Managua

Managua is the capital of Nicaragua.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 31.0 32.1 33.6 34.3 34.0 31.4 30.9 31.4 30.3 30.8 30.6 30.6
Nightly lows (°C) 20.4 20.6 21.7 22.6 23.4 23.0 22.6 22.4 22.2 22.1 20.9 20.0
Precipitation (mm) 9 5 3 8 130 224 144 136 215 280 42 8

Source:w:Managua#Climate

Managua is the capital and also the largest city of Nicaragua. The city has a rapidly growing population of roughly 1,800,000, composed predominantly of mestizos and whites; making it the second most populous city in Central America after Guatemala City. Managua is the undisputed commercial, political, cultural and religious center of the country and many new trends originate from here before they affect the rest of the country. The Managua focus of nearly all media (print and TV) is so staggeringly large, that an address without mention of the city is almost always meant to mean Managua by default in news or advertising.

Managua's location between the rival cities of León and Granada made it a logical and ideal compromise site in determining the nation's capital. While this decision seemed genius at the time, geology today indicates otherwise, as there is an active fault line right where downtown Managua used to be (before the 1972 earthquake knocked it down, that is). Managua's economy is based mainly on trade. The city is Nicaragua's chief trading center for coffee, cotton, and other crops. It is also an important industrial center. Its chief products for trade include beer, coffee, matches, textiles, and shoes.

The city has been witness to the rise and fall of political powers throughout Nicaragua's history and suffered devastating earthquakes in 1931 and 1972. Managua is the economic, political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of Nicaragua. Since the 1972 earthquake, residential and business areas have been built on the outskirts of Managua. Managua has been dubbed the Venice of Central America because of its escalating use of makeshift canals that can be found throughout the city.

Although it doesn't have the sheer colonial beauty of León and Granada and travelers and expats alike love to complain about the dusty hot streets in the dry season (roughly November to mid May) and the mud and torrential canals in the rainy season (roughly May- mid November), Managua does have some things to offer for the tourist. So it might be worth to spend some time here and not immediately head out on the first bus or plane you can get.

As you can see in the climate table above, Managua does not experience big changes in temperature, but it does have a pronounced rainy and dry season. The days at the end of the dry season in May are usually uncomfortably hot, often with a lot of humidity as the clouds of the coming rainfall gather. When the rain finally does come, it can be torrential and both the streets (most are not paved with asphalt but stones) and the makeshift canals throughout the city usually take a heavy toll from this first rainfall. During the rainy season, the aforementioned canals can become vicious streams and many a thing, person or animal has fallen in them never to be seen again, so take care.

Residents of the city and of the department of Managua are called Managüenses.

Budget

Nicaragua is one of Latin America's economically friendly destinations. Its hotel, food and transportation costs are a fraction of its neighbors. Eating at local restaurants is extremely inexpensive, and for $30, a meal for four can be served at these locations. Fast food locations are relatively similar to those in North America and Europe in terms of price. High-end restaurants are also affordable. Foreign cuisine, like French and Italian specialties, are served at high-end locations for a fraction of the price found in North American and European cities. Transportation is equally affordable with bus trips for 2,50 Cordobas (roughly ten Cents US) and taxi trips starting at 20 Cordobas. Hotels, as anywhere, vary from cheap hostels to full service five stars that can run into the thousands of cordobas.

Get in

By plane

Delta from Atlanta, United Airlines from Houston, Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale, Aero Mexico from Benito Juarez international airport (IATA: MEX) American Airlines from Miami, Avianca from Miami and Washington Dulles (IAD). Avianca also connects several times daily from San Salvador and Copa Airlines once daily from both San Salvador and Panama City. Flights from Canada are less expensive and less troublesome via San Salvador than via Miami. In the Winter, Air Transat (charter) flies non-stop from Montreal to Managua for packages primarily in Montelimar.

By car

If you are looking for a driver and car hire then check Taxi Managua who have selected a small number of reliable taxi drivers. All drivers are official airport Taxis.

By bus

International buses connect Managua to most Central American capitals and southern Mexico. The buses are usually air-conditioned and in a good shape, however bring time and patience as the trips can take quite some time. Reputable companies include: transnica ticabus and king quality. For routes schedules and prices see their webistes.

There are direct bus routes from all major cities stopping at various points. The most important bus stations from a tourist point of view are Mercado Roberto Huembes   Mercado Roberto Huembes bus station (buses to the west and southwest), Mercado Israel Lewites   Terminal Israel Lewites (buses to the north and northwest) and UCA   UCA bus station (minibuses to short distance destinations see below)

Buses from Masaya, Granada, San Marcos and some from Jinotepe come in through the southeastern Carretera Masaya entrance and pass by the Centroamerica rotonda before going to either Mercado Roberto Huembes or UCA.

Buses from Jinotepe also come in through carretera Sur stopping by 7 Sur, a hub to go to via Carretera Nueva and Vieja Leon and C. Sur.

To go to the mountains in the north, the Rio San Juan region in the southeast or the Caribbean coast, buses leave from Mercado El Mayoreo.

Get around

By car

As can be expected of a city of two Million (and growing), Managua has serious issues of traffic congestion. This is not helped by taxi drivers and motorcyclists often driving reckless next to the suicidal and the occasional home-made horse carriage (that given the levels of congestion is not any slower than a car) clogging the streets. Almost all traffic lights see street vendors during the day selling everything from water to newspapers. Keep an eye on your belongings and close the windows if possible, as theft through open windows does occur.

