What you need to know about Managua
Managua is the capital and largest city of Nicaragua, and the center of an eponymous department. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua, it had an estimated population 1,042,641 in 2016 within the city’s administrative limits and a population of 1,401,687 in the metropolitan area, which additionally includes the municipalities of Ciudad Sandino, El Crucero, Nindirí, Ticuantepe and Tipitapa.
The city was declared the national capital in 1852. Previously, the capital alternated between the cities of León and Granada. The 1972 Nicaragua earthquake and years of civil war in the 1980s severely disrupted and stunted Managua’s growth. It was not until the mid-1990s that Managua began to see a resurgence.
Managua’s population is composed predominantly of mestizos and whites who are mainly of Spanish descent, with a minority being of French, Jewish Nicaraguan, German Nicaraguan, Italian, Russian and Turkish descent.
The Nicaraguan Cordoba is the currency of Nicaragua. Our currency rankings show that the most popular Nicaragua Cordoba exchange rate is the USD to NIO rate. The currency code for Cordobas is NIO, and the currency symbol is C$. Below, you’ll find Nicaraguan Cordoba rates and a currency converter.
Managua, like much of Western Nicaragua, except for the Sierras to the South, has a tropical climate with constant temperatures averaging between 28 and 32 °C (82 and 90 °F). Under Köppen’s climate classification, the city has a tropical wet and dry climate. A distinct dry season exists between November and April, while most of the rainfall is received between May and October. Temperatures are highest in March, April and May, when the sun lies directly overhead and the summer rainfall has yet to begin.
The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish. In the past nine other languages were spoken in Nicaragua. However, only seven of these are currently considered living languages and the remaining three are now seen as being extinct. Below is a list of these languages along with some details about them:
Spanish is also known as Espanol or Castellano. Millions of people worldwide speak Spanish and it is the most widely spoken Romance language (Iberian Romance language). Spanish spoken in Nicaragua is a different dialect to that spoken in Spain. Certain words may differ as well as pronunciation. However, people who speak any form of Spanish will be able to communicate effectively in Nicaragua.
Garífuna, also known as Caribe, Black Carib or Central American Carib, is a Cariban language (a group of languages endemic to South America). Interestingly Garífuna’s vocabulary is broken into terms used exclusively by men and terms used exclusively by women, but not in all cases.
Miskito is also referred to as Mosquito, Mískito, Marquito or Mísquito and is a Misumalpan language. The use of the language seems to be decreasing, with about 200 000 individuals speaking it.
Nicaragua Creole English:Most people who speak this language will also speak Spanish and English. Creole languages are those that have developed from combining two or more different languages.
Rama:This language is said to be nearing extinction. Speakers of Rama also tend to speak Nicaragua Creole English.
Sumo-Mayangna:Other names for this language are Sumo, Soumo, Sumoom, Sumu, Sumo Tawahka, Woolwa and Taguaca. Sumo is also a Misumalpan language. The dialects of Sumo vary greatly and are sometimes classified as separate languages.
Nicaraguan Sign Language:This is the language of Nicaragua’s deaf community. Nicaraguan Sign Language is a relatively new form of sign language created by deaf children in western Nicaragua’s schools during the 1970s. The development of this language has given scholars greater insight into the formation of languages and has been widely reported on.
Matagalpa: Extinct. It is also known as Pantasmas and is a Misumalpan language. Members of this ethnic group are said to now speak Spanish. Matagalpa became extinct in the 19th century.
Monimbo:Extinct. This is not a classified language.
Subtiaba:Extinct. Subtiaba is an indigenous Oto-Manguean language.
Nicaragua’s people are an interesting blend of different ethnic groups and languages, all of which contribute to the beauty of this land. Why not take a brief Spanish language course before heading off to Nicaragua? It will certainly be advantageous and you will have a great time making small chit-chat with the local people.
Managua is the economic center and a generator of services for the majority of the nation. The city, with a population exceeding one million inhabitants, houses many large national and international businesses. It is home to many factories which produce diverse products.Multinational companies such as Wal-Mart, Telefonica, Union Fenosa, and Parmalat have offices and operations in Managua. The city’s chief products include beer, coffee, pharmaceuticals, textiles, shoes, matches, construction products, etc. Her main trading products are beef, coffee, cotton, and other crops. Managua is also Nicaragua’s main political, social, cultural, educational and economic hub. At the same time, the city is served by the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, the country’s primary international gateway, and regional Los Brasiles airport and Punta Huete military air base, recently renewed.
Managua is also home to all of the major banks of the nation, Banco de la Producción (BANPRO), Banco de América Central (BAC), Banco de Finanzas (BDF), Banco de Crédito Centroamericano (Bancentro) and its parent company the Lafise Group. Several new hotels including Crowne Plaza, Best Western, InterContinental, Holiday Inn, and Hilton currently have facilities in Managua. As well as many hotels, Managua has opened four western style shopping centers or malls, such as Plaza Inter, Centro Comercial Metrocentro, Galerias Santo Domingo, and Multicentro Las Americas, with many more being constructed.
There is a large established local market system that caters to the majority of Nicaraguans. In Mercado Roberto Huembes, Mercado Oriental, Mercado Israel Lewites and other locations one can find anything from household amenities, food, clothing, electronics, construction materials, and other contracting supplies. The markets enjoy a substantial amount of popularity, as many of the backpacking, ecotourism-focused tourists and tourists on-a-budget use these markets for their supplies and souvenirs.
