Nicaragua held the 1st International Tourism Show in its capital, Managua. The aim was to promote Nicaragua’s beauty through us, international tour companies from Canada, United States, Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras, including some media partners, by giving us the chance to interact with a range of local exhibitors such as hotels, transport companies, local operators, and community-based projects, anxious to show us the product they had to offer. We had the pleasure of meeting distinguished tourism industry officials, such as the president of the National Tourism Board, the Vice-president of Nicaragua, and the Ambassador to Guatemala. You could see the pride they felt for their country and that they really wanted this event to be a successful one, and it was indeed.
With the potential to be the hot new destination in Central America, Nicaragua is working with Rainforest Alliance to promote themselves as an ecotourism destination, alongside countries like Costa Rica. Unfortunately Nicaragua is still seen by some as a territory of guerillas and political issues, but that face is in fact what they are trying to change, by giving people the opportunity to explore its multiple volcanoes, rain and cloud forests and beautiful beaches on both the Caribbean and the Pacific coasts. Sad to say, but most of the time media plays a big role in how a destination is presented, and that is what they are dealing with now by trying to show that their country has a lot of what its neighbor offers, including safety.
So… what did I think? The beauty of Nicaragua is outstanding! As we were landing at the Augusto Sandino International Airport, the panoramic view of the Momotombo Volcano and the Xolotlan Lake gave us a very good impression of what to expect on the following days. And it wasn’t just the panoramic view that made us feel welcomed instantly; it was also its people, their friendly faces and the service we received upon arrival and throughout the show.
I especially recall a meeting I had with Maria Ismelda Ayala Castillo, a charming woman who was promoting her homemade rosquillas (rosquillas are similar to an Italian biscotti, designed to be accompanied by a hot cup of coffee). I was just so happy to know that these kind of community projects have a space and the opportunity to be at these trade shows, I got a business card from Doña Maria Ismelda, and I couldn’t contain myself from hugging her and having my picture taken with her, it reminded me of my mother.
If you have the chance to visit Nicaragua, you absolutely must visit Omepete Island. With an area of 276 square km, the island is located in Lake Nicaragua along with the Conception and Maderas Volcanoes, featuring also a rich archeological background, tropical beaches and natural reserves and forests.
The island’s population is just 37,000 people, who sustain themselves by fishing, producing high quality agricultural products and by international tourism. Ometepe is full of destinations to discover, such as Altagracia with its traditions and heritage, where they have established a Pre-Columbian museum exposing ceramics, statues, and petro glyphs found on the island. Santo Domingo is a beach paradise: An unpaved road takes you to the most secluded beach, bordered by the two majestic volcanoes, where you can also be adventurous, and try zipping down the canopy cables, windsurfing and even kite surfing!
I have to say that I was impressed by the beauty of this country, its people and service. Next time I will have to explore, in more depth, the northern part of the country. I didn’t get a chance to visit… such as Leon and the Corn Island Have you been there?