Managua is the largest city and the capital of Nicaragua, located on the Southwestern shore of Lake Managua. A grueling history of trials and triumph has left Managua as the vibrant cultural epicenter of the country, with a lifetime worth of activities and sights within the city itself. If you are looking to venture out of the city and into the breathtaking scenery of the North Atlantic region of Nicaragua, Managua is the perfect taking off point. The word Managua comes from a name that was given to the region by the Nahuatl indigenous people, Mana-ahuac, meaning, “surrounded by water”. Keteka gets travelers in touch with Nicaragua Managua tours that offer the closest look into the people and the landscape of this culturally rich and breathtakingly beautiful region. Click here to read more about the culture, what to do, what to eat, when to go, and where to stay in Managua!
The country of Nicaragua itself has a long and interesting history, being inhabited by Paleo-Americans as far back as 6,000 years ago, with archaeological remnants of ceramics and volcanic stone statues smattered throughout the country.
In the last 150 years however, the city of Managua has endured a brutal history. Managua became Nicaragua’s capital in 1857, but major floods in both 1876 and 1885 ravaged the city. Managua rebuilt and expanded, but the infrastructure was destroyed once again by an earthquake in 1931 and a fire in 1936.
After the 1930s, Managua gained stability, rebuilt and expanded as the capital, until a devastating earthquake in 1972 destroyed 90% of the city and killed nearly 20,000 people. Reconstruction after the earthquake was hindered by years of violent civil war through the 1980s.
But people who are born of and overcome hardship have an unbreakable vibrancy and love for life. In the mid-1990s, Managua found stabilization and resurgence. Infrastructure was rebuilt, the government stabilized, pollution cleanup systems were implemented, and threatened wildlife were protected.
Managua has a beautiful history of rising above tragedy and tyranny and today stands as a vivacious cultural center, with an annual array festivals featuring dancing, eating, drinking, marching bands, elaborate and colorful costumes, and traditions that date back to pre-colonial times.
Due to the deep history, there are a number of museums, libraries, and cultural centers in Managua worth visiting. There is also a lively nightlife with a variety of bars, nightclubs, casinos, theaters, and cinemas.
For those looking to see more of the country than just the city, there are loads of Nicaragua Managua tours to immerse you in the lush scenery and diverse ecosystems of the surrounding areas of Nicaragua.
You could take an extended expedition paddling down remote rivers cut through the beautiful rainforests of the Northern Atlantic regions of Nicaragua. Catch fresh fish, swim in the pristine waters, and maybe even have the chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive jaguar. Such tours also make stops at local indigenous communities, where you will get a rare look into the life of Nicaraguan natives.
For other experiences of the landscape, you can take Nicaragua Managua tours of the La Rota volcano and spot wildlife such as monkeys, squirrels, deer, iguanas, birds, and be immersed in old growth forests.
Nicaragua has a traditional cuisine, but has been blended with international flavors from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Asia, and North America in Managua due to outside influence from immigrants and tourists, creating a cuisine unique to the city.
The most common traditional dishes usually consist of rice, plantain, beans, and varieties of cabbage and cheeses. It is quite usual and traditional for fried cheese to be a side with many popular dishes.
Quesillo is a succulent local fast food; cheese wrapped in a corn tortilla with cream, onions, and salt. Nactamales are also very common, which are essentially a Nicaraguan twist on a tamale. Steak is one of the most popular dishes in Managua if you are looking for something a little ritzier. Garnished with chimichurri—oil with crushed garlic and herbs—eating a steak in Managua is an experience in itself.
For desert, you could take the healthy route with fresh and juicy fruit such as mangos, grown locally and sold in street markets. Or try a traditional cajeta de leche, a sweet condensed milk, or any variety of rich and local chocolates.
Managua is a tropical region, with average monthly temperatures never dipping below 79˚F (26˚C). If you looking for an escape from Northern Hemisphere winter months, fly to Managua any time in December, January, February, March, or April, because the sun will be shining and monthly rainfall is below 0.3 inches (8mm).
In May, rainfall spikes up to 5.25 inches (134mm) and fluctuates all the way up to 9 inches (227mm) monthly, through October. The weather is still warm, just be sure to pack a raincoat!
Because it is the capital of the country, you will have no problem finding a place to stay in or around Managua. There is a wide selection of hotels, ranging from 5-star all inclusive resorts with high class restaurants, to more affordable places, both with options in the heart of the cultural epicenter and nightlife of Managua, or a little bit farther from the hustle and bustle of the city on the outskirts of town. For the intrepid, there is also a wide selection of hostels both in and outside of the city.