Managua is also currently experiencing an upsurge in real estate prices and as well as a housing shortage. Foreigners, mainly from Anglo-America and Europe, are becoming interested in considering post-retirement life in Nicaragua, as the country has been mentioned by various media outlets due to its safety performance on major indexes and inexpensive lifestyle for tourists.
The capital is also in need of more office space in downtown Managua as the city’s economy continues to grow. Economists predict that its demand for commercial real estate will increase. New office buildings are currently being constructed along Carretera a Masaya and in Villa Fontana districts. The most recent inauguration being the Edificio Invercasa.
Managua is Nicaragua’s cultural capital, boasting several restaurants, theaters, museums, and a few shopping centers. The city is also home to many communities of immigrants and ex-pats from countries including but not limited to Taiwan, China, Germany, the United States, Palestine, and Latin American countries.
Managua is home to the annual Miss Nicaragua pageant; it is the national beauty pageant of Nicaragua. The pageant is traditionally held at the Rubén Darío National Theatre and has been held since 1955.
Due to the influence of immigrants and tourists, it is common to find food specialties of the diverse regions of Nicaragua jointly with international ones in Managua. The most common foods include rice, plantain, beans, and varieties of cabbage and cheeses. There is a local tradition of cheese-making and it is not unusual to encounter fried cheese as a side dish with many of the most popular dishes such as fried plantain and gallo pinto, a regional traditional rice and bean dish.
Managua enjoys an array of international cuisine including Italian, Spanish, and French restaurants, as well as many Asian restaurants (South Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese). The capital is also conspicuously dotted with many American restaurant chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, and Subway, which have sprung up since the 1990s. Local and regional fast food chains exist as well, for example Tip-Top, Rostipollo, and Pollo Campero.
A strong tradition of preparing local sweets such as Cajeta de leche (made of either condensed milk or sugared coconut and nuts) can be found. Some local varieties of chocolate can be found also, usually prepared with pepper and other spices or nuts. A “fast food” known as quesillo is popular throughout the country. Quesillo consists of locally produced cheese wrapped in a corn tortilla with sour cream, pickled onions, salt, and vinegar. Nacatamal, the Nicaraguan version of the tamale, is a local delicacy. Many fruits such as mangos, jocotes, and mamones are a common snack. Mangoes and jocotes are often consumed while unripe with salt and vinegar.
Steak preparation is one of the strong points of the local cuisine. It is often accompanied by a special sauce known as Chimichurri, composed of oil, garlic and herbs. There are many prominent steak restaurants throughout the country, among them Los Ranchos, and also including, but not limited to, Argentine, Brazilian, Chinese, French, German, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, and Spanish restaurants, as well as Nicaraguan.
Managua’s most famous festival is that of its patron saint Santo Domingo de Guzmán. It starts on the morning of August 1, when the “Bajada del Santo” (walk down of the saint) involves many joyful people walking and carrying the old statue of Santo Domingo from Las Sierritas Church in south Managua to another church across the city to the north, in the area destroyed by the 1972 earthquake. It remains here for ten days until the morning of August 10, when the “Subida del Santo” (walking up of the saint) returns the statue to Las Sierritas Church where it remains for the rest of the year. Thousands of people attend this event which involves dancing, eating, drinking and the marching of musical bands, mainly for traditions that date back to pre-colonial times, or to ask for personal miracles, make promises, or give thanks to the saint. During the parade many people dress up in typical costumes, masks and painted bodies. Among other participants are “carrosas” (art cars and trucks) from local business companies, horseriders coming from Nicaragua and other Central American neighbouring countries to show off their horses, skills, and horserider costumes.
Another festival taking place since 2003 is the Alegria por la Vida (Happiness for Life) Carnaval is celebrated in Managua at the beginning of the month of March. There’s a different slogan or theme every year. This event is celebrated with parades, floats, live music, food and dancing as well as the march of the Carnival Queen.
Museums, libraries and cultural centers
The National Library holds a great amount of volumes and affords abundant bibliographic information about the discovery and independence of Nicaragua. The National Palace of Culture has an exhibition of Nicaraguan art from the time previous to its independence. Inside the National Palace of Culture is the National Museum, containing archaeological finds with some examples of pre-Columbian pottery, statues, and other findings.
Managua is home to an array of art galleries which feature pieces by both national and international artists.
Managua is home to many types of museums, some art museums include the Julio Cortázar Museum and the Archivo Fílmico de la Cinemateca Nacional. Natural history museums include the Museo del Departamento de Malacología UCA, Museo Gemológico de la Concha y el Caracol, and Museo Paleontológico “El Hato”. The Santo Domingo de Guzmán Museum is an anthropology museum. History museums include the Museo de la Revolución, Museo Casa Hacienda San Jacinto and Museo Parque Loma de Tiscapa.
Cultural centers in Managua include the Centro Cultural Nicaragüense Norteamericano (CCNN) (Nicaraguan-North American Culture Center), the Centro Cultural Chino Nicaragüense (Chinese Nicaraguan Culture Center), the Alliance Française de Managua (French Alliance of Managua), among others.