide in western Nicaragua and run the length of the country, which has spurred the occasional earthquake, destroying human habitations and highways, struggling industrial complexes, and the drudgery of everyday life.

Hurricanes, most recently category 5 Hurricane Felix in 2007, have pounded her shores, leaving destruction in their wake. International news channels showed frightening images of massive destruction, chilling reminders that we never really know how powerful the forces of nature are.

Major highways and bridges were laid to waste; deadly winds and torrential rains mowed down entire crops of bananas, sugar cane, coffee, rice, and tobacco, some of Nicaragua’s leading export goods. Some might have argued that these were Mother Nature’s attempt to eliminate the scourge of the expanding human habitations that defiled paradise, to restore the environment to its original state. Others might say that her intent was to scold humans for their hubris.

Either way the country’s raw, natural beauty has proven indestructible!

Still, Nicaraguans, and their healthy population of foreign residents, have evinced an amazing tenacity, embracing the dictates of nature and adapting accordingly. They’ve repeatedly picked up the pieces; rebuilt structures on parcels of land that had previously been rebuilt. They’ve dusted off and refurbished damaged machinery and vehicles of production, cleared windswept, flooded farmlands, and cultivated new crops. Resurrecting coastal ports and beach resorts, the doors were soon thrown open again, helping the economy to get back on track despite corrupt leaders.

Okay, so why have I described the tempestuous history of Nicaragua in a nutshell—a rather large nutshell I might add—in a chapter covering the al- lure of its major regions and attractions?

It is because in nature nothing occurs in a vacuum; every event is inextricably intertwined with both antecedent and consequent events: Everything in nature occurs within a context. My intention is neither to tarnish your conception of this paradise, nor to deter you from visiting this exceptional Central American country. My purpose is to recreate the context, to reproduce the rough that has spawned the diamond: Nicaragua! I aim to show you why it is so important that you make plans to visit a place that will change you forever.

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Welcome to a country where a rich multi-cultural history has survived! With a character and indomitable resolve forged by centuries of turmoil, Nicaragua’s intriguing mixed population throws its arms open wide, inviting the world to come and play. So, be prepared to kick off your shoes and stay a while.

No hurries, no worries, these hardworking people have always marched to the beat of their own drum.

Beware — you may not want to leave!

Excerpted and adapted from the ebook “Live and Invest in Nicaragua” by Scott P. Taylor.

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