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Pacific South West History

Nicaragua’s Pacific South West, a strip of land between the ocean and the country’s great lake, has been both a bridge and highway since humans first wandered through Central America. Archeologists have found evidence of the passage of peoples on Isla Ometepe, which has been inhabited for some 4,000 years, and on the mainland. Rivas, for example, has been inhabited since at least 606 AD.  

As long as the southwest has been a highway, it has also been desirable for its strategic location. After the Spanish claimed the land and began to settle the area, starting with Granada, English pirates regularly crossed the Pacific Ocean and Lake Nicaragua to stage attacks. Isla Ometepe served as a pirate base, with Volcan Concepcion smoking ominously overhead, and Granada was attacked by William Walker in the early 19th century.

The cities of the Pacific once used horses and carriages (and you can still find a few examples rolling along the streets). Aside from the major cities, though, the region remained relatively undeveloped through Nicaragua’s wars and only recently started to be recognized for its gorgeous beaches, stunning wildlife and incredible surfing opportunities.

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
14 Oct 2009

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