Officially the Republic of Nicaragua, Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American isthmus. It was a multi-ethnic population of 6 million that includes indigenous peoples, Europeans, Africans, Asians. The main language is Spanish, but native tribes on the eastern coast speak their own languages. Their breath-taking beaches, landscapes, and volcanoes, the significant amount of biodiversity, and its culture makes Nicaragua a very popular tourist attraction.

Top 10 Things to Do in Nicaragua
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Courtesy of BBC News

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  • Nicaragua has a presidential representative democratic republic. They know what it's like to have an authoritarian family dictatorship (1936-1979) thanks to the Somoza family, so the country is settled for a democracy.
  • The President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government
  • Daniel Ortega (since 2006)
  • Multi-party system
  • Executive power is exercised by the government
  • Between 2007 and 2009, Nicaragua's major political parties discussed the possibility of going from a presidential system to a parliamentary system.
  • Reason: To find a legal way for President Ortega to stay in power after January 2012. This is a clear threat to Nicaraguan democracy.

  • Ortega was re-elected president with a vote on November 6 and confirmation on November 16, 2011.
  • In January 2014 the National Assembly, dominated by the FSLN, approved constitutional amendments that abolished term limits for the presidency and allowed a president to run for an unlimited number of five-year terms.
  • National Assembly just approved changes to the constitution allowing President Daniel Ortega to run for a third successive term in 2016.

The Somoza family went beyond their presidencies, as they were the power behind the other presidents of the time through their control of the National Guard up until 1979.

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Nicaragua's History & Culture - Careli Tours Nicaragua
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  • Strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by European culture but also including Amerindian sounds and flavors.
  • Most celebrated event is Nicaragua’s independence. The celebration lasts the entire month of September and is filled with music, dancing and food.
  • There are plentiful amounts of unique, local dishes from all different regions of the country.
  • Citizens of Nicaragua are known for their high value of family. As a result of the Roman Catholic influence, families are frequently large.
  • Nicaragua is rich in musical and religious traditions, many of which derive from the strong Spanish influence beginning in the sixteenth century.
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  • Lives of Nicaraguan women are shaped by traditional Hispanic values regarding appropriate sex roles and high fertility, the prevalence of female-headed households, and an increasing rate of participation in the labor force.
  • Machista culture is destroying men, women, and families.
  • 40% of household in Nicaragua are now sustained by women alone.
  • Talk to any working woman in Nicaragua about their families and you will soon hear stories of abandonment, betrayal and loss in their personal lives, or in the lives of those close to them.
  • Father is absent in 34% of urban homes, 60% in Managua (the countries one large city) according to a report by the country’s office of Family Protection and Counselling.
  • According to the Family and Fertility Bulletin, 38.28% of women in Nicaragua become sexually active between 14 and 16 years of age, and 72.72% between 17 and 19.
  • Basically, 25% of women under 20 have children, one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world.

“ Nicaragua, when a man divorces his wife, he also divorces his children.” - Maria Jose Moran

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Nicaragua is also in the middle of the drug smuggling route between South America and the United States. While marijuana use is moderate in Nicaragua, it's illegal, and getting caught with even a small amount can result in heavy fines and jail sentences – of up to 30 years.


In 1979, Nicaragua abolished the death penalty for all crimes. It was one of the first countries to do so.


Some individuals suffered reprisals for expressing public opinions on matters of special importance to the ruling party in 2014. Salvador Montenegro claimed he lost his position as director of the Aquatic Resources Investigation Center because he expressed concerns that the construction of an interoceanic canal would affect Lake Nicaragua.

Independent media is active and expresses a variety of views. The government, however, sought to restrict media freedom through harassment, censorship, and use of national security justifications. Private individuals sympathetic to the government also harassed the media for criticising the government.

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Nicaragua is principally a source and transit country for women and children subjected to human trafficking. Specifically, they are forced into prostitution and forced labor. Victims are recruited in rural areas for work in urban centers, particularly Managua, and subsequently coerced into prostitution. The Government of Nicaragua does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. However, the government has shown little overall evidence of progress in combating human trafficking, particularly in terms of providing adequate assistance and protection to victims, confronting trafficking-related complicity by government officials, and increasing public awareness about this conflict.
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Although the law prohibits such practices, there are reports that police frequently abuse suspects during arrest, using excessive force, and engaging in degrading treatment. In the first nine months of 2014, the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center (CENIDH) received 260 complaints against the NNP for excessive force, arbitrary detention, and cruel or degrading treatment, including in prisons.


Before the general elections on November 5, 2006, the National Assembly passed a bill further restricting abortion in Nicaragua. As a result, Nicaragua is one of five countries in the world where abortion is illegal with no exceptions.

  • It restricts abortion even in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancy, and this all violates international human rights standards and poses a grave risk to women. The president, Daniel Ortega, whole heartedly agreed with this.

“She was bleeding … That’s why I took her to the emergency room … but the doctors said that she didn’t have anything. … Then she felt worse [with fever and hemorrhaging] and on Tuesday they admitted her. They put her on an IV and her blood pressure was low. … She said: ‘Mami, they are not treating me.’ … They didn’t treat her at all, nothing. … When her husband came to bring her food, he heard screams. … They took her to [another hospital in Managua], but it was too late. She died of cardiac arrest. … She was all purple, unrecognizable. It was like it wasn’t my daughter.” -- Angela Morales [real name withheld] mother of a 22-year-old woman who died from pregnancy-related hemorrhaging at public hospital in Managua in November 2006, only days after the blanket ban on abortion was implemented.

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