Managua

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Travel Guide Central America Nicaragua Managua

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Introduction

Managua - vana katedraal

Managua - vana katedraal

© All Rights Reserved jakokruuse

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

A good breakfast is Leche Agria - a homemade yogurt like drink. Look for signs advertising it in store fronts and pulperias. Put a little salt on it and eat it with tortilla.

  • 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.
  • Asados El Gueguense: great local cuisine. Large selection of local meat dishes. Restaurant Website.
  • La Cocina de Doña Haydée: a good taste of local Nicaraguan cuisine. 3 Locations - Original off the Carretera Masaya km 4.5 (not far from Metrocentro), another near the Rotonda Bello Horizonte and the last in the food court at Metrocentro.
  • Casa del Cafe for good coffee and breakfast. Four locations, one in Los Robles, one on the second floor of Metrocentro, one in Galerias Santo Domingo and one after the security check at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.
  • Sushi Itto, in case you have a craving. Three locations, one in Carretera Masaya (in Plaza Familiar), one in Galerias Santo Domingo, and one in Plaza Caracol.
  • La Cueva del Buzo - great seafood freshly caught. Must go if you can afford it.
  • El Rincon Salvadoreno - fantastic Salvadorian pupusas and fruit juices in a pleasant outdoor area.

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Drink

There are tons of bars in the area south of the big BAC building downtown, find an abandoned place called Lacmiel and head east to find this zone.
There are also a few bars and restaurants around Zona Hippos. Woody's has good wings, Pirata's is a popular local restaurant/bar and Tercer Ojo is a more upscale resto-lounge with fusion cuisine. This area is west of the traffic light at Hilton Princess and La Union supermarket.
The Zona Rosa is an area with bars and restaurants that has sprung up in what was once a mostly residential area. It is located south of the BAC building. Highlights include Pharaoh's casino, Casa del Cafe, bars east of Lacmiel, la Casa del Baho restaurant, and Hipa Hipa bar.
There are also bars and restaurants in the new "Zona Viva" in Galerias Santo Domingo.

  • 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.
  • HipaHipa. Exclusive Club on Carretera Masaya. Entrance can be C$150, parties Wed, Fri, Sat.
  • Moods, in Galeria Santo Domingo located on Carretera Masaya. Fanciest and Hippest disco in Managua. Entrance can be C$150-300, parties W-Sa.
  • Broder, in Zona Rosa. Disco with entry fee up to C$150, parties Th-Sa.
  • Arribas, in Zona Rosa on top of Broder. A good atmosphere, sometimes live music.
  • Art Cafe. Art Cafe is a very nice place for listening to live alternative music and have a tranquil evening. It has a colorful bohemian looks and art on their walls and in the vibe of the place and the people that frequent it in general. Go there by taxi, ask for "Art Cafe, en frente del Parque las Palmas".

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Sleep

  • Holiday Inn Select Managua. 8 kilometres from airport, full service hotel, free Internet, free car rental with room, hotel and convention center.
  • Hospedaje Luciernaga Radio Sandino 75 mts east, Tel: 222 6570; US$10 for a room with private Bathroom (close to the Trans-Nica-Bus Terminal, Taxi ca. US$1).
  • Hotel Yolaina, From semaforos de enitel Villa Fontana 200 metres west, 50 metres north, 50 metres east, ☎ +505 22771337. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. 24 rooms, each equipped with air conditioning, hot water, wireless Internet, and cable TV. Hotel has 24 hour security, a pool and breakfast is included. 5 minutes from Galeria Santo Domingo and Metro Centro, 3 minutes from Pharaohs, Chinese Embassy, and Zona Hippos. Manager speaks English. Airport pickup/dropoff is available. Discounted rates for long term stays. US$35-50/night.
  • Hilton Princess Managua. 8 kilometres from the airport and mere steps from some of the best bars & restaurants in town. Great staff.
  • Santos Guest House is the most renowned budget place in town - or at least the cheapest. This place might be handy for backpackers. Don't expect too much from the DIY plumbing and electrical wiring, but you will get your own bathroom/shower.

Bolonia, home of Hotel Santos, contains a host of US$5–15/night (negotiable) hostels within a few blocks of the Tica Bus station. Walk around and visit a few before you choose one.

