If you're coming from Granada, Masaya may seem a bit down at heel. This is a very workaday little town, unexceptional but for a few things: a proliferation of excellent artisans and a picturesque, crumbling malecón (waterfront walkway). Nicaraguan tourists, by the way, always make sure their visit coincides with one of Masaya’s many spectacular festivals, and there are cultural exhibitions and dances every Thursday evening.
Masaya is 29km southeast of Managua and 16km northwest of Granada. The city sits at the edge of Laguna de Masaya, beyond which rises Volcán Masaya, which can be visited on day trips from here or Granada.
At the time of writing, Masaya had been the worst affected by political violence of Nicaragua's towns (from April 2018 onwards). Neighborhoods barricaded themselves off from the riot police and a number of residents had been killed.