Managua’s history stretches back some 6,000 years to the Acahualinca footprints, the oldest evidence of human presence in this region. The city’s name refers to a large body of water in the Nahautl language and we find that the area is surrounded by lagoons and lakes.
Managua is Central America’s 5th largest city, The modern city is the capital of Nicaragua with a population of about 1,800,000 stretching over more than 20 kilometers along the southern shore of Lake Managua. The population is mostly mestizo, but there are also large numbers of people of European and Indian ancestry. Despite the large population, the city exudes a more laid back atmosphere with few skyscrapers and with business centers scattered over a large metropolitan area.
Historical attractions in Managua include the Palace of Culture, the Ruben Dario National Theater, the Old Cathedral and the Peace Park. Managua lacks many relics of a colonial capital since it only rose to this position in 1852 following periods when the government was based in Leon and Granada. The Ruben Dario National Theater is one of the few structures that survived the devastating 1972 earthquake. The theater is a great place to see concerts, exhibits and shows throughout the year. Not far away from the National Theater is the Casa Presidential , the office of the Nicaraguan president, and also in front of the office, the National Museum.
Managua boasts four lagoons within the city limits along with others not far away on the Chiltepe Peninsula. The Asososca Lagoon provides much of the city’s drinking water and great views are available from nearby Las Piedrecitas park. The Tiscapa Lagoon is an historical site and the presidential palace was formerly located at a location overlooking this lagoon.
Nature lovers can find a number of reserves located close to Managua that preserve habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species. The Montibellio Natural Private Reserve, for example, is known for its populations of birds, butterflies, monkeys, snakes and lizards. Visitors can choose from a number of trails through this highland terrain depending on how much time and effort they are willing to expend. Not far away from here is the Chocoyero National Park famed for its Chocoyos, or green parakeets. The Chocoyos use one of the park’s two waterfalls as a nesting site and they can seen traveling back and forth to their nests at sunrise and sunset.
The Pacific coast is not far from the capital and great beaches are about 1 ½ hours away from the city. The Pochomil beach is one of the most popular for excursions from Managua and crowds are heavy during weekends and holidays. However, tourists may find Managua’s beaches virtually empty during the weekdays.
Located in the tropics, Managua is warm and humid throughout the year with the coolest months in December and January. March and April are the warmest months of the year, and rain is most frequent from May to October. The nearby beaches and highlands offer an escape from Managua’s often sweltering heat.
Managua is also home to the country’s only International Airport, located a short 7 miles from Managua City center is Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.