MANAGUA

Nicaragua

Managua is the capital and also the largest city of Nicaragua. The city has a rapidly growing population of roughly 2,200,000, composed predominantly of mestizos and whites; making it the second most populous city in Central America after Guatemala City.

Info Managua

introduction

Managua is the capital and also the largest city of Nicaragua. The city has a rapidly growing population of roughly 2,200,000, composed predominantly of mestizos and whites; making it the second most populous city in Central America after Guatemala City.

Managua is the undisputed commercial, political, cultural and religious center of the country and many new trends originate from here before they affect the rest of the country.

Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in 1852.

Managua's location between the rival cities of León and Granada made it a logical and ideal compromise site in determining the nation's capital. While this decision seemed genius at the time, geology today indicates otherwise, as there is an active fault line right where downtown Managua used to be (before the 1972 earthquake knocked it down, that is). Managua's economy is based mainly on trade. The city is Nicaragua's chief trading center for coffee, cotton, and other crops. It is also an important industrial center. Its chief products for trade include beer, coffee, matches, textiles, and shoes.

The city has been witness to the rise and fall of political powers throughout Nicaragua's history and suffered devastating earthquakes in 1931 and 1972. Managua is the economic, political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of Nicaragua. Since the 1972 earthquake, residential and business areas have been built on the outskirts of Managua. Managua has been dubbed the Venice of Central America because of its escalating use of makeshift canals that can be found throughout the city.

info
POPULATION : City: 2,223,375     /      Metro: 2,408,000
FOUNDED :  1819   /   Capital:1852
TIME ZONE :
LANGUAGE :Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8%
RELIGION :Roman Catholic 58.5%, Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%, Jehovah's Witness 0.9%, other 1.7%, none 15.7%
AREA : City: 544 km2 (210 sq mi) / Urban: 173.7 km2 (67.1 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 9 m (30 ft)
COORDINATES : 12°8′11″N 86°15′5″W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.45%  
 Female: 50.55%
ETHNIC : mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
AREA CODE : 2
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE : +505 2
WEBSITE : www.managua.gob.ni

Tourism

Although it doesn't have the sheer colonial beauty of León and Granada and travelers and expats alike love to complain about the dusty hot streets in the dry season (roughly November to mid May) and the mud and torrential canals in the rainy season (roughly May- mid November), Managua does have some things to offer for the tourist. So it might be worth to spend some time here and not immediately head out on the first bus or plane you can get.


Culture

Managua is Nicaragua's cultural capital, boasting several restaurants, theaters, museums, and a few shopping centers. The city is also home to many communities of immigrants and ex-pats from countries including but not limited to Taiwan, China, Germany, the United States, Palestine, and Latin American countries.

Managua is home to the annual Miss Nicaragua pageant; it is the national beauty pageant of Nicaragua. The pageant is traditionally held at the Rubén Darío National Theater and has been held since 1955.


Festivals

Managua's most famous festival is that of its patron saint Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It starts on the morning of August 1, when the "Bajada del Santo" (walk down of the saint) involves many joyful people walking and carrying the old statue of Santo Domingo from Las Sierritas Church in south Managua to another church across the city to the north, in the area destroyed by the 1972 earthquake. It remains here for ten days until the morning of August 10, when the "Subida del Santo" (walking up of the saint) returns the statue to Las Sierritas Church where it remains for the rest of the year. Thousands of people attend this event which involves dancing, eating, drinking and the marching of musical bands, mainly for traditions that date back to pre-colonial times, or to ask for personal miracles, make promises, or give thanks to the saint. During the parade many people dress up in typical costumes, masks and painted bodies. Among other participants are "carrosas" (art cars and trucks) from local business companies, horseriders coming from Nicaragua and other Central American neighbouring countries to show off their horses, skills, and horserider costumes.


Museums, libraries 

The National Library holds a great amount of volumes and affords abundant bibliographic information about the discovery and independence of Nicaragua. The National Palace of Culture has an exhibition of Nicaraguan art from the time previous to its independence. Inside the National Palace of Culture is the National Museum, containing archaeological finds with some examples of pre-Columbian pottery, statues, and other findings.

