NICA Competition Gaining International Support – Still Time to Participate…

An example of the awesome ceramics art being produced in San Juan de Oriente.

The NICA Competition is in full effect!

On December 5, 2016 I announced the Nicaragua International Ceramic Art Competition in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua…..
By the end of the registration period on December 24th we had 95 entries to participate!
The rules were simple one masterpiece entry per artisan delivered by January 18th, 2017.
I set up a award schedule (listed on the graphic at the bottom of this email) that includes 10 awards valuing over $8000….
The pueblo went nuts….  There has never been a competition that has offered such robust award values and access to a world wide audience.
When I added it all up there were 95 total artists, 25 women artisans and 16 youth artisan under the age of 21!  Staggering numbers for a small traditional village.
Over a three and a half day period I went to each small house and interviewed each artisan, every registered participant of the 2017 NICA Competition.
Although I have been working in the San Juan de Oriente pueblo for over 21 years I met people and learned things I never knew.
Maybe half of the participants, or more, have never participated in a competition.
I announced the awards to the NICA Ceramic Art community and got great support and results!

$2500 Best in Show – Sponsored!  Thank you
$1500 Oro Award – Sponsored! Thank you
$750 Plata Award – Sponsored! Thank you
$750 Plata Award – Still Available Click Here 
$750 pre-Columbian – Sponsored! Thank you
$500 Honor Award – Available Click Here
$500 Honor Award 2 – Available Click Here
$500 Honor Award 3 – Available Click Here
$500 Women Artisan Award – Sponsored Thank you!
$500 Youth Artisan Award – Sponsored Thank you!

By sponsoring one of the final available awards listed above you will choose the award winning sculpture with a cash prize for the artisan baring your name….in exchange you will receive the award winning sculpture for your private collection.
I am preparing nicaceramicart.com to show the close to 90 participants in the NICA Competition – with their photo, a intro video and images of their entry sculpture to the NICA Competition.
As a sponsor you will have access to all of the pieces and artists profiles starting on January 23rd.  On January 26th we will have the awards ceremony in San Juan de Oriente, Nicaragua and video the awards being presented in your name to enjoy the moment and interaction.
As of right now this has turned into a true international celebration of support with awards coming from all over the United States, Finland, National support and Local Support with the Mayor of San Juan de Oriente sponsoring the Youth Artisan award.
It has been both an honor and a heck of a lot of work putting this together and I am now pointing to the last few awards available for a few more people to step into this opportunity to participate in this unique cultural event.
The graphic below will help express and explain more.  I am always available to answer questions or give further information.
Those who have sponsored awards will receive the first update the end of this week.
Please consider being a part of the first annual NICA Competition by supporting one of the last awards – have an award issued in your name – and enjoy that winning sculpture in your home for ever…..
Thank you,
Paul H Devoti
paul@nicaceramicart.com  – best contact via email!

Veteran, Women and Youth Artisan Coming Together to participate in the first annual Nicaragua International Ceramic Art Competition

Source: NICA Competition Gaining International Support – Still Time to Participate…

Now this is a great thing this gentleman is doing…sponsoring (and you can sponsor it too, see link!) a competition in the local ceramics village, San Juan de Oriente, on the best ceramics art in the area. I sure hope my friend Pedro Guerrero is in this, as I think he’s one of the best!

14 stunning photos of exploration in the Masaya volcano • El Nuevo Diario

The images shared by Sam Cossman after the first week of work in the active volcano

Source: 14 stunning photos of exploration in the Masaya volcano • El Nuevo Diario

Photo: Alejandro Sánchez
The Team of Sam Cossman installs 80 sensors in the interior of the Masaya Volcano.

First Luxury Countryside Resort Opens in Nicaragua | Business Wire

First Luxury Countryside Resort Opens in Nicaragua

Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, an Intimate Eight-Room Nature-Driven Property Located on Expansive 1,300-Acre Reserve, Fosters a Spirit of Exploration, Adventure and Wellbeing

Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat (Photo: Business Wire)

Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat (Photo: Business Wire)

NANDAIME, Nicaragua–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, an intimate eight-room property located on a 1,300-acre nature reserve in Nicaragua, today debuts as the country’s first luxury countryside resort. Located 30 minutes from the historic colonial town of Granada, Nekupe fosters a spirit of exploration, adventure and wellbeing through its understated and culturally sensitive design that was influenced by Feng Shui principles, immersive activities, and indoor, outdoor living that provides guests with a rich sense of place.

