Nicaragua Flag Icon

Nicaragua Country Guide

Explore Nicaragua in North America

Nicaragua with the capital city Managua is located in North America (Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean). It covers some 129,495 square kilometres (slightly smaller than New York state) with 5,780,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The landscape offers extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains and narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes. The average density of population is approximately 45 per km². The notable climate conditions in Nicaragua can be described as tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands. Potential threats by nature are destructive earthquakes or volcanoes, landslides or extremely susceptible to hurricanes.

To reach someone in Nicaragua dial +505 prior to a number. There are 255,000 installed telephones. And there are 3,204,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 1900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ni". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 120V - 60Hz.

About the flag and history of Nicaragua

Three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with the national coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a triangle encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on the top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; the banner is based on the former blue-white-blue flag of the Federal Republic of Central America; the blue bands symbolize the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while the white band represents the land between the two bodies of water
note: similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band.

The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra was elected president in 2006 and reelected in 2011. The 2008 municipal elections, 2010 regional elections, November 2011 presidential elections, and 2012 municipal elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: North America
Neighbours: Costa Rica, Honduras
Capital: Managua
Size 129,494 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 49,998 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than New York state
Population 5,780,000
Currency Name: Cordoba, Currency Code: NIO
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ni
Telephone Country Prefix +505
Mobile Phone Connections 3,204,000
Landline Phone Connections 255,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 130,370 (sq km) 98

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 5,788,531 109
Population growth rate 1.05 (%) 110
Birth rate 18.77 (births/1,000 population) 98
Death rate 5.06 (deaths/1,000 population) 182
Net migration rate -3.26 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 177
Maternal mortality rate 95.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 76
Infant mortality rate 21.09 (deaths/1,000 live births) 87
Life expectancy at birth 72.45 (years) 131
Total fertility rate 2.03 (children born/woman) 125
Health expenditures 9.10 (% of GDP) 42
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.20 (%) 105
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 6,900 113
HIV/AIDS - deaths 500 84
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 22.20 (%) 81
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 5.70 (%) 83
Education expenditures 4.70 (% of GDP) 85
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 8.6 (%) 115


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 27,100,000,000 117
GDP - real growth rate 5.20 (%) 58
GDP - per capita (PPP) 4,500 166
Labor force 2,961,000 103
Unemployment rate 7.40 (%) 82
Distribution of family income - Gini index 41 57
Investment (gross fixed) 34.10 (% of GDP) 14
Taxes and other revenues 24.9 (% of GDP) 124
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 0.60 (% of GDP) 33
Public debt 52.70 (% of GDP) 56
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.60 (%) 173
Commercial bank prime lending rate 10.54 (%) 83
Stock of narrow money 1,287,000,000 140
Stock of broad money 3,136,000,000 142
Stock of domestic credit 4,138,000,000 120
Industrial production growth rate 1.50 (%) 125
Current account balance -1,476,000,000 126
Exports 4,160,000,000 122
Imports 6,519,000,000 116
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 1,900,000,000 123
Debt - external 5,228,000,000 114


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 3,824,000,000 (kWh) 125
Electricity - consumption 2,941,000,000 (kWh) 134
Electricity - exports 40,560 (kWh) 89
Electricity - imports 9,930 (kWh) 109
Electricity - installed generating capacity 1108000 (kW) 123
Electricity - from fossil fuels 66.0 (% of total installed capacity) 122
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 9.5 (% of total installed capacity) 117
Electricity - from other renewable sources 24.5 (% of total installed capacity) 3
Crude oil - imports 16,020 (bbl/day) 73
Refined petroleum products - production 14,680 (bbl/day) 103
Refined petroleum products - consumption 30,690 (bbl/day) 115
Refined petroleum products - exports 1,000 (bbl/day) 111
Refined petroleum products - imports 15,830 (bbl/day) 114
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 4,825,000 (Mt) 125


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 287,600 118
Telephones - mobile cellular 4,822,000 107
Internet hosts 296,068 63
Internet users 199,800 141


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 143 40
Roadways 19,137 (km) 111
Waterways 2,220 (km) 40


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 0.90 (% of GDP) 138

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
León Cathedral
Built between 1747 and the early 19th century to the design of Guatemalan architect Diego José de Porres Esquivel, the monument expresses the transition from Baroque to Neoclassical architecture and its style can be considered to be eclectic. The Ca ...
Ruins of León Viejo
León Viejo is one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas. It did not develop and so its ruins are outstanding testimony to the social and economic structures of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. Moreover, the site has immen ...