The 365 islets were formed when the Mombacho volcano blew most of its cone into the lake over 20,000 years ago, thereby creating the archipelago. Its proximity to Granada, only 20 minutes by boat gave them the name of Granada Islets. Most of them are covered with unusual vegetation, and are rich with bird life.
Founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in Central America. The city keeps its old colonial architecture as treasures. It is located 27 miles (45 km) from Managua on the north shore of Lake Nicaragua. The main highway, Managua-Granada, is a scenic route as are the majority of Nicaraguan roads. Once in this colonial city, you have so many different attractions that overnight at Granada is a must.
This is one of the most interesting areas of the country since some of the turning points in history occurred in this city or its surroundings. The first Indian tribes coming from the north established their habitat in the isthmus of Rivas. The United States history also has an important page here. Thousands of Americans crossed from New York to the West Coast via San Juan del Norte, the San Juan River, Lake Nicaragua and San Juan del Sur.
León was the capital city of Nicaragua for over 200 years until replaced by Managua in 1851. It is regarded as the "intellectual capital" with a university, several religious colleges and the Metropolitan Cathedral, considered the largest cathedral in Central America. Its architecture is representative of religious art from the mid-1700's to the present. The country's most prestigious political, religious and intellectual figures are buried here.
Matagalpa is a cloud forest located 87 miles (145 km) from Managua, near the city of Matagalpa (in Nahuatl), at more than 4,000 feet (1,455 mt) above sea level. Originally, it was a coffee farm called Hammonia by its German settlers, but the farm evolved into a protected forest. Many birds live in these woods, including the Quetzal and the more modest Trogons Elegance.
Corn Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea, 52 miles from the port city of Bluefields. Both the Little and the Big Corn Islands have almost 16,400 feet of white sand, totally deserted beaches, and crystal turquoise waters, an ideal destination for swimming, snorkeling or diving. In addition, and just 17.5 miles from the Corn Islands are situated the Pearl Keys, an unspoiled paradise not to be missed!
El Gigante Beach has proven to be the epi-center of world class surfing in Nicaragua, all the while keeping it's fishing village charm. A 'Pueblo' of about 400 locals in the greater Gigante area, it's small town charm will have you grabbing for a camera, as this is as authentic of a third world village as it gets. Gigante boasts a gorgeous coastline, friendly and helpful locals, beach side fish shack restaurants, two surf camps, a handful of vacation rentals, and your gateway to the famous Nicaraguan surf.
Ometepe is an island located on the Lake Nicaragua, formed by two volcanoes rising from the lake. Its name derives from the Aztec words Ome = two and Tepelth = hills, meaning two mounts. The volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island, giving it the form of an hourglass. With an economy based on tourism and agriculture, Ometepe's complex history is reflected in the numerous monuments and ceramics found in this area.
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