#Nicaragua’s first luxury countryside resort opens! #NekupeSportingResortandRetreat

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Experiences at Nekupe are rooted in an active-outdoor lifestyle ideal for multi-generational families, groups of friends or adventurous retreats that include exploration, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, sporting clay and target shooting, and more. These activities are complemented by opportunities for thoughtful inner reflection through mountain-top yoga overlooking majestic views of Mombacho Volcano, outdoor spa treatments utilizing native ingredients, meditation and nature walks.

Nekupe was conceived as a private family retreat by Nicaraguan philanthropists Don Alfredo Pellas and Doña Theresita Pellas, avid travelers and adventure enthusiasts whose commitment to nature is exhibited through the resort’s core principle of respect for the environment. They created a sanctuary, reforesting more than 14,000 trees, building water reservoirs, and nurturing local wildlife, with the desire of cultivating a destination where guests may enjoy shared experiences in a meaningful way.

“Nekupe, which means ‘heaven’ in Chorotega – the indigenous language of a native tribe in Nicaragua, has been a true passion to bring to life, driven by the love for our country, its breathtakingly raw beauty, cultural heritage and kind people,” said Don Alfredo Pellas. “We are excited to see Nekupe and Nicaragua evolve into destinations where guests will reconnect with nature and each other through relaxing and invigorating experiences.”

  • Accommodations – Guests may buy out the entire eight-room resort or book any of the following accommodations individually. Each room comes with a luxury ATV to navigate the miles of natural terrain.
    • La Residencia de Doña Theresita – Perched atop a hill to allow for views across the reserve and out to Mombacho Volcano is the 24,000-square-foot main residential compound, La Residencia de Doña Theresita. The residence houses two grand suites, each measuring 1,300 square feet, which overlook a 1,900-square-foot deck that includes an infinity plunge pool with grand vistas of the deep forest. It also houses two standard 870-square-foot suites, a full kitchen and recreational pool.
    • Villas – Four standalone villas that range from 700-1,000 square feet, each with an open terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows, are nestled along the countryside offering guests an immersive indoor/outdoor experience. Guests will enjoy access to the neighboring dry river outlined with giant bromeliads and impressive rock fountains.
  • Central Lobby – Nekupe’s central lobby, Casa Club, is a communal space with airy living and lounge options to enjoy a cocktail or convene to coordinate the day’s activities. The 10,800-square-foot lounge also houses the resort’s restaurant, Don Alfredo’s, a gift shop and pool court where guests may take in panoramic views of the Nicaraguan landscape, including a stunning view of Nicaragua’s majestic Mombacho Volcano.
  • Outdoor Pursuits – Nekupe’s incomparable setting is highlighted by its roster of extraordinary outdoor experiences taking advantage of the varied terrain full of trails, manmade nature pools and babbling creeks. A designated Ranger Center will guide guests through on- and off-site activities including:
    • On-site: Horseback riding, sporting clay and target shooting, ropes course, fully equipped fitness center, tennis, butterfly and birdwatching, stargazing, marimba classes, swimming in the recreational pool and folkloric dance lessons.
    • Off-site: Day tours to Granada and the Islets, volcano hiking and sandboarding, surfing, golfing, cultural tours and coffee plantation tours.
  • Culinary Offerings – Guests will enjoy traditional Nicaraguan dishes with a modern interpretation using a bounty of native ingredients, inspired by Doña Theresita’s own cooking and sourced from the on-site garden and local purveyor. For those in search of more bespoke menu items, the resort’s chef may customize any meal to suit culinary needs. An outdoor chef’s table and exhibition kitchen serves as the backdrop for cooking classes and bespoke dinners. Hand-crafted cocktails and cigar and rum tastings complement the culinary delights.
  • Wellness – A sanctuary for the soul, Nekupe’s peaceful and intimate reserve serves as a restorative destination that invites guests to benefit from the area’s healing energy and attributes. Travelers are invited to embrace the calm and inner peace afforded by this natural countryside oasis through meditative practices on the resort’s expansive yoga deck that overlooks the rolling reserve out to Concepción and Maderas Volcanos.
  • Chapel – Perched atop one of the highest points in the nature reserve and surrounded by trees that bloom the fragrant sacuanjoche flower, lies the resort’s Chapel San Francisco de Asis. With stone walls and wooden trim, the stately venue immediately impresses with its simple, yet elegant nature; thoughtful design, including an Italian bell customized for Don Alfredo and Doña Theresita; and breathtaking fountain that streams water to the baptistery. Whether guests opt for a leisure stroll or ride up the hill, they will take solace in the calming energy of the journey. The chapel is available for guests to meditate and use as a venue for intimate weddings and events.
  • Spa – A cornerstone of the resort, Nekupe Spa gives more than a nod to its inspired location set amidst lush vegetation. Embracing all energy points of the property, select native-based treatments utilizing natural ingredients will be available in the Casa Club and designated meadows within the reserve starting November 2016. The spa’s full concept will debut in 2017. Guests will enjoy views of the sprawling locale and hear nature’s meditative soundtrack while experiencing restorative treatments created to nourish and restore in this unspoiled setting.

