Nicaragua is the largest nation in Central America, but also the least densely populated with a demographic similar in size to its smaller neighbors. It is located about midway between Mexico and Colombia, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. Nicaragua ranges from the Atlantic Ocean on the nation's east coast, and the Pacific Ocean bordering the west. Nicaragua also possesses a series of islands and cays located in the Atlantic Ocean. The country's name is derived from Nicarao, the name of the Nahuatl-speaking tribe which inhabited the shores of Lake Nicaragua before the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water, due to the presence of the large Lake Cocibolca (or Lake Nicaragua) and Lake Managua (or Lake Xolotlán), as well as lagoons and rivers in the region.
The population in Nicaragua, hovering at approximately 6 million, is multiethnic. Segments of the population include indigenous native tribes from the Mosquito Coast, Europeans, Africans, Asians and people of Middle Eastern origin. The main language is Spanish, although native tribes on the eastern coast speak their native languages. Of the Spanish speaking countries in Central America, Nicaragua is where the use of the voseo form of address is most widespread. The mixture of cultural traditions has cultivated a substantial amount of diversity in art, cuisine, literature, and music. Nicaragua has earned itself recognition and various colloquial names in reference to its geographic location, cultural achievements and recent economic development. The Central American Volcanic Arc runs through the spine of the country, earning Nicaragua its commonly known colloquial name: La Tierra de Lagos y Volcanes, which translates to: The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. Nicaragua's biological diversity, warm tropical climate, and active volcanoes make it an increasingly popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. The country has also been dubbed La Tierra de Poetas: The Land of Poets, due to various literary contributions of renown Nicaraguan writers, including Ruben Dario, Ernesto Cardenal and Gioconda Belli. Lastly, due to its biological diversity and competitively low priced accommodations for tourists, Nicaragua has also gained international attention of its touristic offerings.