Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nicaragua: The Country

I think that Nicaragua could easily be described as a country of extremes. I saw some of the most beautiful sights of my life while I was there, but I also witnessed some of the toughest living conditions I have ever seen. 
Nicaragua as a country is absolutely beautiful...

Nicaragua is between Honduras (North) and Costa Rica (South). It is touched by the Caribbean Ocean (East) and the Pacific Ocean (West). These beautiful pictures of the ocean are in Leon and of the Pacific. 

I literally turned slightly from the last beautiful picture, and this was my view. Devastation from a hurricane and no ability to clean it all up.  

Cows on the beach...

Black, sparkly sand!
Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. The unemployment rate is unbelievably high...I was told close to 70%. Most people who are employed are not full time. The country as a whole does not seem to have much of an idea of sanitation and preservation of the environment. The majority of the areas we saw were extremely rough. Nicaragua is considered a safe country with their highest crime rates including theft.   

I was amazed by how different areas looked that were only a few minutes apart. We would go from places that looked like the jungle, to a cow pasture (that could pass in NWA!), to beaches, to volcanoes, and so on. It was craziness. I saw trees that could grow in my backyard right next to coconut trees...it was wild. 
There are several active volcanoes in Nicaragua. 

There are bike taxis all over the place and large markets where people do the majority of their shopping. 
It is fairly rare to drive a car in Nicaragua. Some people do, but it is nothing like turning 16 in the states and getting a license. Most people use public transportation, ride bikes, or are blessed with a motorcycle. 

Nicaragua has a tropical climate. I was there during winter/rainy season. The weather was very nice and very mild (70's and 80's most days). 

One thing I found interesting was their currency. They use something called the cordoba. The exchange rate is close to 25 cordobas per dollar. So, that meant when you went places for food or anything else, if it was $4, it was 100 cordobas. It felt like I was spending a fortune on things when it would cost 400, 600, or 1000 cordobas. I didn't get used to that! :)

I have more to share, and I will do upcoming posts on the people and the living conditions that we saw. 
I love looking back at these pictures already! 

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