Managua is home to an array of art galleries which feature pieces by both national and international artists.

Managua is home to many types of museums, some art museums include the Julio Cortázar Museum and the Archivo Fílmico de la Cinemateca Nacional. Natural history museums include the Museo del Departamento de Malacología UCA, Museo Gemológico de la Concha y el Caracol, and Museo Paleontológico "El Hato". The Santo Domingo de Guzmán Museum is an anthropology museum. History museums include the Museo de la Revolución, Museo Casa Hacienda San Jacinto and Museo Parque Loma de Tiscapa.


Entertainment

Managua features many bars, nightclubs, casinos, theaters and cinemas. Compared to western prices, alcoholic beverages, theatre visits and cinema tickets are relatively inexpensive. There are cinemas in all major shopping centers; screening both English- and Spanish-language films. Foreign embassies in Managua also sponsor film festivals.

Since the late 1990s and early 2000, many casinos and karaoke bars opened and have remained popular attractions for Nicaraguans and foreign visitors. Popular music includes the Palo de Mayo, Merengue, Cumbia and Latin pop among other Latin music genres, as well as American pop and rock. Salsa dancing is a national pastime. Managua boasts a vibrant night life. Nightclubs and bars are abound in Managua, particularly, in the popular areas called "Zona Viva" located in the shopping mall "Galerías Santo Domingo", as well as very close by "Plaza Mi Viejo Santo Domingo" and "Plaza Familiar". Other popular areas are "Zona Hippos" behind the Hilton hotel near Metrocentro and "Zona Rosa".

Aside from these activities, Managua has a wide selection to offer in luxurious shopping malls, boutiques and department stores as well as local markets. In the Mercado Roberto Huembes shoppers can find everything from furniture, national arts and crafts, to fruits and vegetables, and clothing. Pali, La Union, and La Colonia are conventional supermarkets, which are in several areas of the city and sell local and imported ingredients.

History

Nicaragua was inhabited by Paleo-Americans as far back as 6,000 years ago. The ancient footprints of Acahualinca are 2,100-year-old fossils discovered along the shores of Lake Managua. Other archaeological evidence, mainly in the form of ceramics and statues made of volcanic stone, like the ones found on the island of Zapatera, and petroglyphs found in Ometepe island, contribute to the increasing knowledge of Nicaragua's ancient history.

Founded by a pre-Columbian fishing town, the city was incorporated in 1819 and given the name Leal Villa de Santiago de Managua. Efforts to make Managua the capital of Nicaragua began in 1824, after the Central American nations formally attained their independence from Spain. Managua's location between the rival cities of León and Granada made it a logical compromise site.

After Granada was destroyed by a mercenary army led by William Walker in 1857, the capital was firmly established in Managua. Between 1852 and 1930, Managua underwent extensive urbanization; becoming a base of governance, infrastructure and services. The city was hampered by major floods in 1876 and 1885. A disastrous earthquake in 1931 and large fire in 1936 destroyed much of the city. Under the rule of dictator Anastasio Somoza García and his family (1936–1979), the city was rebuilt and began to grow rapidly.

Managua's progress came to a sudden halt after it suffered a second major earthquake on December 23, 1972, which destroyed 90% of the city's downtown and killed more than 19,120 people. Infrastructure was severely damaged and rehabilitation or restoration of buildings was nearly impossible. At the time, Managua's limited resources had to be directed to other disaster relief purposes. Managua's ability to cope with the disaster was also limited. Surviving fire squadrons and ambulance companies were not able to handle the skyrocketing demand for their services. Some buildings burned to the ground, while the foundations of others simply gave way. Not able to rebuild quickly, the city directed emergency workers to clear away much of the city's ruins quickly while burying the deceased in mass graves. Residences, government buildings and entire avenues were demolished. Escaping the city center, earthquake victims found refuge in the outskirts of the city. To add insult to injury, corruption within the Somoza regime which allocated part of the relief funds hindered the reconstruction of the city's center which remains somewhat isolated from the rest of the capital.

