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Introduction

Managua - vana katedraal

Managua - vana katedraal

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Managua is Nicaragua's capital and its largest city. It was founded in 1819 as a fishing village, but soon was seen as a prospect for the nation's capital, due to its location halfway between rival cities Granada and León. In 1852, it was declared the nation's capital and has since grown into the political, cultural and economic centre of the country. While there aren't a great deal of attractions in Managua to entice travellers, the city does have a handful of worthwhile sites. Most of these can be found in the city's ruined old centre. Among these are the Old Cathedral and the National Palace of Culture, an impressive building that now houses the National Library, National Archive and National Museum.

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Sights and Activities

  • Old Cathedral of Managua (Catedral de Santiago) - Ruins of the city's old cathedral are a remembrance of the damage caused by a 1972 earthquake that destroyed much of central Managua. Due to structural damage caused by the earthquake, it's fenced with barbed wire and can't be entered.
  • Museum National Palace of the Culture (Palacio Nacional) - The first floor of the old national palace is now a museum featuring several salons with exhibits highlighting the indigenous Nahuatl people and the 2,500 year old stone sculptures they left behind. A smattering of popular arts and cultural exhibits round out the museum, which also features a beautiful courtyard garden. A library (free entry; open Monday to Friday only) is on the second floor Adult: 5 USD museum admission. Guided tour in Spanish and English may be included.
  • Rotonda Ruben Dario - There is a lovely fountain at the Ruben Darío Rotonda that is lit up at night and visible from Tiscapa. It is also often used as a landmark for reference purposes.
  • Tiscapa Lagoon - Fresh water lagoon in the crater of an extinct volcano. As of 2016, the lake itself and its wooded shores, with some paths and stairs, are fenced off and are off limits to visitors; however, you can sneak a peak at it from the road south of the lake (Pista Benjami Zeledon), or enjoy a better view from the Loma de Tiscapa Park just north of the lagoon (see below)
  • Parque Loma de Tiscapa (Enter the park from the north, near Hotel Crowne Plaza) - The barren hill on the northern lip of the crater of the Laguna de Tiscapa, known as Loma de Tiscapa used to be the site of the presidential palace and the headquarters of the National Guard in the Somoza era (until they were destroyed in the earthquake of 1972); political prisoners were tortured in a prison close by. This is where you'll also find the landmark silhouette of Augusto C Sandino (with a little American tanquette next to it), as well as military memorials. The hill offers the best views in town, both to the downtown and Lake Mangua to the north, and to the Carretera a Masaya area to the south. This is also the starting point of the Ticapa Canopy Tour; when in operation, zip-lines over the lagoon let you fly across the water in a harness (for a fee).
  • Museum of Ancient footprints of Acahualinca (Museo Sitio Huellas de Acahualinca), ☎ +505 2266 5774. M-F : 8AM to 5PM / Sa-Su : 9AM to 4PM. Footprints of a group of around 10 people that walked towards the lake 6000 years ago. The tracks were found 4 meters below the surface and were preserved thanks to a nearby volcano eruption. Note that this museum is located in a rough neighbourhood. Taking a taxi is highly recommended. Adult: 4 USD.
  • New Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de la Purísima Concepción), 14 Avenida Sureste (Near Rotonda Rubén Darío) - Designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta and completed in Sept. 1993, some find this unusual Catholic church to be fascinating. Some find the roof's 63 domes to be sleek and mosque-like. Free.
  • Parque de la Paz, Área Monumental - Your chance to see a lot of grayish-white concrete poured over AK-47s and one tank, which is supposed to symbolize everlasting peace in Nicaragua now that the Contra war is over.
  • Asososca Lagoon (Laguna de Asososca) (NW of the junction of Carretera Carretera Nueva a Leon and Carretera Vieja a Leon, and of the US Embassy) - Larger than the Tiscapa Lagoon, the Asososca Lagoon is also fenced in, and officially closed to the public; apparently it's part of the city's water supply. As of 2016, the water company has been replacing parts of the old dilapidated fence. The lagoon can be seen from certain vantage points nearby, and its near-vertical walls are rather stunning.

