7 Books About Nicaragua Worth Reading


As Brooke and I were writing The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur we started to compile a list of books to help our readers learn more about Nicaragua and its history.

While these books won’t help you decide what to do each day, where to stay or how to get there (that’s what The Insider Guide is for) they will help round out your knowledge about the country.

All the books on the list are great so we have no problem recommending them to you (and using our affiliate link which will take you to Amazon).

We’ve kicked off the list with Rubén Darío as he leads the way in Nicaragua’s literary tradition. But if reading poetry is not your style there are options for you to consider:

Rubén Darío, Stories and Poems/Cuentos y Poesías: A Dual-Language Book, edited by Stanley Applebaum, offers a good introduction to Darío’s body of work. An English translation is provided next to the Spanish text.

Salman Rushdie visited Nicaragua at the height of the Contra war and his account, The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey, offers an accessible glimpse of this defining time in Nicaragua’s history.

If you are keen to dig a little deeper into the Somoza era and the Sandinista Revolutions, Walker’s Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle provides in-depth coverage and exposes the breadth of US influence on Nicaragua.

The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War, written by Nicaraguan born Gioconda Belli, describing her experiences as a member of the revolutionary Sandinista movement.

Blood of Brothers, is a story of “Life and War in Nicaragua” written by Stephen Kinzer. Praised by the New York Times Book Review as, “a graphic account of a country torn in half.”

Thomas Belt, The Nationalist in Nicaragua. A combination travelogue and natural history book first published in 1874. Follow the author as he navigates the tropical rivers, valleys, forests, and lakes of Nicaragua.

501 Spanish Verbs by Christopher Kendris provides 501 commonly used Spanish verbs. The verbs are conjugated in all tense forms, arranged alphabetically by infinitive, and defined in English. It is essentially the bible of Spanish verb books and should be in every household of any expat that lives in Nicaragua.

We’ve only just started building this reading list and we’d love to expand it into something more definitive.

So what’s on your bookshelf?

Please leave a comment recommending your favorite book on Nicaragua.


  1. I’m currently reading Nicaragua, Living in the Shadow of the Eagle.

    • Carol, thanks for stopping by. Are you enjoying it? Please tell us if you come across any other books about Nicaragua that you think are worth reading.

    • I’m finding this book very informative. It appears to provide an unbaised look at early and more recent history of the struggles faced by the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua. I love that it includes information on Nica customs, the food, the warmth of the people, economics, etc. Worthwhile read. Glad to see it on your list!

  2. I learned the most about Nicaragua and and its current status by reading Daniel Ortega – Unauthorized Biography. BTW the author is coming to Granada next month at Lucha Libros.

  3. Can I be immodest and recommend my own novel, which was published by St. Martin’s Press in May, 2015? The Ladies of Managua is the story of three generations of Nicaraguan women, each with her own secret, who finally confront their complicated relationships to each other and to their homeland. Oprah magazine called it “a vibrant story about radical acts of womanhood” and I think it might interest you because one of the characters was inspired in part by Gioconda Belli (I read everything I could find by her while researching). In Nicaragua it’s available at Literato and Hispamer (and can also be ordered on Kindle of course).