Travis Levius, CNN • Updated 15th December 2017
Tola, Rivas, Nicaragua (CNN) — Move over Costa Rica: Nicaragua is emerging as the new eco-travel darling of Central America.
In the past two decades, Nicaragua has made concerted efforts to increase peace and international tourism; now, it’s one of Central America’s safer nations for travel, based on 2017’s Global Peace Index.
The Emerald Coast, a 30-mile stretch of unspoiled Pacific coastline and dry tropical forest, is at the forefront of this “new” Nicaragua, breathing economic life into Central America’s poorest country.
Travelers who have pushed past outdated perceptions have been rewarded with pristine beaches and forests, world-class surf breaks, local hospitality and sustainability conscious luxury resorts.
The Emerald Coast is one of the only destinations in the world with 300-plus days of offshore winds, due to its fortunate position between Lake Nicaragua — Central America’s largest lake — and the Pacific shores.
It was an insider secret amongst diehard surfing enthusiasts, drawn to humble fishing villages like Gigante and Popoyo Beach’s world-class waves.