Next Stop, Nicaragua!
by Olivia Balsinger
Nestled between the Caribbean Sea in the east and Central America’s Pacific Coast, Nicaragua is becoming recognized as a prime choice for adventurous vacationers, with a gorgeous and diverse geography where tradition and cosmopolitan luxuries intersect. You will not have to travel far from home or worry about spending gluttonous amounts here. Nicaragua boasts a fascinating history, proud of its Latin American roots, yet entirely self-defined. Between its breathtaking nature, its metropolitan offerings and exotic beaches, Nicaragua is that quintessential destination for new experiences.
Managua is the capital of Nicaragua, often a port of entrance for visitors arriving to the country by plane. Copa Airlines flies directly into the capital from North America via its base in Panama City, Panama multiple times per day.
Managua is home to some of the country’s most significant museums and landmarks, glitzy nightlife, shopping and dining venues. Stroll down the lakeside of Plaza de La Revolución and discover the fascinating history of Ruben Dario’s Monument, which honors the beloved poet known for coining the modernism literary movement. Learn about this monument’s fascinating history, from its initial destruction to its eventual restoration, reflecting the respective political climate within the timeline of its erection.
Also named in the poet’s honor is Nicaragua’s national theater, Teatro Nacional de Ruben Dario, where you can view a live performance. Be sure to also check out La Catheral Metropolitana, built in 1991 by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and meant to replace the Old Cathedral of Managua after it was damaged in the devastating earthquake of 1972.
La Cathedral Antigua was finished just before a devastating earthquake struck in 1931. Although it managed to survive this disaster, it was not as lucky in 1972, when yet another earthquake destroyed most of the city. It is currently an abandoned structure that exudes an eerie yet noble quality that worth the visit for those more into the offbeat.
Masaya Volcano is located just 20 kilometers south of Managua and is truly not a sight to be missed. It is the country’s first and largest national park, and allows you to get up close and personal with its most active crater. The sight of free flowing lava, with billowing clouds of colorful gas, is absolutely astounding. Even more, the park is open for night visits, for a truly unforgettable experience.
Grenada: Despite being the oldest city in the Americas, Grenada has stood the test of time and its architecture is considered some of the most well-preserved in all of Nicaragua. Dating back to the Spanish settlement, the buildings are true Spanish colonial style; they are decorated with a myriad of colors, creating a collage-like panoramic stretching down the city’s quaint cobblestone roads. Enjoy hopping from church to church in the city’s center, or go a little bit further to the surrounding countryside for a beach day adventure, or a hike on one of the walking trails. For example, Volcan Mombacho is a gorgeous option that not only has a butterfly sanctuary, but stunning hot springs dotting its foothills.
Where to Stay & Eat
Located in the center of Nicaragua’s capital city, The Crowne Plaza Managua offers luxurious accommodations and exceptional facilities to refresh before another adventure. Designed for today’s modern business traveler, the hotel has a chic, clean decor and reliable conveniences including a fitness center and sprawling swimming pool. Treat yourself to a dining experience at the hotel’s Royal Teppanyaki, where chefs prepare traditional Japanese hibachi cuisine before your eyes.
Comfort, convenience and affordability are in store at The Holiday Inn Express in Managua—conveniently accessible to acclaimed attractions like the shopping mall Galerias Santo Domingo. Wake up from your modern guest room to a complimentary buffet buffet to kick start your day.
The InterContinental Hotel in Managua’s Metrocentro is your palm-fringed urban paradise. Smack dab in the city’s bustling business and entertainment district, you’re within walking distance to some of Nicaragua’s trendiest dining spots. However, you should also enjoy an evening at the hotel’s Nau Lounge, where you can taste fresh sushi and cocktails on the garden-enveloped terrace. Accommodations include classic rooms, executive rooms and suites, each with the option of a lake or city view.