Driving directions in Managua are not typical. In fact, they are often regarded as unique and confusing. The major earthquakes have left the city without a consistent and clear street address system. Although the government has made attempts to address (no pun intended) this problem, directions are given relative to landmarks and distances. Most addresses are given based on landmarks and with the directions al lago - North, towards the lake, arriba/abajo (east/west) and al sur (to the South). To make things even more confusing, sometimes the former location of a landmark or some thing that no longer exists is referenced as in "de donde fue..." (i.e. "from where ... used to be"). For example, to instruct a taxi driver to drop you off at Casa Ben Linder, the directions are "en barrio Moseñor Lezcano, de donde fue el Banco Popular, 2 al lago, 2 arriba", which means, "in the Lezcano neighborhood, from where People's Bank used to be, 2 blocks towards the lake and 2 blocks East."

By bus

Managua has an extensive public bus system, whose route density and service frequency would far surpass most US or Canadian cities. Service starts early in the day, buses on many routes already running (and often full of people!) around 5 am. An unofficial interactive online map of the city's public bus routes, created by volunteers, can be found at http://rutas.mapanica.net/ ; the site also has a downloadable map in PDF format.

Unlike other Nicaraguan cities, buses in Managua are identified by route numbers; unlike most public transport systems around the world, an information placard carried by a Managua city bus would typically only include the route number, and not the names of the route's end points. At the bus stops one could also often see a sign with the numbers of routes serving it, but no additional information.

As of 2016, a single-trip fare is just C$2.50 (under US$0.10).

In 2013 a new system of payment was introduced, which replaced cash with rechargeable cards, known as Tarjeta TUC and managed by MPESO. As of early 2016 most buses only accept cards; they carry a "solo tarjeta", or "solo TUC" placard in front. However some accept both cards and cash. Look for "pago mixto" on the front of the bus.

One of the purposes of introducing the payment card must have been to enable one-man operation. Managua's card-only bus have a one-person crew (just the driver), as opposed to buses elsewhere in the country (or on Managua's commuter routes, for that matter), which also have a driver's assistant who announces stops, collects fares, etc.

TUC cards can be bought at a number of places, e.g. at the AM/PM convenience stores, for C$50, and cash value can be added to them as needed. However, a card account is associated with a customer's name and the number of his identity document - and the identity document typically accepted for card purchase is the Nicaraguan national ID card (and not, for a example, a foreign passport). This may make purchasing a card difficult for a foreign visitor. If you don't have a card but want to board a card-only bus, you often can ask some other passenger to swipe his card for you, and reimburse him for the cost of the fare; or sometimes the driver would be glad to take your cash anyway. At some busy stops, you can see enterprising locals who sell card swipes to cardless passengers for twice the normal fare price (C$5 instead of 2.50); some even have little cardboard signs!

Besides the city buses proper (numbered routes), commuter buses that run between Managua and neighboring cities can be used to travel to points along their routes. For example, there are no city buses south of some point on Carretera a Masaya, but you can get a ride along this road on a Masaya- or Granada-bus (mostly originating/terminating at UCA or Roberto Huembes Market); typically, you'll be charged C$10.

By taxi

There are two forms of Taxis in Managua: Collectivos and Privados (Collectives and Privates).

Before getting into a taxi, take a look at the license (usually in the windshield or a side window) and the number-plate. Some Nicaraguans have taken to messaging the license plate number of the taxi they are getting in to a friend and it is certainly not a bad idea to do that as a precaution. Stay away from taxis without a license or when you perceive anything to be fishy.

See

Managua Cathedral

Do

Buy

If you do not have the time to go to Masaya for handicrafts, go to the Mercado Huembes where you will find everything from souvenirs to hammocks, and paintings. Ask anyone how to get there.

Eat

A good breakfast is Leche Agria - a homemade yogurt like drink. Look for signs advertising it in store fronts and pulperias. Put a little salt on it and eat it with tortilla.

Drink

There are tons of bars in the area south of the big BAC building downtown, find an abandoned place called Lacmiel and head east to find this zone.

Mozara-180 entrance fee-open bar till 2PM Saturday's

There are also a few bars and restaurants around ZONA HIPPOS. Woody's has good wings, Pirata's is a popular local restaurant/bar and Tercer Ojo is a more upscale resto-lounge with fusion cuisine. This area is west of the traffic light at Hilton Princess and La Union supermarket.

The "Zona Rosa" is an area with bars and restaurants that has sprung up in what was once a mostly residential area. It is located south of the BAC building. Highlights include Pharaoh's casino, Casa del Cafe, bars east of Lacmiel, la Casa del Baho restaurant, and Hipa Hipa bar.

Last but not least there are also bars and restaurants in the new "Zona Viva" in Galerias Santo Domingo

Sleep

Stay safe

Cope

Embassies

A full directory of foreign embassies is available at the city govenrment's site http://www.managua.gob.ni/index.php?s=2014 , or at the national government site, https://www.cancilleria.gob.ni/acreditados/ . While there is no single "diplomatic district" in Managua, many foreign missions are located fairly close to each other in Colinas, a neighborhood of large, well landscaped villas, a few blocks east of the km 8 - km 9 marks on Carretera a Masaya. A few others are around km 4-5 of the same Carretera a Masaya.

Some embassies are listed below, in English alphabetic order.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, February 09, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.