Nekupe, an hour-and-a-half drive from Augusto Cesar Sandino International Airport, will offer rates beginning at $750 per night. Rates include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks; non-alcoholic beverages; one ATV per accommodation; and select activities on property. For reservations and additional information, visit www.nekupe.com.

Nicaragua, known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, is Central America’s hottest travel destination. It offers travelers one-of-a-kind experiences due to its vast natural beauty – all set amidst a backdrop of striking colonial architecture, charming culture and the warmth of its people.

About Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat

Nicaragua’s first luxury countryside resort, Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, is an intimate eight-room property located on a 1,300-acre nature reserve. Offering a seamless confluence of sustainable nature-based design with Feng Shui influences, rich Nicaraguan culture and warm hospitality, the property effortlessly blends with the environment to nurture exploration, adventure and wellbeing. Nekupe is the vision of Nicaraguan philanthropists Don Alfredo and Doña Theresita Pellas, avid travelers and adventure enthusiasts whose commitment to nature is exhibited through the resort’s core principles of respect and stewardship of the environment.

Contacts

Murphy O’Brien Public Relations
MJ Salcido
310.453.2539
nekupe@murphyobrien.com

Source: First Luxury Countryside Resort Opens in Nicaragua | Business Wire

You say Cuba. I say Nicaragua. Let’s call the whole thing off | IOL

With the demand for Cuba extremely high at present, there are other alternatives to consider, writes Simon Calder.

 / 28 October 2016, 8:00pm
SIMON CALDER
Jesus del gran poder

Penitents carry a statue of Jesus Christ during the ‘Jesus del gran poder’ procession in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua.

Question: We tried to book for Cuba for a week’s holiday post-Christmas, but the travel agent said it was full to bursting and suggested Nicaragua instead, flying in and out via Miami. Would you agree it’s a good alternative?

Name withheld

 

Answer: Demand for Cuba is extremely high at present, with such limited tourism infrastructure relative to demand, it’s not unreasonable to describe it as full – especially in the capital, Havana.

Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, doesn’t do 1950s American cars and music in quite the same way as Cuba, but it is a superb destination in its own right. The scenery is dramatically volcanic; there are a couple of beautiful Spanish colonial cities in the shapes of Leon and Granada; and an indulgent Pacific beach resort, San Juan del Sur.

You might notice I have not mentioned the capital, Managua; that’s because it was flattened by an earthquake and resembles a scattering of scruffy suburbs rather than a proper city. There are, though, some colourful markets.

My one concern is the length of the journey. In the absence of direct flights from the UK to Nicaragua, the connections are gruelling – and involve the daunting prospect of US immigration.

With only a week, you might consider flying non-stop on to San Jose and driving up the Pan-American Highway from the Costa Rican capital.

Source: You say Cuba. I say Nicaragua. Let’s call the whole thing off | IOL

We get a lot of Canadian visitors to El Porton Verde, and when I mentioned something about how “Americans” from the USA can finally begin to travel to Cuba, I wondered out loud if that will affect the number of visitors from the USA. She said to me “Don’t worry, because more Americans in Cuba means more Canadians in Nicaragua!” 🙂

So yes, folks, if everything is booked in Cuba, take a look at coming to Nicaragua instead. You can always go to Cuba after the rush is over!

