Sprawling along the silvery edges of Xolotlán, broad Lago de Managua, this is the nation's capital and nerve center, an admittedly unlovely urban expanse of unsigned, tree-lined boulevards and uninspired modern monoliths that almost never seduce visitors into spending more time here than is absolutely necessary.
Yet this sultry and seismic 'Daughter of War' and 'City of Peace' is beloved with a proud ferocity by its 1.4 million inhabitants, and its volcanic skyline and cosmopolitan charms have inspired a library's worth of poems. Aren't you curious as to why?
Start by ascending Loma de Tiscapa to Sandino's famous silhouette, with views from the ancient crater lake to monumental Volcán Momotombo (not to mention the wacky cathedral). And around you the city pulses, with great nightlife, excellent restaurants and, most importantly, thousands of families rebuilding their nation, poco a poco (little by little), into all that their poets and revolutionaries, campesinos and visionaries, once promised.
Best places to stay in Managua
Nicaragua - Managua (Chapter)
Managua is chaotic and broken, poetic and mesmerizing, all at the same time. This low-rise city with its improbable trees, remarkable street art and spirited monuments also gives you easy access to nearby lagoons, nature reserves, beaches and hot springs.
Nicaragua: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Nicaragua guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip. It’s been a while since anybody wrote a good travelogue about Nicaragua, but below are some classics.
Managua destination guides
Central American Journey
An exciting traverse of Central America from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica to Panama
5-Day Best of Nicaragua Tour: Managua, León and Granada
Explore western Nicaragua’s popular destinations on a 5-day tour of Managua, León and Granada. Visit some of the country’s most famous sites, including Managua’s National Palace of Culture, the World Heritage-listed Ruins of León Viejo, Leon’s Rubén Darío Museum, Masaya Volcano National Park and the Cathedral of Granada.