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Color photos and maps throughout the guide. The author has lived in Nicaragua part-time for many years. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east, Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but tourists are only now beginning to discover it. As a result, the abundant beaches are uncrowded and the rainforests are filled with wildlife – including 700 species of birds, white faced capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, and howler monkeys. Central America’s largest lake, Lago de Nicaragua, is here, as is Granada, the oldest Spanish city in the continental Americas, with the earliest colonial buildings. The Pacific Lowlands region, which includes the cities of Managua, León, Granada, and San Juan del Sur, is dotted with some 40 volcanoes. Local markets and festivals offer glimpses into traditional rural life. Artisan communities can be visited around the country, and the author shows you how. Nicaragua is known for its unique pottery, hammocks, Primitivist paintings and wood carvings. It is often possible to meet the artisans themselves. All the local foods and where to get them are detailed, from vigorones (beans, rice, cabbage salad, and pork, steamed in a banana leaf), to sweet fried plantains, and tamales, coco bread, and plentiful fresh seafood. Many large coffee plantations are here where you can stay and quickly become fluent in Spanish. Learn all the details. Explore the jungles, climb the many volcanoes, swim in their craters, scuba and snorkel the reefs of the Caribbean or the Pacific coast, fish for tarpon. Every adventure is covered – where to do it and how. Visit some of the more than 300 islands offshore that make up Las Isletas. Or try snorkeling, diving, fishing, and relaxing on the spectacular white sand beaches of the Corn Islands. The recommended places to stay and eat in each price range are thoroughly covered, based on personal visits and in most cases illustrated with color photos.