Nicaragua attracts more tourists with its waves

Yohany Lopez 07/14/2016 663

Pacific beaches of Nicaragua have become attractive enough for most tourists come to surf. The data from the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur) show that between 2013 and 2014 the percentage of tourists who entered the country and made surfing increased 28.1 percent. Statistics confirm that in 2013 the 1.22 million tourists who came to Nicaragua, 25.2 percent surfed in the Pacific beaches mostly while in 2014 this share increased to 32.5 percent of the 1.32 overnight visitors National territory. Read: Waves catch more tourists in the country Lucy Valenti, president of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) explains that this is one of the main activities that places the country on the global map, not only have good surfing waves, but because it attracts investment and other tourists interested in domestic supply. “It’s coming people willing to invest. Thirty percent of those who have homes in the first developments in the area of Rivas are surfers and we believe that this activity increases the stay and spending, “Valenti said.

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

AMERICANS LEADERS OF THE PREFERENCE

Intur data, updated to 2014, clearly indicated that the 429.481 tourists who made surf on that date, 46.6 percent came from North America, followed by South Americans, with a share of 42.6 percent. For Valenti, Nicaragua “has tremendous potential to focus on surfing and not only that, but it attracts new business investment, tourism development in areas and expansion of residential ranging from Chinandega to San Juan del Sur in Rivas “he added after being consulted yesterday at the Superior Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP).

You can read: Five tourist destinations that can explode Nicaragua

A LATINO CHAMPIONSHIP

In this context will take place this Saturday Claro Nicaragua Latin Pro Surf Classic 2016 on the shores of Playa Hermosa, in Rivas, and is organized by the Latin American Association of Surfing Professionals (ALAS). Pre-registration can be made on the web www.alaslatintour.com until today July 14 at 9:00 pm (local time in Nicaragua). For his part, the president of COSEP, Jose Adan Aguerri, said it is a private effort and only coinciding with the arrival of 18 models for Maxim magazine. “The models come from Europe, Australia, United States, Canada and in their social networks together total more than twenty million followers, with whom we can have a high impact, because they will shoot” Aguerri said.

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

LAPRENSA/CORTESÍA ALAS

Good weekend

For the president of the National Chamber of Tourism, Lucy Valenti, the fact that the next July 19 is a national holiday and for workers in the States is day off on July 20 and those dates are near the weekend, they represent an opportunity for entrepreneurs across the country earning more income. “We believe that all those weekends that are close to holidays are very good for the dynamics of hotels and restaurants that welcome visitors, mostly nationals,” said Valenti. See:

Source: Nicaragua seduce a más turistas con sus olas – La Prensa

Frenchman Mr. Villain: lucky to survive a non-guided hike on Consiguina Volcano, #Nicaragua

Private Shuttle or drivers, – Managua Forum – TripAdvisor

Re: Private Shuttle or drivers, Feb 14, 2016, 4:41 PM

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 754 posts 22 reviews 2.

Greetings WM: Try NicaRoads for shuttle service to Leon. You’ll probably get to Leon at about 11:30 pm and will pay around $80 for the service. Alternatively, you can stay somewhere nearer to Managua (and yes there are nice places to stay around Managua!) get to sleep earlier, and after breakfast the next morning arrange to take the microbus from La UCA to Leon in the morning for $2 per person. Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Private Shuttle or drivers, – Managua Forum – TripAdvisor

Easter Week Trip – Insight Please – Granada Forum – TripAdvisor

Easter Week Trip – Insight Please

Our family Spring Break falls the week leading up to Easter, which I learned is a big holiday in Nicaragua. We are staying in SJDS part of the time and I’m looking at staying in Granada. I understand large crowds fill the area, which is nice, but will we still gain the relaxing experience of Nic that we were hoping for? My boys are 9 & 11, will the crowds be “appropriate” for them? Should we reserve all our activities now so they don’t fill up? Is Granada as busy as SJDS? Should we stay close to the town or up near the volcanos? Any insight is GREATLY appreciated!!! A goal of this trip is for my boys to learn to be more humbled and increase their appreciation for what they have, by experience another culture as well as building great family memories. THANKS in advance for your insight!
Sunday Funday, Easter Week,

Family-friendly during Easter Week? Not at Sunday Funday!

