Why We Think It's Time To Take A Fresh Look At This Longstanding Favorite
Sept. 9, 2014, Managua, Nicaragua: Nicaragua is at the bottom of its post-2008 crisis cycle, meaning this is the time to be paying attention to this beautiful country.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
"Forget about the Sandinistas. They're obsolete."
That was Violeta Chamorro's advice in September 1989 when asked about her chances for defeating the Sandinistas in Nicaragua's first presidential election after the Contra War. To the surprise of sitting El Presidente Daniel Ortega and all Nicaragua, Mrs. Chamorro won that election in February 1990. The Sandinista Ortega stepped down graciously, and Doña Violeta began the work of rebuilding her country.
I visited Nicaragua for the first time three years later. Managua, thanks to the earthquake of 1972, the revolution, and the civil war, was a near disaster zone. No reason at the time to stick around Nicaragua's capital city back then. Gringos like me migrated instead either slightly south or west, to the Pacific coast, where, by the early 1990s, speculators had already begun snatching up stretches of this country's primo beachfront, or inland, to the colonial city of Granada.
Visiting Granada for the first time during that initial scouting trip in 1993, I found a single hotel, the Alhambra, recognizable (still today) by its long, breezy porch overlooking the central square. A rocking chair out front of the Alhambra remains the best perch in this city.
While Granada and Nicaragua both historically have been and can still be short on amenities, they have always been long on heart. This country when I discovered it was pulling itself up by the bootstraps. In the towns and traveling along the dirt roads back then, you saw men and boys in olive green military garb, sometimes carrying weapons. They seemed intimidating, until you stopped to speak with them. They talked openly of their desire for peace. These Nicaraguans were tired of fighting, worn out by decades of watching their once-prosperous little country dissolve into chaos.