View Map

Overview

Nicaragua’s lakeside volcano-ringed capital is a hectic metropolis of two million residents. The contrast between modern shopping malls and squalid slums may be a bit shocking, but Managua has a comparatively low crime rate, and there’s a good selection of upscale hotels and dining. The climate is tropical, with hot weather year-round, and plenty of rain May through December. A history of disasters – major earthquakes in 1931 and 1972, a decade of civil wars, and Hurricane Mitch in 1998 – has left its scars on the city, and it’s tough to find your way around without a local guide. If there is a center, it’s around the Plaza de la Revolución, ...

Nicaragua’s lakeside volcano-ringed capital is a hectic metropolis of two million residents. The contrast between modern shopping malls and squalid slums may be a bit shocking, but Managua has a comparatively low crime rate, and there’s a good selection of upscale hotels and dining. The climate is tropical, with hot weather year-round, and plenty of rain May through December. A history of disasters – major earthquakes in 1931 and 1972, a decade of civil wars, and Hurricane Mitch in 1998 – has left its scars on the city, and it’s tough to find your way around without a local guide. If there is a center, it’s around the Plaza de la Revolución, where you’ll find the ominous ruins of the Cathedral of Santiago, and the National Palace, now an art and history museum. Imposing monuments honor warriors from Fonseca to Sandino to Somoza, and revered poet Rubén Darío. Don’t miss the sobering Monument to Peace, with its half-buried guns and tanks. Perhaps the city’s finest sight is Tiscapa Lagoon Natural Reserve, a turquoise pond in the crater of a dead volcano with a fine view of the city and lake. At Roberto Huembes Market, local art and handicrafts include woven and embroidered clothing in the most cheerful colors. Managua’s music scene centers on Zona Hippos and Zona Rosa, which heave with Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Reggaeton. Nearby attractions include Masaya Volcano National Park’s seven volcanic cones, and Chocoyero Nature Reserve, a rain forest canyon that’s home to monkeys, wild cats, parakeets, toucans and 100 other bird species.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

view full overview

Charlie Morris for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Capital city of Nicaragua, southwest side of Lake Zolotlan or Lake Managua.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Nicaragua Cordoba
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    January through April (the dry season)