During the summer, I discovered a lot about my father’s homeland of Nicaragua. As a teen, my father and his family barely escaped the Sandinista Rebels, sadly leaving everything familiar behind, including friends and family. Hoping someday to return to his heritage he persuaded us to vacation there. Unsure of Nicaragua’s turbulent political history, along with the many natural disasters that made the country so newsworthy we were hesitant. After much research we realized that Nicaragua has the least crime per capita in all of the Americas. But was it worth a visit?
The answer is YES, absolutely! Today Nicaragua proudly reflects hope to other developing nations that democracy is key. I now can see how Nicaragua is a nation of rebuilding. This is where people and cultures constantly re-invent and re-imagine themselves to overcome the hardships and disasters that shape the country. Nicaragua is called “the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes” for it’s stunning geography, but the people and the food are what I love most. Nicaragua’s food is the best in the region and its people are the warmest and friendliest around. From the moment we arrived at the Intercontinental Real Metro Centro in Managua (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/Managua) we were addressed by name and welcomed with open arms and the smell of the traditional garlic-marinated center-cut tenderloin (Churrasco) and the Gallo Pinto (a traditional mixture of red beans and white rice) from the restaurant next door, Charrasco’s. Our concierge, Tady Pena, found us the most incredible tour guide and driver with a vehicle, Denis Carballo, a must.
DAY 2: Masaya Volcano, is located in Nicaragua’s first and largest National Park. Climb hundreds of stairs to see the “Boca del infierno” and peek over the edge at the Masaya Volcano, and look into the impressive crater, which is continuously emitting smoke and sulfur gases. At Masaya City Market, hundreds of vendors sell the most intricate of handmade woods, vibrant colored textiles and endless leather goods. Denis bargained for us on every purchase we made. Boat ride: Lake Nicaragua in the cove “Puerto Aseses”. The Intercontinental Hotel Suite was spacious on the Club Level, happy hour included substantial appetizers and free drinks lunch and dinner time.
DAY 3: Barcelo Montelimar Beach Resort (http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels/en-GB/Hotels/Nicaragua/PlayaMontelimar/MontelimarBeach/Home.htm), an all-inclusive resort surrounded by ocean view bungalows, endless hammocks and black sand beaches.
DAY 4: Momotombo Canopy Ride: the most memorable, a very safe, professionally guided climbing adventure. Catalina Craft Market: exquisite handmade pottery and crafts. The most stunning hillside views: The Pelican Eye Resort at San Juan Del Sur Bay. Beyond paradise! Whether selling their wares barefooted on the street or packed in a transport bus, the Nicaraguan people were always warm and friendly.
After visiting Nicaragua, I can now see a clearer reflection of where my father came from. I know that the teenage years can be a difficult and stressful time in our life without be forced from the only home you’ve known and thrust into another language. I am very proud of my father for he has struggled and made a better life for himself and us. “Familia” is the one word that best describes my dad and after seeing first hand how some family members survive their daily challenges for food and electricity, the attached pictures pale in comparison to what we actually experienced. Not only was it beyond gorgeous but sadly humbling, as I truly am grateful for what I have and not for what I don’t have.
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