Managua and the Central Beaches
Located between the famous cities of León and Granada, Managua is home to roughly 1,800,000 citizens, making it the biggest city in Nicaragua. A harmony blend of the mestizos (mixed Indigenous American and European descendants) and the whites make Managua one of the safest cities to live and travel in Central America.
Managua has seen the ups and downs of Nicaragua's political powers and has witnessed some of the severe earthquakes. Located on a fault, experts believe that the city will continue to suffer from rigorous quakes every 50 years or less. The years of 1931 and 1972 marked the hardest earthquakes Managua had to bear, with 1972 devastation being the more difficult and time-consuming moment to reconstruct and rehabilitate. A lot of residential and business areas were rebuilt on the outskirts of Managua post that earthquake.
The Managüenses, as the residents of Managua are called, live mainly on trade. The city is the main trading center for coffee, cotton and other crops. It also serves as an important hub for politics, culture, commerce and industry. Fortunately, there is no huge urbanization coming to Managua, thanks to the other well-managed cities like León and Granada.
They call it the Venice of Central America due to its increasing use of canals throughout Managua. Being a cultural hub, trips to the Catedral de Santiago that stood up even after hampered by 2 earthquakes, Palacio Nacional Museum, the volcanic origin Tiscapa lagoon, and Huellas de Acahualinca that keeps the 6,000 years old fossilized Paleo-Indian footprints are worth making.
In, out and around Managua is super easy. International flights are available at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport. Traveling by car and bus are highly possible, too, if you come from within Nicaragua or neighboring country. Inside the city, however, it is the most convenient for tourists to take a taxi. It is affordable as well as more comfortable and practical than taking a bus. There is no meter in the taxi, so fix the price before jumping in. Sometimes the driver may elevate the price from normal, so do haggle if necessary.
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Nicaragua Central Beaches
There are three main central beaches that one can go to when they are around Managua. If you enjoy sunset, sea breeze and water sports and you happen to be in Managua area, Pochomil, Montelimar and Masachapa are the good places to go.
The nearest beach from Managua, Pochomil hosts hardly any visitors during the work days but turns mad with the local visitors at the weekends. The beach is wide and swimmable but windsurfing is not an advisable activity. Though forbidden, you can see turtles' eggs being sold in Pochomil.
Another Pacific beach of Nicaragua is Montelimar, just 65 km from Managua and not far from Pochomil and Masachapa. This beautiful beach has such dazzling, charming coastline and landscape. No wonder that Barcelo Montelimar, a 210-hectare beautiful resort, was built here. The magnificent nature and the superb hotel amenities have complemented each other and rewarded the resort as 'Nicaragua's Leading Hotel' in the 2009 World Travel Award.
Masachapa, just like Pochomil and Montelimar, is often deserted during most of the week. This fishing village is an hour away from Managua's international airport and offers a wide beach good for swimming, surfing and snorkeling. The life of the fishermen going and coming back to park their boats, plus their interaction with the local vendors can be an interesting sight to observe. Masachapa is also renowned for its pools of rock when the tide goes out. Children usually like it. Another suggested activity is to drink and mingle with the nice, friendly locals.
Going north of these villages, there is a long stretch of empty beaches. If you want to go off the beaten track and discover more than your travel guide book has to offer, you will find a pleasant surprise of hidden nice little lodges and restaurants along the coast.
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