  • Hotel Europa has clean, comfortable rooms for about US$30/night. It is owned by a Spanish guy. Located near the Crowne Plaza (one block al lago, one west, one block al lago).
  • Crowne Plaza: This is one of the nicest Crown Plazas around. The service is impeccable, the pool is very nice, and there's marble everywhere. There's a casino and a sushi restaurant, several more restaurants within walking distance, and a small shopping mall across the street. Get a room with lake view and you will see clearly all the way to Teatro Nacional Ruben Dario, the old cathedral, and the old and new government buildings. This hotel was the Intercontinental for years until the new Intercontinental was built at Metrocentro. Before the 1972 earthquake that destroyed Managua, this hotel sat on the hill overlooking the whole city right next to the main military base and Somoza's bunker. It's where everyone who was anyone stayed in Nicaragua until the early 1990s. The EEBI (the elite force of the Guardia Nacional during Somoza's time) and the military academy were a short walk away. It's as if the U.S. advisers and politicos had a dorm right next to the Somoza government. Howard Hughes stayed here when he was in Nicaragua in the 1970s. It is said that he rented three floors for weeks and demanded that the staff not rotate. He met with Somoza about some business, but nothing came of it. Rooms go for US$90–120 a night.
  • Mansion Teodolinda has nice rooms with Air Conditioning, cable TV, a pool and a restaurant. It was the well known house of a family until the revolution, hence it is a landmark and reference point for addresses. The original building was destroyed by the 1972 earthquake, remaining as an empty lot. In 1991 the land was purchased and in 1993 opened to the public with only 7 rooms. As a family business has been slowly growing up to 42 rooms, offering restaurant, meeting facilities, swimming pool. It is located near Hospital Militar (three streets North and two streets west). A double room with breakfast included goes for about US$60.
  • Hotel Colon has been recently refurbished. It is nice, clean and comfortable, yet reasonable and charming. Double occupancy rooms with AC and cable TV. Breakfast included, free parking in front. Location: south of the BAC building, east of Lacmiel about 2 blocks.
  • Los Balcones (near the Spanish embassy) in Las Colinas close to Managua is a family run hotel with rooms that start at US$25/night. 24 hour security. The owner speaks English, but the rest of the family and the principals of the staff don't. Breakfast is available. Rooms have air conditioning and cable, Wireless Internet for free, refrigerator, pool, safe parking. The hotel's slogan is "One Bed - One Bathroom" The only downside is the traffic during the day if you're on the street side of the hotel; luckily not when you are sleeping. A big plus is the view of downtown Managua from the balconies. Some mornings are just amazing. Contact E-Mail losbalcones@cablenet.com.ni or at Phone 505-255-0031, ending 2 and 3.
  • Managua Backpackers Inn, ☎ +505 2267-0006, +505 8414-4114 (mobile). Colonial Los Robles, 3era etapa, Casa #55, De donde fue Chaman 75 varas al sur. This hostel is centrally located in the heart of modern downtown Managua, and offers guests a wide range of accommodation options and features. In less than 10 minutes you can walk to the MetroCentro shopping center, cinemas, parks, casinos, supermarkets, Zona Hippos, and over 50 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The surroundings are very clean and secure allowing guests to explore at any time without worry. Airport transfers take 30 minutes, and a shuttle service is available for guests. Dormitory or private rooms, shared kitchen, pool, hot showers, air conditioning, free wireless internet and a relaxed comfortable atmosphere. Dorms from US$8/night. edit
  • Real InterContinental Metrocentro Managua, Costado Sur Centro Comercial Metrocentro, carretera Masaya, ☎ +505 2 2768989, fax: +505 2 2768988. 157 rooms with wireless high speed internet, 7 suites, rooms and executive floors. It offers its guests the services of restaurant and bar, gym, spa, pool, gift shop and print service. US$150-600.
  • Casa de doña Elba Tapia, Barrio la Luz. Homestay house. It is located in a safe and friendly neighborhood in Managua, on the same block as Viva Spanish School.It has comfortable rooms with bathroom. For more information call at 2702751.
  • Hotel Beneficial Las Palmas, De la estatua de Montoya, 3 cuadras al Oeste,1½ cuadra al Norte (Turn right at the Bridgestone Tire by the Statue Montoya), ☎ +505-2250-0075. Check-in: noon, check-out: 2PM. Hotel Beneficial is next to the Parque Las Palmas. A king bed, internet in every room, cable tv, air conditioning, and access to the pool. Computers are in the lobby for free use. Beverages and snacks are available 24 hours a day. Full breakfast is included -- always cooked fresh for each guest. Lunch and dinners are available at reasonable rates. US$53 includes tax.
  • Hotel Dulce Hogar B&B, Bosques de Altamira Avenida principal El Chipote #449. Managua, Nicaragua (De donde fue Lozelsa ahora gasolinera Petronic La centroamerica, 2 cuadras y 75 varas al lago), ☎ +505 22770865, +505 22705936, +1-(305) 704-7178. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. A small,nice and cozy family run hotel. The friendly staff love to make travelers feel like home.The hotel is located on the main avenue of residential neighborhood in West side of Managua founded by in the 1970s with an increasing commercial transformation since 1995. Close to Zona Rosa, Zona Viva, Hippos and Metrocentro.8 comfortable rooms for one, two or three guests with full breakfast included. Air conditioning, private bathroom, hot water shower, hair dryer, remote controlled cable TV, radio-alarm clock, in-room safe box and telephone. Free Wireless Internet access at and computer use in business center. Cafeteria service by demand. 24Hrs reception and video surveillance. US$30-$50.

View our map of accommodation in Managua or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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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

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Managua searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Managua and areas nearby.

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This is version 21. Last edited at 7:20 on Aug 8, 18 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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