Monday, June 27, 2022

Culture Of Nicaragua

North AmericaNicaraguaCulture Of Nicaragua

Read next

Nicaraguan culture has strong folkloric, musical and religious traditions that are strongly influenced by European culture, but also include indigenous sounds and flavours. Nicaraguan culture can also be defined into several distinct strands. The Pacific coast has strong folklore, music and religious traditions that were heavily influenced by Europeans. The country was colonised by Spain and its culture is similar to that of other Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. The indigenous groups that historically inhabited the Pacific coast have been largely assimilated into the mestizo culture.

The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was once a British protectorate. English is still predominant in this region and is spoken in the country along with Spanish and indigenous languages. Its culture is similar to that of Caribbean nations that were or are British possessions, such as Jamaica, Belize, the Cayman Islands, etc. Unlike the West Coast, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean coast have retained their own identity and some still speak their mother tongue as their first language.


The music of Nicaragua is a mixture of indigenous and Spanish influences. Musical instruments include the marimba and other instruments that are common throughout Central America. The Nicaraguan marimba is played by a seated player who holds the instrument in his lap. It is usually accompanied by a bass violin, a guitar and a guitarrilla (a small guitar similar to a mandolin). This music is played at social occasions as a kind of background music.

The marimba consists of hardwood plates mounted on bamboo or metal tubes of different lengths. It is played with two or four hammers. The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is known for a lively and sensual form of dance music called Palo de Mayo, which is popular throughout the country. It is particularly loud and celebrated during the Palo de Mayo festival in May. The Garifuna (Afro-Indian) community is known for its popular music called Punta.

Nicaragua benefits from a variety of international influences in the field of music. Bachata, merengue, salsa and cumbia have gained prominence in cultural centres such as Managua, Leon and Granada. Cumbia dancing became popular on Ometepe Island and in Managua with the introduction of Nicaraguan artists, including Gustavo Leyton. Salsa became extremely popular in the nightclubs of Managua. Through various influences, the form of salsa dance varies in Nicaragua. Elements of New York style and Cuban salsa (Salsa Casino) have gained popularity in this country.


Dancing in Nicaragua varies depending on the region. In rural areas, hip movements and turns are more emphasised. In the cities, the dance style focuses on more sophisticated footwork in addition to movements and turns. Combinations of Dominican and American styles can be found throughout Nicaragua. Bachata dancing is very popular in Nicaragua. A considerable amount of bachata’s influence comes from Nicaraguans living abroad, in cities such as Miami, Los Angeles and, to a lesser extent, New York City. Recently, tango has also been appearing in cultural cities and among social dances.


Nicaraguan cuisine is a mixture of Spanish food and dishes of pre-Columbian origin. The traditional cuisine changes from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast. On the Pacific coast, local fruits and corn are the staple, while Caribbean coast cuisine focuses on seafood and coconut.

As in many other Latin American countries, maize is a staple food and is used in many popular dishes, such as Nacatamal and Indio Viejo. Maize is also an ingredient in drinks such as pinolillo and chicha, as well as in sweets and desserts. Besides maize, rice and beans are also eaten very frequently.

Gallo pinto, the national dish of Nicaragua, consists of white rice and red beans that are cooked separately and then fried together. There are several variations of this dish, including the addition of coconut milk and/or shredded coconut on the Caribbean coast. Most Nicaraguans start their day with gallopinto. Gallopinto is usually served with carne asada, salad, fried cheese, plantains or maduros.

Many Nicaraguan dishes contain local fruits and vegetables such as jocote, mango, papaya, tamarind, pipian, banana, avocado, yuca and herbs such as cilantro, oregano and achiote.

Nicaraguans are also known to eat guinea pigs, tapirs, iguanas, turtle eggs, armadillos and boas, but efforts are being made to curb this trend.

How To Travel To Nicaragua

By air You will most likely arrive at Augusto C Sandino Airport in Managua (IATA: MGA). Flights from the USA arrive from Houston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta. Managua is served by American Airlines, United, Avianca, Delta, Spirit, Aeroméxico and Nature Air (from SJO), among others. In addition to domestic...

