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Travel & Holiday Tips in Nicaragua
 
 
 

General

Nicaragua ("Surrounded by Water" as the name is literally translated) offers a number of cultural activities, ranging from theatre to religious sites. In Managua, there are three popular theatres – the Rubén Darío National Theater, the Victor Romeo Theater, and the Justo Rufino Garay Theatre, each offering a unique ambiance and venue for special performances. There are many historical buildings and attractions to see such as the Cathedral of Leon, the Church of Jaleva and Parque Central in Granada, and the colorful markets of Masaya. For nature enthusiasts, Nicaragua has 78 national parks, including sanctuaries, refuges and reserves, each teaming with unique wildlife and flora not seen outside of Central America. Some of the more popular National Parks include the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge, Mombacho Cloud Forest Reserve and Indio-Maìz Biological Reserve.

For outdoor enthusiasts, sport fishing, golf, canopy tours, scuba diving and boating offer exciting activities and memorable experiences. Deep sea fishing in Nicaragua is considered to be the best in Central America where the sparkling Pacific Ocean offers exceptional opportunities to catch Marlin. Fishermen can fly fish in places like Lake Nicaragua and or hire a boat at Bluefields and try their hand at catching Bonito and Sierra Mackerel. Golfers can enjoy their favourite pastime at Nicaragua’s famous Nejapa Golf and Country Club or the Iguana Golf and Beach Club. A number of establishments, such as the Selva Negra Resort, offer horses for rent, while equestrian centers in Rancho Santa and Montecristo offer guided horseback tours through spectacular countryside and rain forests.

Managua

Managua lost its centre after an earthquake in 1972. Instead of rebuilding the old buildings, new buildings were built in the former outskirts of the city. Nowadays, the effects of the earthquake still characterise the image of Managua. There is no central park or some region where all the activity takes place. Instead, business centres, shopping malls and big company headquarters are almost randomly scattered throughout the city.

Although more than a million people live in Managua, the city does not have the image of a large metropolis. There are not many high buildings due to the experience with the 1972 earthquake. In Managua, many palms, bushes, and other plants and trees dominate much of the city’s image. Especially during the raining season Managua is a very green city. Nicaragua’s capital, however, is often described as being dangerous and a place to avoid. Although visitors should take certain precautions, Managua is one of the safest capital cities in the region.

Lake Managua (Xolotlán), is a large lake that could have made Managua one of Latin America’s most attractive capital cities but sadly, the lake has been contaminated as a result of dumping chemicals and waste in the lake. Swimming is not possible, and the neighbourhoods located at the shores are among the poorest of the city. There are plans to clean up the lake, but so far no action has been taken.

Managua is a capital that is undergoing many changes. The city has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whereas the city was clearly a third world capital not long ago, some parts of Managua can nowadays hardly be distinguished from western cities. Luxurious shopping malls, fancy banks, dominant billboard campaigns, and high class hotels and restaurants are all available to the select few that are able to afford this luxury.

When it comes to nightlife, Managua offers many bars, discotheques, theatres and cinemas. Compared to western prices, alcoholic beverages, theatre visits and cinema tickets are fairly cheap. Although Nicaraguan cinemas and discotheques are smaller than their western counterparts, quality levels are similar to those in Europe or the US.

The Rubén Darío National Theater is one of the few buildings that survived the 1972 earthquake. It is Nicaragua’s most important theatre, and national and international artists have given splendid shows, concerts, exhibitions and other cultural performances. The theatre continues to present shows, presentations and other events that are worth a visit.

The office of the Nicaraguan president (Casa Presidencial) can also be found close to the theatre, and there are several other culturally interesting locations nearby. This same area was Managua’s historical centre, before the 1972 earthquake flattened most buildings. Several monuments can be found here, and it has also been an important place during the revolution. The historical centre of Managua can be an interesting visit, and the National Museum – located in front of the presidential office – is another worthy stop.


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