Cheap Flights to Managua
This capital city of Nicaragua might not appear the most attractive destination on the surface but it has the power to mesmerise its visitors and make them want to linger a little longer. After Guatemala, it has the second largest population in the country, which gives it a vibrant cosmopolitan feel and a colourful atmosphere both day and night. It was originally a pre-Columbian fishing settlement only becoming a city in 1819, when it was originally called Leal Villa de Santiago de Managua. With its location between the two cities of Leon and Granada, it became the ideal choice for the country's capital when Nicaragua achieved independence from Spain in 1852. Since then, it has become an important industrial and trading centre with a focus on coffee and cotton.
Things to do
Rebuilding after the 1972 earthquake has created a charming city centre of squares and parks in Managua, while wide boulevards are lined with trees that light up at night to create a festive mood. If you need to escape the sun during your city explorations, stroll through the Arboretum Nacional. Located in the city centre, it features hundreds of plant species native to Nicaragua.
Also recently given a sparkling facelift was the Puerto Salvador Allende. It is now an exciting lakeside complex and entertainment hub with gentle paths for sunset walks, children's playgrounds and cuisine from street food stalls to sophisticated restaurants.
The beautiful old Antigua Cathedral was left as a shell after the earthquake and has never been rebuilt. With stone angels guarding it and vegetation growing through and around it, it makes a haunting site bathed in the golden sunlight.
- Walking in ancient footsteps
The Huellas (or footsteps) de Acahualinca were a unique discovery made by miners in 1874. The footprints are a fossilised record of the tracks made by up to ten fairly tall men, women and children as well as racoons, deer and birds as they walked slowly on the muddy shores of the lake over 6,000 years ago.
Calendar of Events
Like most of South America, Managua likes to party as well as celebrate the important dates of the religious calendar in exuberant style.
Carnaval Alegría por la Vida Festival. This "Joy for Life Festival" features performers in colourful costumes dancing and parading to music. Each year sees a different carnival theme and the event, held in March, closes with the crowning of the new festival queen.
La Purísima. This celebrates The Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December. In Managua huge altars to the Virgin Mary are set up along Avenida Bolivar as far as the lake. Once the sun sets, the avenue hosts a huge street party with food and live music.
The Festival of Santo Domingo de Guzman. Held in early August, this honours the city's patron saint with carnival and horse parades, sporting competitions and a procession which sees Santo Domingo carried to his country shrine.