How To Travel Around Nicaragua

By bus The bus is undoubtedly the main way to get around Nicaragua and a great way to discover the country's geography, its people and even some of its culture (music, food, clothing, manners). Most of the buses are old, decommissioned (but often fantastically repainted and redecorated) yellow American school...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Nicaragua

Citizens of the following countries/territories can enter Nicaragua without a visa: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Holy See, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan,...

Destinations in Nicaragua

Regions in Nicaragua Capital RegionThe most populous region of Nicaragua, centred on the capital Managua and including the Pueblos Blancos.Caribbean NicaraguaHere you travel mainly by boat and the rich mix of Nicaraguan, Caribbean, Miskito and Garifuna cultures makes this region seem like another country.Northern HighlandsVisit cigar factories, take a canyon...

Weather & Climate in Nicaragua

The temperature is mainly influenced by the altitude. On the Pacific side there is a distinct dry season (November-April, locally called "verano") and a rainy season (locally called "invierno"), but the further east you go, the longer the rainy season and the wetter the dry season. The torrential downpours...

Accommodation & Hotels in Nicaragua

Accommodation is generally quite cheap in Nicaragua. Options range from simple hammocks ($2-3 USD) to dormitories in hostels ($5-9 USD) to private twin rooms ("matrimonials") ($10-35 USD, depending on whether you have a TV, air conditioning and your own shower and toilet). You will probably only find real luxury...

Things To See in Nicaragua

Nicaraguans like to call their country the land of lakes and volcanoes. The most notable volcanoes include: Volcán Concepción and Maderas on OmetepeVolcán Mombacho near GranadaVolcán Masaya near Masaya. If it is not considered too dangerous, you can drive up.The Cosigüina volcano, which was one of the highest in the...

Things To Do in Nicaragua

There are endless things to do in Nicaragua, but some of the most overlooked are the fiestas patronales, or festivals of the saints, which take place almost every day in some town or village in the country. Participating in the patronal festivals is a great way to experience Nicaraguan...

Food & Drinks in Nicaragua

Food in Nicaragua Nicaraguan food is very cheap by Western standards. A plate of street food costs between 30 and 70 cordobas. A typical dinner consists of meat, rice, beans, salad (e.g. coleslaw) and some fried plantains and costs less than 3 USD. Buffet-style restaurants/eateries called "fritanga" are very common,...

Money & Shopping in Nicaragua

Currency If you are entering Nicaragua by land, get rid of your Honduran lempiras and Costa Rican colones, as they are difficult to exchange far from the border. The national currency is called córdoba oro (NIO, locally abbreviated C$), also known locally as peso, simply "cordoba" or vara(s), among other terms....

Festivals & Holidays in Nicaragua

DateEnglish nameComments1 JanuaryNew Year's DayMany Nicaraguans celebrate New Year's Day by the pool.1 FebruaryAir Force DayHeld on 1 February in honour of the country's air force.13 AprilMaundy ThursdayCelebrated nationwide on the first Thursday in April.1 MayLabour DayCelebrated nationwide on 1 May.27 MayArmy DayHeld on 27 May in honour of...

Traditions & Customs in Nicaragua

In Nicaraguan Spanish, a distinction is made between the "formal" you and the "informal" you. The formal form ("usted" for one person, "ustedes" for several people) is used with foreigners, older people and people of high rank. The informal form ("tu" or "vos" for one person; "vosotros" for several...

Language & Phrasebook in Nicaragua

Spanish is the official language in Nicaragua. Don't expect to find much English outside the larger, more expensive hotels. Creole English (think Jamaican patois to get a feel for it) and indigenous languages are spoken along the Caribbean coast and in the interior of the remote Bosawas National Park...

History Of Nicaragua

Ancient history Although Christopher Columbus (known in Spanish as Cristobal Colón) landed in the north-east of Nicaragua on one of his voyages, it was the western half of the country that first attracted the attention of the Spanish. The conquistadors devastated most indigenous cultures through war, assimilation, enslavement, disease and...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Nicaragua

Stay Safe in Nicaragua Nicaragua has made considerable progress in terms of police presence and order throughout the country. Crime is relatively low. However, starting in 2008, reports of low-level gang violence began to come from Honduras and El Salvador. The Nicaraguan National Police have been successful in arresting gang...



South America


North America

Most Popular