7. Re: Easter Week Trip- Insight Please Feb 14, 2016, 4:29 PM

elportonverde Managua, Nicaragua Level Contributor 754 posts 22 reviews

Greetings TCUangelBuckeyeMom: If one of the goals for your family is to see what Nicaragua is about and how Nicaraguans live and work, then going to SJdS and Granada would be the places where IMO you are least likely to have that sort of experience as they are the most touristy destinations in Nicaragua. So if it’s not too late, I’d look to stay elsewhere frankly.

Normally both Granada and San Juand del Sur are perfectly fine places to visit, especially for first time visitors, but during this time of year it’s a different scene entirely. Especially SJdS is absolutely nuts during Easter week. Last year a pedestrian bridge fell with hundreds of people on it for example, plus yes your boys will get a real eyeful of mostly young adults doing things they probably wouldn’t do in their hometowns…think of a much younger Key West scene on a Pacific beach and you pretty much have the idea as to what SJdS is about.

Another place to look into if you decide to stay out of Granada, in Laguna de Apoyo instead, is San Simian; they have a great host and fantastic location/infrastructure. And as far as a beach place goes, your best bet to stay away from the crowds is a place not served by public bus. So for example, Punta Teonoste, Rancho Santana or Playa Iguana beaches near Tola instead of SJdS. They are private beaches that will not be terribly crowded.

Usually I would recommend Playa Gigante but that is served by public bus from Rivas so will get super crowded during Semana Santa. Some people go up to the mountains in the Matagalpa/Jinotega area to get away from both the heat and the crowds. That might be another option for your family as you are much more likely to have some real interaction with Nicaraguans. Cheers, Mike @ El Portón Verde, Managua

Source: Easter Week Trip- Insight Please – Granada Forum – TripAdvisor

Visiting Nicaragua during Easter Week can be really fun, but some spots will be very crowded with locals who go to the beaches and lakes and camp out for as many days during the week that they possibly can. In places like San Juan del Sur, this means the town is jammed with both national and international tourists partying their brains out basically.

The original poster of this question was planning a trip with her family during Easter Week with stops in San Juan del Sur and Granada, both of which will be full of people. My suggestion is to go to a beach that isn’t publically accessible and to stay outside of Granada in Laguna de Apoyo if they want to be in that area.

Nicaragua Follows Its Own Path In Dealing With Drug Traffickers : Parallels : NPR

The Management Of Crime

On the surface, it seems like the Nicaraguan government is doing quite a bit to fight the drug war and that Bluefields is a place of perdition. But reality is more complicated.

Cocaine’s Influence on Nicaragua’s Miskito Coast

Nicaragua — the largest country in Central America — has a lengthy coastline on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. With its remote location, Bluefields is well placed to serve as a pit stop along the corridor where drugs travel from the South American producers to U.S. consumers. What’s more, the cocaine moving through Nicaragua’s territory represents a higher share of GDP than any other Central American country, which in the words of the U.N.’s Office on Drugs and Crime, should give traffickers greater leverage to both sow more corruption and foment violence. Instead, like the rest of Nicaragua, Bluefields is an outlier. For instance, its murder rate is relatively low. According to numbers compiled by the Mexican think tank The Citizen Council for Public Security and Penal Justice, San Pedro Sula in Honduras is the murder capital of the world with a homicide rate of 169 intentional homicides per 100,000 people; Belize City has a murder rate of 105. According to Nicaraguan government data, Bluefields has a homicide rate of 42 — just a touch lower than that of Detroit.

Source: Nicaragua Follows Its Own Path In Dealing With Drug Traffickers : Parallels NPR

About the Approach to Drug Trafficking in Nicaragua

The money quote: “Nicaragua administers, manages its organized crime,”

This is the best article I’ve found describing the approach Nicaragua takes to the so-called “drug war” and it makes all the sense in the world to me now. When I first learned about this approach to Drug Trafficking from Nicaragua Insiders, it sounds so wrong to someone raised up on the typical propoganda! When I heard:

“Because in Nicaragua, there is only one mafia,” Orozco says. “And that mafia controls the entire national territory.”

When asked who that mafia is, Orozco laughs nervously, delivering a roundabout answer before finally saying, “When I say that Nicaragua manages organized crime, I mean that the business deals are made with representatives from the state.”

In other words, Nicaragua essentially regulates the drug trade.

To understand this better, one can look at the results, which show that in comparison with Mexico and the other Central American countries, Nicaragua has maintained a low level of violent crime. So if it works, who are we to judge? As always, comments welcome!