Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in 1852. Prior to its inception as the capital city, the title had alternated between the cities of León and Granada. The city has a metropolitan population of about 2,408,000, this includes the neighboring cities of Ciudad Sandino and Tipitapa. Managua is composed predominantly of mestizos and whites who are mainly of Spanish descent, with a small minority being of German and Italian descent. Managua is the second most populous city in Central America, after Guatemala City.
Managua features many bars, nightclubs, casinos, theaters and cinemas. Compared to western prices, alcoholic beverages, theater visits and cinema tickets are relatively inexpensive. There are cinemas in all major shopping centers; screening both English- and Spanish-language films. Foreign embassies in Managua also sponsor film festivals. Since the late 1990s and early 2000, many casinos and karaoke bars opened and have remained popular attractions for Nicaraguans and foreign visitors. Popular music includes the Palo de Mayo, Merengue, Cumbia and Latin pop among other Latin music genres, as well as American pop and rock. Salsa dancing is a national pastime. Managua boasts a vibrant night life. Nightclubs and bars are abound in Managua, particularly, in the popular areas called "Zona Hippos" behind the Hilton hotel near Metrocentro and "Zona Rosa". In these areas, Bachata music has been gradually gaining popularity.
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Nicaragua [5 Nights | 6 Days]
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For a quick glimpse of Central America colonial architecture and volcanoes.
The Rubén Dario National Theater is Nicaragua's most important theater, and is one of the most modern theaters in Central America. Both national and international artists present shows, concerts, exhibitions, and cultural performances such as El Güegüense among many others. The National Theater is one of the few buildings that survived the 1972 earthquake that destroyed 90% of Managua.
The National Palace is one of Managua's oldest buildings undamaged by the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake. It was commissioned by President Juan Bautista Sacasa in 1935 and built by architect Pablo Dambach, who also built Santiago's Cathedral. For more than 50 years, the National Palace housed the Congress, today it houses the National Archive, the National Library, as well as the National Museum which is open to the public. The museum features pre-Columbian paintings, statues, ceramics, etc. Also part of the exhibit is the hall of National History and the hall of National Symbols. The National Palace was one of the few building that survived the 1972 earthquake.
Managua is also home to the Museum of Acahualinca, where the Ancient footprints of Acahualinca, fossilized Paleo-Indian footprints made some 6,000 years ago, are engraved in volcanic ash. The Museo Sitio Huellas de Acahualinca is located in west Managua in the Acahualinca neighborhood. In addition to the footprints, the museum also displays artifacts found in other localities around the country. Artifacts such as mammoth footprints, pre-Columbian tools, a skull from León Viejo, and a small collection of pottery among other archaeological objects.