I went to Nicaragua twice, the first time in 2007 and now in 2017. Although it is a small country, there is a lot to do. The city of Managua, the capital of the country, has changed a lot in recent years, and for good. There are almost no ruins of the 1972 earthquake left (on my 2007 trip, there were many), they have put giant decorative trees with lights, created the Salvador Allende Port and Water Park with activities for children, restaurants and walkways by the lake. You can also visit the Old Cathedral and the Revolution Square.
My daughter’s father (now deceased) was from Nicaragua. So it’s a special destination for us. In Managua we met with the Angie´s grandmother, uncles and cousins. We spent time with family and enjoyed some good Nicaraguan food. We love gallo pinto (rice and beans). Most of fast food sold in the streets are fried and cheap. They are called fritangas. You will find many informal fritangas everywhere, so make sure your stomach can handle it. They do not recommend drinking tab water, but that is usually the case for most places you are visiting.
A couple of things to consider when travelling to Nicaragua: when arriving at the airport of Managua you must know exactly (as much as possible since the streets have neither name nor number) where you will be staying. Since we were staying with relatives, I had no idea what the address was. They did not let us pass immigration until we got the address. You may also be asked to show for proof of having the yellow fever shot, a requirement if you are coming from South America or Africa, or having spent more than a week in some countries, such as Costa Rica. Luckily, we had the certificate.
is a city south of Managua, just over an hour by mini bus. Keep in mind that buses do not have a/c and you may end up having to travel with no seat, but they are cheap and safe. If you are not used to it, you will find it quite an adventure (lots of yelling and pushing around to get people on board). Granada is a colonial city, which have had some of the historical buildings restored and well set up for tourists (lots of banks and ATM where you can withdrawal córdobas or dollars).
There are hotels for all tastes and budgets, bars and restós with tables in the street, at a good price, although not very cheap, around U $ D20 per person, food and a beer (Toña is the most popular beer in Nicaragua). Flor de Caña is the national rum. From Granada you can visit Masaya (the city and the volcano), the islets of Granada (there are islands prepared for tourism, with all services included).
Other places in Nicaragua
From Granada you can also go to the Mombacho Volcano. Weather permitting, the beaches of San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast are very popular both for tourists and locals. Many choose to go to Corn Island (although I have not done it, yet) on the Atlantic coast. Transportation is very cheap in Nicaragua, and if you get a good driver, it is safe.
To the north of Managua is the city of León, another attractive colonial city. There you can visit different museums and the house of the great Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío. Further north is the town of Chinandega, not much to do, too hot and very noisy. We go there to visit family, but stay in the hotel with a/c most of the time.
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