The plans were drawn up. Negotiations were in the final stages. They even started dredging the sand from the mouth of the great Rio San Juan. Nicaragua was tantalisingly close to getting what we now know as the ‘Panama canal’. Tantalisingly close to receiving the biggest economic boost the country could ever imagine. Apparently, in the final days Panama released some smart propaganda claiming that with the high density of volcano’s and the recent volcanic activity in Nicaragua – surely it was highly dangerous to build such an important trading waterway in the country? It worked, and now it is Panama who enjoys the benefits of the canal. With over 14,000 boats passing through every year at an average fee of US$30,000 per vessel, it is big business.

Now it depends if you are a passionate naturist or a fervent capitalist as to whether you think Nicaragua losing the canal is a good or a bad thing. Because If Nicaragua had won the canal it is almost 100% certain that it would have been a disaster for the nature of the country as the Rio San Juan is the largest tract of primary rainforest north of the Amazon and it is full of wonderful birdlife, as well as turtles, caimans, crocodiles and a huge diversity of fishlife.

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