The Nicaraguan Civil War of 1979 to overthrow the Somoza regime and the 11-year-long Contra War of the 1980s further devastated the city and its economy. To make matters worse, a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Mitch in 1998, made economic recovery more difficult. After winning the elections of 1990, UNO the reconstruction of Managua began in earnest. More than 300.000 Nicaraguans returned from abroad bringing their expertise and needed capital, businesses mushroomed, new housing projects and schools constructed, the airport expanded and modernized, streets widened, older malls repaired and new ones built, buildings cleaned up, etc. In 2006, after the FSLN came back into power, literacy, health and reconstruction programs were expanded.

Downtown has been partially rebuilt and new governmental buildings, galleries, museums, apartment buildings, squares, promenades, monuments, boat tours in Lake Xolotlan, restaurants, night entertainment, and broad avenues have resurrected part of Managua's downtown former vitality. Commercial activity, however, remains low. Residential and commercial buildings have been constructed on the outskirts of the city, in the same locales that were once used as refuge camps for those who were homeless after the earthquake. These booming locales have been of concern to the government because of their close proximity to Lake Xolotlan. The construction of a new sewer system and the redirecting of waste water to a new water treatment plant at Las Mercedes in Eastern Managua in may of 2009 (US$36.000.000), have relieved old concerns over water pollution and native wildlife have brought some residents closer to the old city center and the rest of the mainland.

Climate

Managua, like much of Western Nicaragua, except for the Sierras to the South, has a tropical climate with constant temperatures averaging between 28 and 32 °C (82 and 90 °F).

 A distinct dry season exists between November and April, while most of the rainfall is received between May and October. Temperatures are highest in March and April, when the sun lies directly overhead and the summer rainfall has yet to begin.

Climate data for Managua, Nicaragua

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)31.0
(87.8)
32.1
(89.8)
33.6
(92.5)
34.3
(93.7)
34.0
(93.2)
31.4
(88.5)
30.9
(87.6)
31.4
(88.5)
30.3
(86.5)
30.8
(87.4)
30.6
(87.1)
30.8
(87.4)
31.8
(89.2)
Average low °C (°F)20.4
(68.7)
20.6
(69.1)
21.7
(71.1)
22.6
(72.7)
23.4
(74.1)
23.0
(73.4)
22.6
(72.7)
22.4
(72.3)
22.2
(72)
22.1
(71.8)
20.9
(69.6)
20.0
(68)
21.8
(71.2)
Source: Wetter Spiegel online

Geography

Managua is located on the southern shores of Lake Xolotlán, also known as Lake Managua. Lake Xolotlán contains the same fish species as larger Lake Cocibolca in southeastern Nicaragua, except for the freshwater sharks found exclusively in the latter. Once a Managuan scenic highlight, the lake has been polluted from the dumping of chemical and waste water since 1927. A new sewer system and the redirecting of waste water to a new waste water treatment plant at Las Mercedes funded by the German government to decontaminate the lake is expected to be the largest in Central America and was inaugurated in 2009.

These works of progress have relieved old concerns over water pollution and the endangering of native wildlife have brought some residents closer to the old city center and the rest of the mainland.

Managua's city area extends about 544 square kilometres (210 square miles), essentially south from the south shore of Lake Managua. The lakeshore is at an altitude of 55 metres (180 ft) above sea level, and the city climbs as it gets towards the Sierras de Managua further south where it is over 700 metres (2,297 feet) above sea level.

Geologically, the city lies on fault lines, thus seismologists predict that Managua will experience a severe earthquake every 50 years or less.

Economy

Managua is the economic center and a generator of services for the majority of the nation. The city, with a population exceeding two million inhabitants, houses many large national and international businesses. It is home to many factories which produce diverse products.Multinational companies such as Wal-Mart, Telefonica, Union Fenosa, and Parmalat have offices and operations in Managua. The city's chief products include beer, coffee, pharmaceuticals, textiles, shoes, matches, construction products, etc. Her main trading products are beef, coffee, cotton, and other crops. Managua is also Nicaragua's main political, social, cultural, educational and economic hub. At the same time, the city is served by the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, the country's primary international gateway, and regional Los Brasiles airport and Punta Huete military air base, recently renewed.

