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Originally a small fishing village on the lake shore, Managua’s fate was changed forever when the warring cities of Leon and Granada compromised by electing a third party to be capital. Managua was chosen and has since grown to become the second biggest city in Central America. It may not be as pretty as the two colonial gems but once you find your way around you’ll discover a city bursting with poetry and pride. There are hidden tropical courtyards, interesting street art and warm welcomes. In many ways it’s the perfect summary of Nicaragua as a whole - energetic, fun, boisterous and with plenty of charm.
City Centre - Much of the centre was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1972 and is yet to be rebuilt but you can still explore this unique district. Discover crumbling cathedrals and thought provoking street art.
Tiscapa Lagoon - This freshwater lagoon lies in the heart of an extinct volcano, where you can also find a zip line to carry you out over the water.
Jorge Dimitrov - You need to be a little careful after dark but this up and coming area is conveniently located for the city’s best transport links and budget hotels.
Chocoyero El Brujo - This nature reserve is located not too far from the city and gives a glimpse into some of Nicaragua’s incredible tropical wildlife and jungle terrain.
One of Managua’s most popular landmarks is the Rotonda Ruben Dario, a beautiful fountain that’s lit up at night. You can also visit the New Cathedral, completed in 1993, which is close by. Step back in time at the Huellas de Acahualinca, a set of 6,000 year old footprints that were preserved under several metres of earth by a volcanic eruption. As far as sights go, in Managua it’s more about enjoying the bustle of the city, with its markets and street vendors. As a relatively new capital, it doesn’t quite have the colonial history of some of the other cities but if you love street art, and discovering how a chaotic and modern Latin American city works, this is the place for you.
Take a city tour, which will very much help you negotiate a city that has very few street signs and can be very confusing. If you’re in the mood for a flutter, then check out one of the many casinos that have opened here in recent years. Nicaraguans love poetry, so look out for where readings are taking place and enjoy a cultural night out or keep your eyes out for festivals that happen throughout the year. If you want to get out of the city, head to one of the nearby beaches or volcanic lagoons for a refreshing dip.