Country information

This section gives a broad overview of nicaragua's generic characteristics, its Location, Capital, Area, Climate, Population, Ethnic make-up, Religions, Government, and Languages spoken including local dialects.

Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest (950 kilometres – 590 miles), the Caribbean Sea to the east, Costa Rica to the south (309 kilometres - 192 mi) and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest with a total coastline of 910 kilometres (570 miles). Nicaragua can be characterized by its agricultural economy, its history of autocratic government, and its imbalance of regional development—almost all settlement and economic activity are concentrated in the western half of the country. 


Nicaragua has a total area of 130,668 sq. km. (50,451 sq. mi.) of which 9,924 km2 (3,568 sq. mi) is water. 

Nicaragua, a country of Central America located just north of the Equator, has a tropical climate. Temperatures are quite stable from 81-90°F (27-32°C) during the rainy season and from 86-95°F (30-35°C) during the dry season. Seasonally  there is a relatively cool winter from November to January, a hot spring from March to May, and a sultry and rainy summer from May to October .In addition, there is a difference between the two sides of the country: the west coast, facing the Pacific Ocean, is hotter and has a very pronounced dry season from December to April, while the east, along  the Caribbean Sea, is more humid and rainy and being exposed to north-east trade winds, receives rainfall even in winter, so the climate locally could be defined as equatorial. Consequently, rainfall is abundant on the east coast, where it even exceeds 4,000 millimetres (160 inches) per year, while it's much less abundant in the central plains (where the city of Managua and the lakes Nicaragua and Managua are located) and along the Pacific coast. 

Total – 6,620,254 (2020 est.)

 55 people per Km2(143 people per mi2) 

 official language of Nicaragua is Spanish; Spanish is spoken by 90% of the country's population; the Voseo form is common, ( Central American Spanish) However, several indigenous peoples on the Caribbean coast still use their native language, the main languages being Miskito, Sumo and Rama languages. Other Indigenous languages spoken include Garifuna. The communities located on the Caribbean coast also have access to education in their native languages. Additionally, Nicaragua has four extinct indigenous languages; Nahuat, Mangue, Subtiaba and Matagalpa. 

The majority of the Nicaraguan population is composed of mestizos, roughly 69%. 17% of Nicaragua's population is of unmixed European stock, with the majority of them being of Spanish descent, while others are of German, Italian, English, Turkish, Danish or French ancestry. About 9% of Nicaragua's population is black and mainly resides on the country's coast. The black population is mostly composed of black English-speaking Creoles who are the descendants of escaped or shipwrecked slaves; many carry the name of Scottish settlers who brought slaves with them. There is a smaller number of Garifuna, a people of mixed West African, Carib and Arawak descent. In the mid-1980s, the government divided the Zelaya Department –the eastern half of the country – into two autonomous regions and granted the black and indigenous people of this region limited self-rule within the republic. The remaining 5% of Nicaraguans are indigenous, the descendants of the country's original inhabitants. Nicaragua's pre-Columbian population consisted of many indigenous groups. In the western region, the Nahua (Pipil-Nicarao) people were present along with other groups such as the Chorotega people and the Subtiabas (also known as Maribios or Hokan Xiu). The central region and the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua were inhabited by indigenous peoples who were Macro-Chibchan language groups that had migrated to and from South America in ancient times, primarily what is now Colombia and Venezuela. These groups include the present-day Matagalpas, Miskitos, Ramas, as well as Mayangnas and Ulwas who are also known as Sumos. In the 19th century, there was a substantial indigenous minority, but this group was largely assimilated culturally into the mestizo majority.  

(2010 est) 

55% Roman Catholic 

27.2% Protestant 

0.9% Jehovah's Witnesses 

14.7% Unaffiliated 

2.2% Other religion 

Córdoba (NIO) 

Unitary dominant-party presidential constitutional republic 

National Assembly

In God We Trust  

Hail to thee Nicaragua 

There are two prevailing theories on how the name "Nicaragua" came to be. 

The first is that the name was coined by Spanish colonists based on the name Nicarao, who was the chieftain or cacique of a powerful indigenous tribe encountered by the Spanish conquistador Gil González Dávila during his entry into southwestern Nicaragua in 1522. Nicaragua was formed from Nicarao and agua (Spanish for "water"), to reference the fact that there are two large lakes and several other bodies of water within the country. However, as of 2002, it was determined that the cacique's real name was Macuilmiquiztli rather than Nicarao. 

Thus, the second theory is that the country's name comes from any of the following Nahuatl words: nic-anahuac, which meant "Anahuac reached this far", nican-nahua, which meant "here are the Nahuas"; or nic-atl-nahuac, which meant "here by the water" or "surrounded by water"