Gary T. LaVanchy


The southwest region of Nicaragua has experienced significant growth related to tourism development over the past decade. This growth has led to increased infrastructure, revenue, and employment opportunities for many local communities along the Pacific coast. Not surprisingly, it has also brought concomitant issues of deeper poverty, widening gaps between rich and poor, and increased use of natural resources. My research proposes to advance the understanding of the impact of tourism related development in a way that accounts for changes in local environments, access to basic natural resources, and local experiences and perceptions. The objective of my research is to assess water supply availability amidst the growing challenges of tourism development in the Playa Gigante area. It proposes to answer the questions:

  1. 1)can local groundwater resources sustain the demand for freshwater imposed by increased tourism development?

  1. 2)is there a power relationship between tourism  development and control over local freshwater that would prove inequitable to local populations?


I am an EPA STAR Fellow and PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Denver.  I am in the dissertation writing stage of my program (based in Denver, Colorado).

I am a member of AAG, GSA, and CLAG.


Matthew J. Taylor, PhD

Areas of Interest:

Human-Environment Interactions

Political Ecology

Cultural Geography

Latin America Geography




AM      University of Chicago

                   Social Sciences

BA      Wheaton College

                Geology, Education