Cities and Attractions
The Capital City of Nicaragua extends through the Southern coast of the Lake of Managua and its population comes nearly to more than a quarter of the total population of Nicaragua. Managua has been devastated by natural disasters that include two earthquakes in the past century, and ever since the second earthquake, in the year 1972, the city has not had a downtown center. Nevertheless, those that return to Managua after some years will notice the drastic changes of the city. The improvements in the Nicaraguan economy have caused a boom in the area of construction. However, it is noticeable that the economy in progress has not yet benefited all, which is denoted by the poverty that is still seen in the city.
The Museum of Huellas de Acahualinca contains the old tracks of people and animals that escaped a volcanic eruption in the direction of the lake. The Museum of the Revolution has interesting historical samples with emphasis in the revolutionary civil war of the past century. Also there are various lagoons that have popular beaches for swimming.
||The greatest volcanic attraction is found in the center of the Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya, which emits lava and gases, and is surrounded by smaller volcanoes and thermal sources. According to the legend, the natives used to sacrifice young girls by throwing them down on the burning lava to calm Chaciutique, the goddess of fire. The Spaniards thought that this was the entrance to hell and that demons inhabited the place. The entrance to the park is only 14 miles (23 kilometers) from the highway to the south of Managua.
The Lagoon of Xiloá is a beautiful crater lagoon that is 12 miles (20kms) in diameter. Located to the northwest of the city, is one of the preferred places of the population to go for a swim. In the Trapiche, 11 miles (17km) to the Southeast of the city, the water that comes from natural sources has been canalized towards a great outdoor swimming pool surrounded by gardens and restaurants..
Leon is traditionally the city where liberalism took place and is known to be the center of the radical ideas and the intellectuals of the country. Monuments to the revolution, including audacious Sandinista murals, can be appreciated in different points of the city, and in many buildings you can still see some bullet holes made back in the war. Even though it has struggled with earthquakes and a civil war, the city is impressive because it has beautiful colonial churches and government buildings. The streets are lined up of old Spanish style houses made with white walls of adobe, roofs are conformed by red tiles, big wooden doors and fresh patios and gardens inside the houses.
|The Cathedral of Leon is the biggest and most impressive in Central America and its inner walls display great paintings of the Via Crucis by Antonio Sarria as well as the tomb of the world known poet Rubén Darío. The Gallery of Heroes and Martyrs include photographs of many that died fighting for the FSLN during the 1978-79 revolution..
The Caribbean Coast
Unlike the rest of Nicaragua, the Caribbean coast was never colonized: it remained an area protected by the English until end of the XIX century. Bluefields is the only part of the Caribbean coast, all of which is well covered by tropical forests, that is generally visited by travelers, but some visitors also go to Corn Island on the Atlantic seaboard.
||The trip from Managua to Bluefields includes a five hours trip on boat through the Escondido River. The mixture of ethnic groups of Bluefields - that includes the indigenous groups (Miskitos, Sumos and Ramas), Blacks and mestizos of the rest of Nicaragua – makes this city an interesting place, and people definitively are going to have a good time here; there are several reggae clubs and a lot of places for dancing on weekend nights.
Like many islands that are on the Caribbean coast, the idyllic Corn Islands were for a time a refuge of pirates. The greatest of the two islands is Corn Island, which is approximately 43 miles (70km) off the coast, here takes place celebrations of the popular fests. In the clear turquoise waters, the beaches have white sands bordered by palm trees and coral reefs.
Off the Asphalt Route
The Islets or Las Isletas are a group of 356 small islands in the coasts of Granada on the Lake of Nicaragua. The villagers are fisherman and harvest of tropical fruits like mangos and coconuts; there is a great variety of birds on the Islets. The island of San Pablo has a small Fort that was constructed in the XVIII century by the Spaniards for protection against the British pirates. The Island Zapatera is one of the more important archaeological areas of Nicaragua. Many of the giant stone statues that were erected by Indians in pre-Columbian times have been moved to other parts of the country, but one can still visit other old tombs and structures. There are more tombs and some interesting statues of stone in the Isla del Muerto.
The Archipielago of Solentiname
The Archipelago of Solentiname, in the southern part of Lake Nicaragua, is where a communal society established for artists by the poet Ernesto Cardenal takes place. The islands are known by their distinguished schools which make colorful primitivism paintings. These islands are an excellent place for long walks, for fishing and resting. The boats that go to the isles of Solentiname start off from San Carlos, in the southeastern part of Lake Nicaragua.
Corn Islands, which are 70 km off the coast of Bluefields, consist of two islands. The greater island has only 6 km of diameter, and the other island that is 18km apart from the great island has an area of 1.5 square kms. Like other islands that are near in the Caribbean Coast, the Corn Islands were once the refuge of pirates. At the present time, the islands (mainly the greater one) are the ones where popular celebrations are held, it has a beautiful clear turquoise color water, white sand beaches, and excellent places to fish, you can go diving in the coral reefs, where people live the soothing rhythm of the tropics.
There are rumors about an Italian company planning on investing 30 million dollars in Little Corn Island. Those interested in enjoying the island will want to visit it soon, before constructions get underway.