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Events and Festivals

Fiesta del Toro Venado

This festival typically falls in the last Sunday of October, in the region of Masaya (close to Managua and Granada). It is a Nicaraguan dance festival that begins at noon, and ends at sunset, and is based on superstitions similar to Halloween. People create and wear masks for the processions.

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Weather

Managua has a tropical climate with generally hot and humid conditions. Temperatures are around or just above 30 degrees Celcius during the day most of the year and most areas are still above 20 degrees Celcius at night. Nicaragua has two seasons regarding rainfall. A dry and slightly cooler November to April season and a wet season (but not raining all day) during May to October. Hurricanes occasionally hit the country from July/August onwards.

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Getting There

By Plane

International
Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) near Managua is where planes depart and arrive. TACA has international flights to and from Miami, Los Angeles, San Salvador and San José in Costa Rica. Other destinations include Guatemala City, Panama City, Havana, Montreal, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale and several other regional destinations.

Domestic
La Costena has services to the following domestic destinations: Bluefields, Corn Islands, Minas, Puerto Cabezas, San Carlos and Waspam. Atlantic Airlines has domestic flights as well to the same destinations. Taca Regional has some services as well.

By Car

Relatively well maintained roads lead to/from the capital, and renting a car gives you ultimate freedom to explore.

By Bus

Buses travel between Managua and San José in Costa Rica and to San Salvador in El Salvador. Some continue all the way to Guatemala and Panama. Try Ticabus and Transnica for some examples of international connections.

Nicaraguan bus schedules, including those to and from Managua, can be found at thebusschedule.com.

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Getting Around

By Car

There are some car rental companies in the city, but best not to use the car in the city as its traffic can be a nightmare.

Private taxis are the most popular option among tourists. The taxi is yours and picks up no one along the way. The fastest service in Managua also is the most expensive. These taxis have the most space and the most personal protection. If you have cargo, ensure that you hail a taxi that has a trunk. Not all cars are equipped with one.

By Public Transport

Managua has an extensive public bus system, with some numbered routes which can be convenient for travellers.

Collective taxis work similar to buses: they pick up passengers on the route that you travel on. Usually this means that 3-4 passengers ride in a car with a common or similar destination. This is the fastest transport available in Managua, the cost is also friendly given that the fare is split evenly among the riders.

By Foot

Much of central Managua can be explored on foot.

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Eat

  • Los Ranchos - steak house that is so good, it spawned a chain in South Florida. Has been popular with locals for lunch and dinner since the days of Somoza. During that time, the politicians on opposite side of the conflict would run into each other here on a regular basis. Service is impeccable. They serve a churrasco that is hard to beat for flavor and tenderness. Order it with a gin Martini for appetizer. Located about 3 blocks north of estatua de Montoya. $$.
  • La Plancha - Steak house at its best and finest. Dare you to try it and not say its one of the best steaks you ever had tried in your life. Their signature plate is the name of the restaurant: La Plancha. Comes with mashed potatoes and plantains on a hot grill. $$.
  • Le Café de Paris - the best French restaurant in town. Taken care personally by its proprietor and chef, Jeaninne. Very good wines. Ask for its famous foie gras, green salad and pepper steak. Located in Los Robles. $$$.