Managua is also home to all of the major banks of the nation, Banco de la Producción (BANPRO), Banco de América Central (BAC), Banco de Finanzas (BDF), Banco de Crédito Centroamericano (Bancentro) and its parent company the Lafise Group. Several new hotels including Crowne Plaza, Best Western, InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Hilton currently have facilities in Managua. As well as many hotels, Managua has opened four western style shopping centers or malls, such as Plaza Inter, Centro Comercial Metrocentro, Galerias Santo Domingo  and Multicentro Las Americas, with many more being constructed.

There is a large established local market system that caters to the majority of Nicaraguans. In Mercado Roberto Huembes, Mercado Oriental, Mercado Israel Lewites and other locations one can find anything from household amenities, food, clothing, electronics, construction materials, and other contracting supplies. The markets enjoy a substantial amount of popularity, as many of the backpacking, ecotourism-focused tourists and tourists on-a-budget use these markets for their supplies and souvenirs.

Managua is also currently experiencing an upsurge in real estate prices and as well as a housing shortage. Foreigners, mainly from Anglo-America and Europe, are becoming interested in considering post-retirement life in Nicaragua, as the country has been mentioned by various media outlets due to its safety performance on major indexes and inexpensive lifestyle for tourists.

Prices in Managua

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$0.90
Tomatoes1 kg$1.45
Cheese0.5 kg$3.50
Apples1 kg$2.65
Oranges1 kg$1.50
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$0.95
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$7.00
Coca-Cola2 liters$1.10
Bread1 piece$0.95
Water1.5 l$1.10

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$13.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$21.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2$35.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$5.80
Water0.33 l$0.55
Cappuccino1 cup$1.60
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$1.80
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l$0.85
Coctail drink1 drink$3.20

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$9.00
Gym1 month$30.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$5.50
Theatar2 tickets$30.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.32
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$1.40

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack$7.00
Tampons32 pieces$2.40
Deodorant50 ml.$2.00
Shampoo400 ml.$3.65
Toilet paper4 rolls$1.80
Toothpaste1 tube$1.25

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$49.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$35.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$80.00
Leather shoes1$67.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter$1.05
TaxiStart$1.20
Taxi1 km$1.10
Local Transport1 ticket$0.20

Tourist (Backpacker)  

33 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

130 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Delta from Atlanta airport, United Airlines from Houston, Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale, Aero Mexico from Benito Juarez international airport (IATA: MEXAmerican Airlines from Miami, Avianca from Miami and Washington Dulles (IATA: IAD). Avianca also connects several times daily from San Salvador and Copa Airlines once daily from both San Salvador and Panama City. Flights from Canada are less expensive and less troublesome via San Salvador than via Miami. In the Winter, Air Transat (charter) flies non-stop from Montreal to Managua for packages primarily in Montelimar.

 

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

International buses connect Managua to most Central American capitals and southern Mexico. The buses are usually air-conditioned and in a good shape, however bring time and patience as the trips can take quite some time. Reputable companies include: transnica ticabus and king quality. For routes schedules and prices see their webistes.

There are direct bus routes from all major cities stopping at various points. The most important bus stations from a tourist point of view are Mercado Roberto Huembes Mercado Roberto Huembes bus station (buses to the west and southwest), Mercado Israel Lewites Terminal Israel Lewites (buses to the north and northwest) and UCA UCA bus station (minibuses to short distance destinations see below)

Buses from Masaya, Granada, San Marcos and some from Jinotepe come in through the southeastern Carretera Masaya entrance and pass by the Centroamerica rotonda before going to either Mercado Roberto Huembes or UCA.

Buses from Jinotepe also come in through carretera Sur stopping by 7 Sur, a hub to go to via Carretera Nueva and Vieja Leon and C. Sur.

To go to the mountains in the north, the Rio San Juan region in the southeast or the Caribbean coast, buses leave from Mercado El Mayoreo.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

If you are looking for a driver and car hire then check Taxi Managua who have selected a small number of reliable taxi drivers. All drivers are official airport Taxis.


