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Nicaragua offers nature reserves brimming with wildlife, uncrowded beaches, well-preserved colonial architecture, and a growing number of excellent ecotourism opportunities. The tourism industry is still in its infancy, and limited infrastructure and little promotion abroad mean that Nicaragua remains largely off the radar for tourists. But this is precisely the reason to go there. Though Nicaragua continues to be a sought-after destination for adventurous travelers eager to experience adrenaline-filled water sports and land-based outdoors activities, upscale hotels and resorts are becoming increasingly common, attracting visitors looking for relaxation. More and more visitors are becoming aware of Nicaragua's opportunities to get away from it all by relaxing on Pacific beaches or secluded private islands and experiencing nature through boating or birdwatching. Shoppers find that the markets offer quality crafts, and it is often possible to meet the artisans themselves. Visitors can improve their Spanish through a language course and homestay, or they can volunteer in a local community to get an inside look at the country and its people. Nicaragua is unlikely to remain off the tourism map for long. For now, however, many travelers are inclined to keep the secrets of its picturesque lakes, lush rainforests, secluded beaches, and vibrant cultures to themselves. Nicaraguans, who often refer to themselves as Nicas, are renowned for their friendly and welcoming nature. Visitors are still a curiosity in many parts of the country, and most tourists feel warmly received. Local markets and festivals offer glimpses into traditional rural life, while Managua boasts all of the trappings of a large urban area. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and Lago de Nicaragua, the Pacific Lowlands region of Nicaragua, where Managua is located, is the country's most populated area. Managua, Nicaragua's capital city, has all the usual urban trappings, yet nearby natural attractions, including the beaches of Montelimar and the nature reserves of Chocoyero-El Brujo and Montibellire are easily accessible. Managua offers many of Nicaragua's most vibrant accommodation, dining, and entertainment options. Everything you need to know about Managua is detailed in this guide, from the hundreds of hotels and restaurants to walking tours, historic sites, nightclubs and trips to the many nearby attractions. Reserva Natural Chocoyero-El Brujo is one of those. Its name comes from two waterfalls, El Brujo and El Chocoyero. The latter is the best place to catch glimpses of the park's famous green parakeets. Couch potatoes rejoice: the trail to the Chocoyero waterfall is mostly flat and you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of the cascading waters.
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