Rosemary McClure made my week when I saw her piece on Nicaragua ["Revved and Ready," March 9].
My daughter has announced a destination wedding that all her "fun" relatives want to go to, but most are not "adventurous" travelers. So when they decided on San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, I definitely picked up an undercurrent of trepidation. They don't want to disappoint her, but their imaginations started working overtime. Some even remembered the Sandinistas! Enter stage left: McClure's wonderful report (and the pictures), which I immediately posted on Facebook and sent to all the family.
I know we're not talking about the south of France here, but we just needed to take the edge off, make them comfortable enough that they're not going to be stranded someplace without indoor plumbing, and get them excited about seeing some beautiful places and people.
I also appreciated the info about in-country transportation and the hotel/resort options that could work well for the rehearsal dinner.
I feel much more confident about venturing out. We're going to have a grand time. Thank you.
Thank McClure for her excellent article on Nicaragua as a travel destination. It truly is a beautiful and fascinating destination for those looking for something not yet overdeveloped. Granada is a delightful colonial city, but one appealing fact overlooked in the article is its presence on Lake Nicaragua and the availability of boat tours to the nearby Las Isletas , a wonderful archipelago of small islands, most of which are inhabited. In rustic and charming San Juan del Sur, the recommended hotel, Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa, is undoubtedly one of finest hotels of its type, with an excellent restaurant, for the cost.
The opportunity to stay there again would strongly motivate me to return to Nicaragua, but there is so much more of the country to explore as well.
I just returned from spending two weeks in Nicaragua. It is not as safe as McClure's article implies. My husband and I were robbed by two men, one with a gun and the other with a knife, in broad daylight at the Las Flores coffee plantation near the Mombacho volcano.
We reported it to police and learned this had been the fifth time with same M.O. in recent history.
I am glad that McClure enjoyed her visit to popular tourist destinations on the Pacific side of the country. However, she is woefully ignorant of the major development projects planned for Nicaragua and already in the initial stages of implementation.
These are part of the 50-year contract signed with a Chinese company, HKND, to provide an interoceanic canal, two deep-water ports, an oil pipeline, international airports, two duty-free zones and apparently anything else the chief executive of the company wishes. The purpose of the canal is to compete with Panama. It will cross Lake Nicaragua, the largest body of fresh water in Central America. There are many concerns about the viability of this project, not to mention the accompanying societal and environmental disruption and strife that is already occurring. This includes discussion that many of the isletas of this beautiful (and shallow) lake may cease to exist.
Nicaragua has squandered phenomenal opportunities for fabulous ecotourism, as it had much more to offer until fairly recently than Costa Rica in terms of wildlife, both plant and animal. The forest reserves are being mowed down rapidly by Latino campesinos from the Pacific, who, hungry for land, are rapidly importing their "cow culture" into former lush jungle. The movement into the southeast Atlantic coast began in earnest after the devastation of Hurricane Joan in 1988 made incursions into this area much easier. (This area has historically been inhabited principally by indigenous peoples and Creoles.) The custom now is to use large amounts of herbicides such as paraquat to keep the former jungle low for pasture.
I have more than 40 years of personal and professional interest in the Atlantic coast.
I don't claim to know what the best way to "develop" anything is. But I find what is taking place now disturbing, not just for Nicaragua, but because it is but one of many small unnoticed places where such things are occurring around the globe.
Dropped, and better off for it
When I retired in 2000, I had 750,000 miles with United. After a year of not traveling with the airline, it dropped me from the Premium Program. I never flew with it again. On two recent trips, I flew Turkish and Alitalia Airlines. They were direct flights instead of one stop somewhere with a U.S. carrier. On a trip to Madrid a few years ago, I laughed at a cheap fare that took 28 hours by way of Toronto and Munich. Instead, I went direct on a foreign carrier for an additional $100.