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

By car

As can be expected of a city of two Million (and growing), Managua has serious issues of traffic congestion. This is not helped by taxi drivers and motorcyclists often driving reckless next to the suicidal and the occasional home-made horse carriage (that given the levels of congestion is not any slower than a car) clogging the streets. Almost all traffic lights see street vendors during the day selling everything from water to newspapers. Keep an eye on your belongings and close the windows if possible, as theft through open windows does occur.

  • AVIS Rent-a-car. They have offices at the International Airport, Montoya zone, Carretera a Masaya. E-Mail: [email protected], Toll Free US & Canada: 1-866-978-6539, Nicaragua phone: 505-250-3366.

Driving directions in Managua are not typical. In fact, they are often regarded as unique and confusing. The major earthquakes have left the city without a consistent and clear street address system. Although the government has made attempts to address (no pun intended) this problem, directions are given relative to landmarks and distances. Most addresses are given based on landmarks and with the directions al lago - North, towards the lake, arriba/abajo (east/west) and al sur (to the South). To make things even more confusing, sometimes the former location of a landmark or some thing that no longer exists is referenced as in "de donde fue..." (i.e. "from where ... used to be"). For example, to instruct a taxi driver to drop you off at Casa Ben Linder, the directions are "en barrio Moseñor Lezcano, de donde fue el Banco Popular, 2 al lago, 2 arriba", which means, "in the Lezcano neighborhood, from where People's Bank used to be, 2 blocks towards the lake and 2 blocks East."

Transportation - Get Around

By Taxi

There are two forms of Taxis in Managua: Collectivos and Privados (Collectives and Privates).

  • 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. However, collective taxis are also risky given the fact that organized crime has flourished in this transportation sector because of fixed passengers. In other words, drivers already know who they pick up and thus mug the one extra passenger. This crime, however, is not common, but it is the one with the highest chance of being mugged.
  • 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.

Before getting into a taxi, take a look at the license (usually in the windshield or a side window) and the number-plate. Some Nicaraguans have taken to messaging the license plate number of the taxi they are getting in to a friend and it is certainly not a bad idea to do that as a precaution. Stay away from taxis without a license or when you perceive anything to be fishy.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Managua has an extensive public bus system, whose route density and service frequency would far surpass most US or Canadian cities. Service starts early in the day, buses on many routes already running (and often full of people!) around 5 am. An unofficial interactive online map of the city's public bus routes, created by volunteers, can be found here ; the site also has a downloadable map in PDF format.

Unlike other Nicaraguan cities, buses in Managua are identified by route numbers; unlike most public transport systems around the world, an information placard carried by a Managua city bus would typically only include the route number, and not the names of the route's end points. At the bus stops one could also often see a sign with the numbers of routes serving it, but no additional information.

As of 2016, a single-trip fare is just C$2.50 (under US$0.10).

In 2013 a new system of payment was introduced, which replaced cash with rechargeable cards, known as Tarjeta TUC and managed by MPESO. As of early 2016 most buses only accept cards; they carry a "solo tarjeta", or "solo TUC" placard in front. However some accept both cards and cash. Look for "pago mixto" on the front of the bus.

One of the purposes of introducing the payment card must have been to enable one-man operation. Managua's card-only bus have a one-person crew (just the driver), as opposed to buses elsewhere in the country (or on Managua's commuter routes, for that matter), which also have a driver's assistant who announces stops, collects fares, etc.

TUC cards can be bought at a number of places, e.g. at the AM/PM convenience stores, for C$50, and cash value can be added to them as needed. However, a card account is associated with a customer's name and the number of his identity document - and the identity document typically accepted for card purchase is the Nicaraguan national ID card (and not, for a example, a foreign passport). This may make purchasing a card difficult for a foreign visitor. If you don't have a card but want to board a card-only bus, you often can ask some other passenger to swipe his card for you, and reimburse him for the cost of the fare; or sometimes the driver would be glad to take your cash anyway. At some busy stops, you can see enterprising locals who sell card swipes to cardless passengers for twice the normal fare price (C$5 instead of 2.50); some even have little cardboard signs!

Besides the city buses proper (numbered routes), commuter buses that run between Managua and neighboring cities can be used to travel to points along their routes. For example, there are no city buses south of some point on Carretera a Masaya, but you can get a ride along this road on a Masaya- or Granada-bus (mostly originating/terminating at UCA or Roberto Huembes Market); typically, you'll be charged C$10.

