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3 Days in Managua: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, June 2012

5 25 Reviews | Add your review

Capital cities can be hit or miss as far as tourist attractions go - sometimes they represent the best of what a country has to offer, and other times they are best seen at a glance from the car as you speed out of town. Nicaragua’s capital of Managua is somewhere in between - there are enough good sights to make it worth staying a few days, and it’s also located close to a few other destinations that rank more highly on the tourist scale.

Day 1: Survey the City

For your first stop upon arriving in Managua, you’ll need to go up. Head up to the tallest spot in the city, which happens to be the rim of an ancient volcanic crater that now is the Tiscapa Lagoon. The views of Managua from the lagoon’s edge will give you some perspective on this city you’re about to see, and the park surrounding the lagoon is home to one of the city’s iconic images - a statue of revolutionary General Sandino. While the lagoon isn’t good for swimming, you can soar over it on a zip line, which may be just the adrenaline jolt you need to prepare you for your stay in Managua.

Managua has taken several beatings over the years, both through natural disasters and as the scene of revolutionary battles, so this is a good spot from which to get not just the lay of the land but perhaps some perspective. This is a city that requires a bit of patience, as its charms aren’t always on public display.

Day 2: Step Yourself in History

As mentioned, Managua has suffered some hard knocks in life. One of the hardest was the 1972 earthquake that leveled nearly the entire city and thereby decimated the city’s historic heart. Managua is, in some ways, still trying to recreate a city center.

An unintentional lasting monument to the 1972 quake is the Old Cathedral - the facade and bell towers still stand, but the rest is a ruin that’s been declared unsafe for visitors (you can still walk around the outside of the building, however, to gain an appreciation for how strong the earthquake was). To step even further back in time, catch a taxi to the Huellas de Acahualinca museum - this is where fossilized human footprints were discovered in the late 1800s, believed to be more than 2,000 years old.

Day 3: Drive to the Top of a Volcano

Volcanoes may be common sights on the horizon in this part of the world, but very few allow the opportunity to drive right up to the rim. The Masaya Volcano is an easy day trip from Managua, and it’s made even easier by its accessibility. Yes, this is an active volcano - one of the most active in the area - with a near-constant stream of ash, steam and toxic gases spewing from the crater, but that doesn’t stop people from going up to the crater.

Once on the Masaya Volcano, you can hike around to see the local wildlife - including a species of parakeet that lives on the mountain and is evidently immune to the toxic gases. If the volcano is being particularly active, you may also get a glimpse of some of the glowing magma it occasionally produces.

Tours & Tickets

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Cerro Negro Volcano Sandboarding Tour from Managua

Enjoy a thrilling sandboard adventure down Cerro Negro Volcano on this day trip from Managua! Hike to the top of Cerro Negro and take in panoramic views of ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $119.99

5-Day Best of Nicaragua Tour: Managua, León and Granada

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

Explore western Nicaragua’s popular destinations on a 5-day tour of Managua, León and Granada. Visit some of the country’s most famous sites, including ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 5 days (approx.)

From USD $520.99

Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve Hiking and Ziplining Tour

Visit the Mombacho Volcano Nature Reserve on this day trip from Managua! Explore the inactive volcano on foot with your expert guide and discover unique plants ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $139.99

Masaya and Catarina Day Trip from Managua

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Travel to the beautiful towns of Masaya and Catarina on a guided day trip from Managua. Visit Masaya Volcano National Park to observe the active volcano up ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $97.99

Apoyo Lagoon Adventure from Managua

Venture to the scenic Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve on a guided day trip from Managua. This relaxing outdoor adventure introduces you to one of Nicaragua's most ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $113.99

Granada City Tour from Managua with Boat Ride on Lake Nicaragua

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

Experience the colonial city of Granada and the enormous Lake Nicaragua on this day trip from Managua. In the city, visit the Casa de los Tres Mundos cultural ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $110.99

Leon Day Trip from Managua

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

Visit the colonial city of Leon on this day trip from Managua. Explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Leon Viejo and the Cathedral of Leon, and learn about ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $115.99

Day Trip to Masaya and Granada from Managua

Visit the Nicaraguan cities of Masaya and Granada on this day trip from Managua. First explore Masaya, where you'll discover a large local market filled with ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $105.99

Managua City Sightseeing Tour

Discover the capital of Nicaragua on this 6-hour guided city tour that will introduce you to the country’s history and beauty! Visit the ruins of the Old ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $86.99

Shared Arrival Transfer: Managua Airport to Hotels

4 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Pre-book your arrival transfer to your Managua hotel from the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in and enjoy a hassle-free ride! Plan ahead and book ...  Read more

Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Duration: Varies

From USD $12.99

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