The Port of Corinto lies on Nicaragua’s northwestern Corinto Bay shores in Chinandega Province about 160 kilometers northwest of Managua. Located on the southern end of Aserradores Island at Punta Icaco, the Port of Corinto is connected to the mainland by bridges.
The Harbor Authority of Corinto was established in 1956. In 1980, the Nicaraguan government created the Empresa Nacional de Puertos (ENAP) to govern all of the country’s facilities, including the Port of Corinto, under a single authority. In 1995, the Empresa Portuaria Nacional (EPN) was created as a successor to ENAP.
Today, EPN has responsibility for six Nicaraguan ocean ports (three on the Atlantic and three on the Pacific, including the Port of Corinto) and seven lake ports. EPN has efforts underway to modernize all of the ports to make them more competitive in the world’s ocean-going trade community.
The Port of Corinto is the biggest and most important port in the country for inbound cargo and passengers, and it handles most of Nicaragua’s exports. Exports are dominated by cotton, coffee, timber, sugar, and hides.
With an excellent natural protected harbor, the Port of Corinto occupies a critical strategic position for Nicaragua’s ocean-going trade. It is connected by highway, open year-round, with mainland Nicaragua.
In the mid-1980s, the Port of Corinto was damaged by attacks allegedly organized by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in its attempts to sabotage both the Port of Corinto and the city’s oil refinery. The attacks destroyed almost three million gallons of fuel, and most of the city’s 16 thousand residents were evacuated. In 1998, large parts of the Port of Corinto were destroyed by Hurricane Mitch.