Visiting Managua, The Capital of Nicaragua
Located on the southwestern shores of Lake Nicaragua, Managua has been the capital of Nicaragua since the 1800’s. The largest city in Nicaragua in both population and size, Managua was originally a sleepy rural fishing community. It gained its current prominence primarily because of its position between the bickering communities of Leon and Granada. Currently, Managua’s economy is based primarily on trade and the business of government. Managua also serves an important cultural center and sets the tone and pace for much of what happens throughout Nicaragua.
The area where Managua is now located, was home to Paleo-Indians dating as far back as 6000 years. Human footprints more than 2100 years old were discovered preserved in the volcanic mud that surrounds the area, as well as many other remnants of a past society such as statues, ceramics, and ancient tools. More recently, Managua was home to the American filibuster William Walker and his mercenary army in 1857. From that time until the 1930’s, Managua went through rapid growth and urbanization. Located directly on a major fault line, Managua suffered several devastating earthquakes and has been rebuilt several times from the ground up!
Managua is home to several really beautiful and important national treasures. Among one of the most notable is the Plaza of the Revolution, the central focus of Managua’s Historic Center.
Several notable buildings that remained undamaged by the earthquake of 1972, including the Cathedral of Santiago, the Ruben Dario National Theater and the Palace of Culture, still grace the capital. There are also many notable tributes in the form of statues and monuments to important figures in Nicaraguan history.
Another important spot in the city is the Tiscapa Lagoon found just south of the city’s historic district. The site of many important pre-Columbian findings, the lagoon is now also lined with popular restaurants and clubs, as well as lots of new apartment buildings, government and office buildings.
Masaya and Mombacho
From Managua, you can arrange for some fascinating trips to the nearby volcanoes of Masaya and Mombacho. Masaya is one of the most popular volcanoes in Nicaragua because of its accessibility and the fact that you can look straight into bubbling magma. The the tour comes with a visit to a museum to learn all about the history of the volcano and if you wish, a visit to Masaya market.
Mombacho is also easily accessible by car. The difference is, however, that once you reach the ranger station, you can take several hikes around the craters surrounded by lush, green vegetation. There are hikes for all fitness levels.
The dry season is between December and May: this is the perfect time to visit, especially if you plan an visiting some natural sites as well.
US dollars are widely accepted: The local currency is the Cordoba and it is good to keep some on you, but US dollars as well as credit cards are widely accepted.
Keep your belongings close: It may be safest to leave you passport safe at the hotel and only carry a copy with you. Keep your other belongings close and within sight at all times.
Try local dishes at Cocina de Dona Haydee. The soups especially are delicious! For a more upscale dining experience, we highly recommend you visit Gastronomia El Buzo for those who love fine dining and Italian, Mediterranean and seafood. Looking for a quick bite at a low cost? Pass by Quesillos El Pipe.
Where to stay
The Real Intercontinental combines a prime, central location with luxury and comfort. As the perfect launching pad for all the tourist hotspots, it also offers airport shuttles and car rental. Real Intercontinental is also specialized as a business center with 6 conference rooms.