  • No. 110 goes from mercado Israel Lewites (buses to León) to mercado Roberto Huembes (buses to Granada), passing on the way by the UCA, where microbuses leave for both Granada and León, as well as Masaya and other cities.
  • Buses to Granada, Leon, Jinotepe, Masaya, and Chinandega are also available at UCA (Universidad Centroamericana). Several city buses connect through UCA as well (102, 103, 105, 110, 111, 114, 119, 168).
  • No. 266 runs to the airport (and beyond, to Zona Franja [the Free Trade Zone]) along the Carretera del Norte from the Mercado Oriental area. From other parts of the city, one can take any bus that goes to the eastern part of Carretera del Norte (such as 105 or 114), get off at the bus' last stop that's still on the Carretera (typically, La Subasta), and then take an airport-bound bus (such as no. 266 or a commuter bus to Tipitapa). Watch for the airport terminal on your right; it's hard to miss, or ask the driver (or driver's assistant in advance to stop there). It's only a short walk across the parking lot from the bus stop to the terminal entrance.
  • For security reasons the buses should best be avoided after sundown and only run some services for students at night

 

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

If you do not have the time to go to Masaya for handicrafts, go to the Mercado Huembes where you will find everything from souvenirs to hammocks, and paintings. Ask anyone how to get there.

  • Galería CodiceColonial Los Robles,  +505 2267 2635. Excellent place to buy art (including paintings) and top-quality souvenirs/artesania from all over Nicaragua. As might be expected, though, items are pricey here.
  • Mercado OrientalCalle 15 de Setiembre. A huge market where almost everything is on sale. However it has a rather dangerous reputation. Pick-pocketing, grab-and-run theft are commonplace and there have even been instances of armed robberies. Overall Mercado Oriental can be a fascinating destination but is generally not recommended for the average tourist. If you still want to go, go with someone who knows the place and whom you know personally and trust. It should go without saying that you should never take any valuables (including cell-phones and cameras), that you can't risk losing.
  • Metrocentro. The most luxurious mall in town right next to rotonda Ruben Dario on the opposite side of the new cathedral. Has a decent Food Court and a big selection of nearly everything as well as a multiplex cinema
  • Mercado Huembes. One of the major markets of Managua, offering a wide variety of goods ranging from clothes to pineapple and from beans to tooth-paste judging from the prices for basic foodstocks frequently printed in the main newspapers La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario it is maybe slightly more expensive than the Mercado Oriental in terms of price, but to a traveller the difference is negligible
  • Mercado Mayoreo. although it isn't as large as Huembes or Oriental the selection is almost as wide. It serves as a terminus of several local bus routes as well as the bus station for buses to northern cities like Estlí as well as more distant destinations like San Carlos (Nicaragua) or Rama as well as the las Minas towns

Restaurants

  • 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.

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.

  • 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 $

Sights & Landmarks

  • 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
  • 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).The Nicaraguan Army headquarters (not open to the public) are located on the hill's northern slope. $1 (for foreigners); 20 cordobas for a car.
  • 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 PazÁrea 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.

Museums & Galleries


Museums, libraries and cultural centers

The National Library holds a great amount of volumes and affords abundant bibliographic information about the discovery and independence of Nicaragua. The National Palace of Culture has an exhibition of Nicaraguan art from the time previous to its independence. Inside the National Palace of Culture is the National Museum, containing archaeological finds with some examples of pre-Columbian pottery, statues, and other findings.

Managua is home to an array of art galleries which feature pieces by both national and international artists.

Managua is home to many types of museums, some art museums include the Julio Cortázar Museum and the Archivo Fílmico de la Cinemateca Nacional. Natural history museumsinclude the Museo del Departamento de Malacología UCA, Museo Gemológico de la Concha y el Caracol, and Museo Paleontológico "El Hato". The Santo Domingo de Guzmán Museum is an anthropology museum. History museums include the Museo de la Revolución, Museo Casa Hacienda San Jacinto and Museo Parque Loma de Tiscapa.

