Published by The Guardian

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Though it has a turbulent past, Nicaragua has been peaceful for almost 30 years now and is officially the safest country in the region – and yet it remains one of Central America’s least visited countries. It’s long been a haunt of surfers-in-the-know but, steadily, visitor numbers are increasing (1.5 million in 2016, with 28% growth predicted for 2017) lured by its lakes and volcanoes (there are 19 active cones to climb), colonial cities and Pacific and Caribbean coastlines.

Getting there will be easier from October, when Iberia launches flights from Madrid to the capital, Managua, stopping off in Guatemala City on the way out, but direct on the way back. Travelling around the county will also be improved with the new Costanera del Pacífico road, which will link some of the Pacific coast’s finest beaches. For the adventurous, it’s possible to hike up and volcano-board down Cerro Negro, paddleboard across a crater lake or just island hop along the unspoilt Caribbean coast. And Nicaragua’s no longer the preserve of backpackers, with stylish and affordable eco-friendly boutique hotels popping up, such as Isleta El Espino (doubles from £92 B&B) and Granada and Meson Nadi (doubles from £122 B&B) on the Pacific’s Playa Santana.

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