What language is spoken and how can I fit in with the local culture?

Nicaragua’s national language is Spanish. While you’ll get by without speaking any Spanish, just a few words and phrases will help break down barriers. Nicaraguans are open and friendly and a Buenos días (good morning) or Buenas tardes (good afternoon) is often all that is needed to start a conversation. Other words to learn are Por favor (please), Gracias (thank you) and Disculpe (sorry).

The culture is decidedly Latin with some machismo thrown in. Life revolves around the family unit with many women having the traditional role of raising children, cooking meals and managing the house. The focus on the family makes the country very kid friendly. Walk around town with a child and you’ll notice this in the lavish attention you receive.

The majority of Nicaraguans are Catholic, though other religions are practiced; including a growing missionary evangelism spread from the United States. But it’s Catholicism that is taught at school, Catholic holidays are held throughout the year and each town has a saint’s day that brings everyone out onto the streets

Most local Nicaraguans dress quite formally. The dress-down culture or crumpled hippy look that you see in Europe or North America has not taken hold here. Women are never topless on the beach, exercise clothes are worn only when exercising and skimpy clothes are not worn in church. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a Nicaraguan man wearing shorts.

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