Cultural centers in Managua include the Centro Cultural Nicaragüense Norteamericano (CCNN) (Nicaraguan-North American Culture Center), the Centro Cultural Chino Nicaragüense (Chinese Nicaraguan Culture Center), the Alliance Française de Managua(French Alliance of Managua), among others.

Things to do

  • Gambling - There are many casinos, large and small throughout Managua. Star City has a number of locations. If you like to play poker, go to the Pharo's casino on Carretera Masaya. It has hold'em poker tournaments at night (when there's enough interest); $200 buy-in no limit table can be found a lot of nights, $50 tournaments. The nicest casino in Managua by far is Palms Casino just off of Carretera Masaya. Beware that casinos are said by police and regional security analysts to play a significant role in the regional drug trade and money laundering networks. This is unlikely to impact your personal safety at a casino, but does contribute to Nicaragua's security problems.
  • Play billiards - There are at least three good pool places if you're in a group, Pool8, and the two Time Off locations. All are downtown. Time Off has excellent snacks.
  • Catch a movie - You can catch good Latin American movies some Wednesdays at 7PM at the theatre near Art Cafe (a bar) near the Parque de las Palmas. The Art Cafe is near Hotel Beneficial Las Palmas and is within walking distance to the hotel.
  • Estadio Nacional Dennis Martinez (Baseball). While you might be surprised to hear it, Baseball is as much a national pastime in Nicaragua as it is in the US, maybe even more so. The national stadium (named for Major League pitcher Dennis Martinez) has space for some 30 000 people, making it thrice as big as the national soccer stadium. The stadium is currently closed due to remodeling and scheduled to reopen some time 2017. Besides Baseball games of the national team it is mostly used for home games of The "Indios del Boér", Managua's home town team and the serial champion of the Nicaraguan league.

Festivals and events

Managua's most famous festival is that of its patron saint Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It starts on the morning of August 1, when the "Bajada del Santo" (walk down of the saint) involves many joyful people walking and carrying the old statue of Santo Domingo from Las Sierritas Church in south Managua to another church across the city to the north, in the area destroyed by the 1972 earthquake. It remains here for ten days until the morning of August 10, when the "Subida del Santo" (walking up of the saint) returns the statue to Las Sierritas Church where it remains for the rest of the year. Thousands of people attend this event which involves dancing, eating, drinking and the marching of musical bands, mainly for traditions that date back to pre-colonial times, or to ask for personal miracles, make promises, or give thanks to the saint. During the parade many people dress up in typical costumes, masks and painted bodies. Among other participants are "carrosas" (art cars and trucks) from local business companies, horseriders coming from Nicaragua and other Central American neighbouring countries to show off their horses, skills, and horserider costumes.

Another festival taking place since 2003 is the Alegria por la Vida (Happiness for Life)Carnaval is celebrated in Managua at the beginning of the month of March. There's a different slogan or theme every year. This event is celebrated with parades, floats, live music, food and dancing as well as the march of the Carnival Queen.

Nightlife

  • 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 150 cordobas, parties wed/fri/sat.
  • Moods, in Galeria Santo Domingo located on Carretera Masaya. Fanciest and Hippest disco in Managua. Entrance can be from 150 cordobas to 300 cordobas, parties W-Sa.
  • Broder, in Zona Rosa. Disco with entry fee up to 150 cordobas, 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"

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.

Mozara-180 entrance fee-open bar till 2PM Saturday's

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.

Last but not least there are also bars and restaurants in the new "Zona Viva" in Galerias Santo Domingo

Things to know


Budget

Nicaragua is one of Latin America's cheaper destinations. Its hotel, food and transportation costs are a fraction of its neighbors. Eating at local restaurants is extremely inexpensive, and for $30, a meal for four can be served at these locations. Fast food are similarly priced to those in North America and Europe. High-end restaurants are relatively affordable compared to high income countries. Foreign cuisine, like French and Italian specialties, are served at high-end locations for a fraction of the price found in North American and European cities. However, things that are unremarkable or daily fare in Europe may be considered expensive specialties in Nicaragua. Transportation is equally affordable with bus trips for 2,50 Cordobas (roughly ten Cents US) and taxi trips starting at 20 Cordobas. While Managua also has cheap accommodation, it is one of a few cities in the country with luxury accommodation that may even scrape the four figures in dollars.

