Friday, October 12, 2007


After hearing so much information about Nicaragua, I was expecting the country to be a lot different than what I found it to be. I was expecting poverty everywhere, and people who looked very sketchy and dangerous, but that was not the case. I wasn’t worried about going until my own mother told me that it was a bad idea to take a trip there and then I started to get a little uneasy. I was extremely conscious of my surroundings the entire time we were at the border, as if someone was going to walk up to me, rifle in hand, and demand all of my worldly goods. Looking back on that I feel a little like an idiot, because really the people weren’t all that different from Costa Ricans. The town we stayed in, San Juan del Sure, was very similar to what I had pictured before arrival, including the construction in the roads. I honestly thought of Nicaragua as some land of no paved roads with construction everywhere and small homes and stores. This was partially true in San Juan del Sur, but only because they had recently decided to redo the road in town.

I was not able to find as many differences between Nicaragua and Costa Rica as I thought I was going to be able to find. The roads were around the same caliber as those in Costa Rica, but I do believe that there were less paved roads in Nicaragua, or at least that was how it appeared to me. I also noticed an interesting sign on the side of the road while we were in the van on the way to Granada, a major tourist city. The sign said, roughly translated, “A clean Nicaragua attracts more tourists,” and I thought that was interesting because I have not seen a sign like that in Costa Rica. Evidently, Nicaragua is still working on building up its reputation for strong tourism and trying to attract more tourists since I believe many more tourists visit Costa Rica than Nicaragua. I think the major difference that people focus on when looking at the two countries are the differences between colonization and post-independence histories, since Nicaragua’s history was much more unstable and violent than Costa Rica, and this stereotype carries into today.

Overall, Nicaragua was a lot of fun, and I recommend taking a trip to San Juan del Sur if you are ever, for some reason, in the area.

-Nicole Olavarria

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