Culture

Let’s face it, this is a gorgeous country filled with abundant wildlife, great weather, amazing Surf, natural beauty and amazing people.

Contemporary Tidbits and History

Language

There are 5 languages spoken in all of Nicaragua. The primary language is Spanish which is spoken by the vast majority of the country. We also have English on the Caribbean coast mixed in with other indigenous languages named Misquito, Gariifuna and Sumo.

Infrastructure

General – Nicaragua has seen a great deal of progress in terms on infrastructure in the past 1o years. With new roads, bridges, airports, water infrastructures, ports and a national plant to revamp the whole national eletcrical system by 2015, Nicaragua has been present to see a great deal of progress.

  • Roads – We have decently good primary roads. Our secondary roads are noticeably less maintained and our tertiary roads… well let’s just say that’s part of the adventure of vacationing in Nicaragua! =)
  • Electricity – Yes is goes out completely sometimes. We have scheduled and none scheduled Brown outs and Black outs so be prepares with flashlights and/or candles.
  • Water – Different towns have different aquifers they tap into for potable running water. In San Juan del Sur, as of 2011, we receive water from Lake Nicaragua. A great step forward for this the Southern Pacific town! We do recommend you drink purified water only, especially if you are not an avid traveler.

Music & Dance

  • Reggaeton – Although this has been the music of choice for the general population since the late 1990’s in Nicaragua, mainstreet pop music from the US has now sneaked and in some cases taken over (sigh of relief).
  • Electronic – Has taken a strong stance in Nicaragua since 2010 when internationally acclaimed electronic DJ’s began including Nicaragua in their tour schedules.
  • Cultural – revolutionary music is something ALL Nicaraguans, with out need of political affiliation are all proud to sign out loud.
  • Live Music – We have a number of talented musicians in Nicaragua, many who have started their own bands.

Food

  • Foods we eat at home – Gallo Pinto, platano cocido, tortillas, cuajada
  • Street Vendor Foods – Tacos, Carne Asada,  Fritangas, Enchiladas, Guilila, Hamburgers, Hotdogs (with interesting toppings)
  • Cultural Dishes – Nacatamales, Indio Viejo, Sopa de Albondigas (queso o pollo), Chancho con Yuca, Baho

Reasons for Moments of Culture Shock

  • Cat calls – Men love to say things to women. Some nice most are not. If you are a female and have blond hair you will be a magnet for catcalls. Some men go as far as to touch your elbow to get your attention.
  • Loud Noises (every where) – loud fireworks with no Light displays, trucks with large speakers announcing the town festivities, deaths and sales. Some how, the louder the music, the better the event is??
  • Seasons and lack there of in many respects – Although there are season (wet and dry) there is virtually no change in clothing styles or needs, just add on an umbrella if needed.

History

Nicaragua has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by Iberian culture but enriched with Amerindian sounds and flavors. The west of the country was colonized by Spain and has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking American countries. The eastern half of the country, on the other hand, was once a British protectorate. English is still predominant in this region and spoken domestically 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.

Recent immigration by English speakers has largely influenced younger generations, and an increasing number of people are either bilingual at home or speak Spanish only. There is a relatively large population of people of mixed African descent, as well as a smaller Garifuna population. Due to the African influence, in the East (Atlantic-Caribbena) Coast, there is a different kind of music. There is a popular dance called ‘Palo de Mayo’, or Maypole, which is celebrated during the Maypole Festival, during the month of May. The music is sensual with intense rhythms. The celebration is derived from the British Maypole for May Day celebration, as adapted and transformed by the Afro-Nicaraguans on the Caribbean or Misquito Coast.

Of the many cultures that were present before European colonization, the Nahuatl-speaking peoples who populated the west of the country have essentially been assimilated into the mainstream culture. In the east, however, several indigenous groups have maintained a distinct identity. The Miskito, Sumo, Garifuna, and Rama people still use their original languages, and also usually speak Spanish and/or English.