Safety in Managua

Stay Safe

Safety ( overall) - High /7.3

Safety ( day) - High /7.9

Safety ( night ) - Mid. /4.9


  • Nicaragua has made considerable strides in terms of providing police presence and order throughout the country. Crime is relatively low, and the country has been historically ranked as the safest country by INTERPOL and has been ranked as one of Latin America's top 5 safest countries by the Vision of Humanity project. However, starting in 2008, reports of low-level gang violence began coming in from Honduras and El Salvador. The National Nicaraguan Police have been successful in apprehending gang members and reducing organized crime.
  • Tourists are advised to remain alert at all times in Managua. Although gang activity is not a major problem in Managua nor Nicaragua, caution should be exercised. Tourists are advised to travel in groups, or with someone trusted who understands Spanish.
  • It is also advised that tourists refrain from using foreign currency in local transactions. It is best to have the local currency instead of having to convert with individuals on streets or non-tourist areas. Banks in Nicaragua require identification for any currency conversion transactions, it is best to utilize ATM machines that dispense the local currency. When using ATM machines, utilize precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you are in a well frequented area and ensure yourself that the ATM has not been altered in any way or form. Some thieves alter ATM machines with chips that can steal credit card numbers and personal information. This type of crime is rare, but it should be noted that an increase in foreign tourism has stimulated the increase of this crime. Tourists are also advised to make sure that they stay on top of their credit card or debit card transactions via online banking. Any suspicious transactions should be reported immediately.
  • Traveling around Managua is relatively simple, but as in any major city, tourists are advised to exercise basic caution. When traveling to the Mercado Oriental, tourists are advised to go in groups and avoid the use of chains, necklaces and other valuables. Although Police Officers are available in and around the market, the market tends to be very full and thus it can be hard to find any person who steals your valuables. Tourists are also advised to be cautious around the outskirts of downtown, the area between MetroCentro and the BAC building. Several muggings have occurred around this area. The area around the tica bus station has been deemed unsafe for tourists by the Nicaraguan police due to the high volumes of people moving around. If you must go, take a taxi to and from there.
  • When traveling around the city of Managua or around Nicaragua, there are several transportation alternatives. Popular options include buses and taxis, both of which have different rider standards and different precautions.
  • Buses in Nicaragua tend to be old school buses that transport people and goods to market. These are colloquially called Chicken Buses. Much like the Argentine collectivo, it uses the honor system on travelers and charges based on the distance one travels. It is relatively the most inexpensive option, allowing tourists to travel to major tourist attractions and other destinations. However, these buses can be extremely crowded and tight in terms of space. An overhead rack tends to be provided for the storage of bags and other items, but tourists are recommended to keep their bags at hand, in their sight, at all times. If you are carrying something valuable and fear the potential loss of theft of it, you are advised to put a lock on your bag. Tourists are also advised to not carry large sums of money in their pockets. On crowded buses (especially during rush hour), thieves can rob you without you noticing. In addition, do not wear any expensive jewelry on the bus. It can be taken from you without your notice due to the high volumes of passengers that board buses. Buses in local urban and interurban routes are not air conditioned, and thus, tourists should ensure that their window is open (provided they are seated).
  • There are also Express Buses in the form of mini-vans. These buses provide express inter-city transport at a higher price compared to the standard local Chicken Bus. This form of transport is also cost-friendly, but extremely tight in terms of space. Tourists cannot carry any heavy cargo. Small purses and bookbags are fine, but tourists are advised to exercise the same caution as they would on a Chicken Bus.
  • When riding taxis, tourists are strongly recommended to close their windows. Leaving windows open allows one to be robbed while in the car and exposes one to beggars and other service givers. Most tourists consider this a nuisance, and so do locals. Air conditioners do not always work on street-hailed cars. In any case, radio-dispached cars are readily available (particularly from resorts and hotels) and offer the same amenities luxury car services offer at roughly the same price as their North American counterparts.

High / 7.9

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 4.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

Nicaragua - Travel guide

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