Spanish is regarded as the official language in Nicaragua, but two forms of English are spoken as well. The first form is Creole English, and is spoken by about 30,000 people. This most commonly resides along the Caribbean coast due to African and English heritage in that region. Standard English is spoken by about 20,330 people, most of which are foreigners from English-speaking countries such as the United States. There are also several indigenous languages called Miskito, Sumo, and Rama. Miskito is mainly spoken in the Caribbean coastal region and Sumo is most concentrated on the eastern coast. Rama was a severely endangered language in 1862, but has recently been saved and reinvented into Rama Cay Creole, most commonly spoken in the Rama Cay Island.
Common Phrases in Nicaragua:
- Chele A white or pale-skinned person, derived from leche, meaning milk
- Dale pues Translates to "give it, then," but is used to mean, "OK"
- Maje Referred to a young person, but can be seen as offensive when referring to an adult as maje
- Deacachimba Used to describe someone or something that is really cool
- Cuecho "gossip"
- El cumiche The youngest of the family
- Andar en la ruta 11 Translates as "walking 11th street," but is used to mean "walk", because your silhouette looks like a number 11
- Solo mate sos Used to show disbelief
- ¡Chocho! "Wow!"
- Tuani Used to describe something cool
Islets of Granada
In Nicaragua, there are 365 small islands that form an archipelago and are more than 25,000 years old. They were initially formed by the Mombacho volcano. Some of these islands are deserted, yet some are inhabited and have paths and tours where you can explore the nature and beauty of the islands.
Located about 12 miles south of Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, the Masaya Volcano is an active volcano that allows visitors to drive right up to the edge. When you park at the top, the car must be facing downhill in case an emergency evacuation is necessary. The lake of lava is visible from the parking point, and there is a museum on-site with more information on the volcano.
Located about 43 miles off of Nicaragua’s east coast, the Corn Islands are a popular spot for a relaxing day at the beach. The two Islands here are called Big Corn and Little Corn and are a 40-minute boat ride away from each other. Despite its name, Big Corn is actually a small island and can be biked around in about an hour. Little Corn is smaller and can be walked around in under an hour. There are beautiful reefs near both islands that can be explored and are a major reason that many tourists visit the Corn Islands.
This attraction is designed for those seeking an adrenaline rush and is located on one of the youngest volcanoes in the world, Cerro Negro. It last erupted in 1999 and is still active, yet tourists travel here to surf the volcano. Volcano surfing involves riding down the ash on the volcano with a wooden surfboard. Speeds of up to 60 miles per hour can be reached, so protective goggles and a boiler suit are to be worn. In order to surf down, a 40 minute hike must be made to reach the top.
- Nicaragua’s location is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and is the most seismic area on the planet. Managua, the country’s capital, does not have many buildings due to this. There are 58 total volcanoes, six of which are active.
- The streets of Nicaragua have no name and have not been a problem for its inhabitants due to their effective system of reference points including trees, traffic lights, monuments, etc.
- Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake that contains oceanic life. Sharks, swordfish, tarpon, and many other sea creatures swim the waters of this lake. This is because the San Juan River drains into the Caribbean Sea and the Tipitapa River connects to the lake. This allows these animals to swim against the current and access the freshwater lakes.
- The food staple of the country is corn, and its most popular form is called natales, which are corn dumplings stuffed with vegetables and wrapped in banana leaves. Another common dish is called gallo pinto, which combines white rice and small red beans.
- The most popular sport in Nicaragua is baseball with boxing coming in at a close second. There are 15 world boxing champions and major baseball stars who have come out of Nicaragua.
- Nicaragua is home to Lake Cocibolca, which is the largest lake in Central America and the third largest in Latin America at 5,132 square miles. Lake Xolotlán, the second largest in Central America and Río Coco, the longest river that runs within Central America, are also major aquatic resources in the region.
- Nicaragua is Central America’s largest country with a total area of 81,011 square miles.
- America’s first elected female head of state, Violeta Chamorro, is from Nicaragua. She served as the president of the country from April 25th, 1990, to January 10th, 1997. She brought peace to the country after many deadly internal conflicts.
- Nicaragua has a very diverse population of wildlife and has declared 70 areas as protected regions in order to protect these species. Some of the protected animals include different species of monkeys, boa constrictors, jaguars, sloths, green turtles, and sea turtles.
- Almost all of the tiny islands found off the coast of Granada in Nicaragua are for sale and can be bought for millions of dollars.
- Yellow Fever
- Infectious Bacterial Diseases (Influenza)