Off the usual path of ordinary yoga retreat destinations Nicaragua is fresh and exciting and you can still get to Nicaragua before everyone else does. And when you do you can choose to stay in nature in Ostional and to travel around to see Ometepe Island, Granada, Volcano Mombacho and some of the other highlights.
Nicaragua is a tropical country with an exotic Latin culture, excellent food and friendly people. The nature is extraordinary with almost a fifth of Nicaragua’s landmass being natural reserves or parks and this is of course one of the reasons we choose Nicaragua for our retreat center.
Nicaragua is located in the middle of Central America and it is the largest country in the region. In Nicaragua you will find mountains, active and resting volcanoes, rivers and forests. the country is surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, Honduras in the north and Costa Rica in the south.
Nicaragua is classified as one of the safest countries in Latin America. The reported crime rates is low compared to neighbouring countries.
In 1502, Nicaragua was inhabited by over a million indigenous Indians when Christopher Columbus stopped briefly along its Caribbean coastline. Twenty years later the Spanish had established permanent settlements here in their on-going colonization efforts across the Americas. Over time, most of its original people were decimated. The Spanish colony of Nicaragua was ruled from the Spanish empire’s regional capital of Guatemala, with one exception – as the British influenced (or controlled) much of its Caribbean coastline, an area inhabited by Miskito (Mosquito) Indians.
Independence of Spain 1821
After the overthrow of the Spanish King by Napoleon, Nicaragua and others declared their independence from Spain in 1821. Then, Nicaragua, as well as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras formed the United Provinces of Central America, but that federation quickly dissolved, and Nicaragua became an independent republic in 1838. As factions fought for control of this new country, the U.S. inserted its considerable stabilizing power, and in fact, invaded Nicaragua on many occasions.
In the early 20th century, the U.S. Marines left, and Nicaragua quickly fell under the repressive four-decade regime of the Somoza family. Strong resistance to that brutal regime began in the late 1970s, organized by the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The Sandinistas eventually took control of the country, instigated land reforms, as well as important health and literacy changes. The U.S. remained unhappy about the removal by the Somoza family and the Reagan administration supported a heavily armed counterrevolutionary movement against the Sandinistas. They were called the “Contras” and they terrorized the countryside and inflicted great damage to the already weak economy. The Contras were secretly funded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with revenues from the sale of weapons to Iran (Iran-Contra Scandal). The civil war ended in 1990, but Nicaragua, all but destroyed by decades of fighting, would soon be dealt another tragic blow.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch arrived and became the worst natural disaster in Nicaragua’s history; killing over 10,000 people, more than 40,000 homes damaged or destroyed, and most bridges and roads simply washed away. In 2004, most of Nicaragua’s international debt was forgiven by the World Bank, and though the country still struggles to survive, there is much optimism in this beautiful, yet fragile land. (www.worldatalas.com)