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Drink

  • Toro Huaco, in the Zona Rosa across from the Picoteo - Outdoor restaurant bar that is comfortable with large groups. Sit under the stars on clear nights. Open mike night on Thursdays for joke telling is good night to get to know the Nicaraguan sense of humor. Owner speaks English fluently.
  • Music Lounge - 2 blocks north of the Texaco in Altamira. Outdoor/indoor music bar that plays a range of music. Nice lighting and atmosphere. Show up with friends.
  • El Caramanchel, Del Hospital Militar,3 cuadras al Norte - Cultural bar with a good mix of foreigners and Nicas.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Elena BorgenBello Horizonte VI Etapa 217 Del Experimental Mexico 4 C. Arriba 2 C.Guesthouse46
Hotel Camino RealKm 9.5 Carretera Norte Carretera NorteHotel93
Hotel DLidoAuto Nica 2 1/2c al sur Km 3 Carretera surHotel76
Hotel EuropeoDel Canal 2, 75 vrs abajo Residencial BoloniaHotel68
Hotel TicomoKm 8 1/2 Carretera SurHotel-
Managua Backpackers InnColonial Los Robles Monte Los Olivos 1 c. Norte, 1 c. Oeste, ½ c. Norte Casa #55Hostel82
Nicaragua Guest HouseBello Horizonte Vi Etapa 217 Rotonda Larreynaga 2 C. Sur 2 1/2 AbajoGuesthouse65
Marlenes Bed and BreakfastCuadro al Oeste Cuadro al SurGUESTHOUSE72
Angel Azul Hotel BoutiqueVilla Fontana 17Hotel-
Managua Hills Bed and BreakfastFrom Main Entrance of Las Colinas 2 Blocks East 2 Blocks SouthGuesthouse-
Hotel Villa AngeloDel Hospital Militar 3 cuadras al Norte 2 1/2 cuadras Oeste. BoloniaHotel-
Hotel Casa Naranjakm 4 1/2 Carretera MasayaHOTEL-
Hotel ShalomDe Montoya Calle 27 de mayo.HOTEL-
El Gueguensede la Estatua de Montoya una y media cuadra al surHOTEL68
Hotel Colonnade NicaraguaAltamira plans, Pharaohs Casino, 1C. North West 30HOTEL-
Farmstay El Porton VerdeRoad to Masaya, Km 10.5 from San Anton Green Gate on LeftGUESTHOUSE-
Hotel El AlmendroRotonda Metrocentro 1 cuadra al sur, 3 cuadras alHOTEL-
Hostal La Casa de los AbuelosHospital Infantil 1 1/2 c. Norte.GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Real AltamiraAvenida principal de Altamira D. EsteHOTEL-
Hostal Doña IdaColonial Los Robles, de la uno Plaza el Sol 3 cuadras al sur 2 y media al oeste, casa No 73GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel Villa AmericanaPlanes de Altamiria No. 12 Km 4.5 Carretera MasayaHOTEL-
Backpackers ManahuacHotel Seminole 1 cuadra oeste, 4 cuadras al surHOSTEL65

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes can be found in most larger cities and popular areas, but even in smaller towns you will usually be able to connect somewhere.
Wifi is generally free at most hotels, with the notable exception of larger chain hotels, which generally charge between US$3 and US$8 per day.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international phone code of Nicaragua is 505. The general emergency number is 911, though you can contact police (118), fire (115) and ambulance (128) separately if you want.

Nicaragua's cell phone system utilizes GSM 1900 technology. So, if you have a GSM phone that supports the 1900 band you can either use your phone as is at international rates or if your cell phone is unlocked , you can purchase a SIM card for your phone and you will have a local cell number and be charged local cell rates. Both Claro and Movistar provide cell phone service in the country. Claro is run by the old national phone company (ENITEL) that has now been privatized.

Another option is to buy a cell phone locally. Disposable cell phones are quite inexpensive, usually costing about US$20.

You can also purchase local prepaid phone cards that can be used at pay phone across the country. The different pay phone systems each have their own phone cards, so pay attention to which type you purchase.

Post

Correos de Nicaragua provides postal services. It's fairly cheap but not extremely reliable or fast. Post offices are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Airmail postage for a standaard letter or postcard from Nicaragua to North America is US0.60 and US$1 to Europe. Mail takes on average between 7 and 10 days to get to the U.S. and Europe. Though it's fine for sending a postcard, you'd better use companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx to send parcels internationally.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 12.14746
  • Longitude: -86.27339

Accommodation in Managua

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This is version 18. Last edited at 10:52 on Dec 5, 16 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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