When you hear the name Nicaragua you probably don’t think of it as a primary destination. However, Nicaragua is gaining in popularity as a destination for North Americans, Europeans and Asians.
The country actually reached a unique goal in 2010: 1 million tourists. Here is a link from the newspaper The Nica Times about Nicaraguan tourism.
If you fly into Nicaragua you will land at Augusto Sandino International Airport, named after the symbol of resistance against American military incursions in the 1920s and 1930s. The current Sandinista party is also named after him. You can see all the Sandista flags below at a July rally held in Managua.
I would like to say that Managua is a beautiful city, but I can’t. It is anything but pretty. The city is hot, dirty, dusty and incredible. I know it sounds strange, but I love Managua. There is always so much going on and the city is such a contrast between old and new. It is common to see horses (or mules) pulling a buggy while a car drives by.
It was a busy, teeming city when an earthquake destroyed the city center in 1972. There was no time to rebuild after a revolution overthrew the Sozoma dictatorship and civil war (the U.S. backed the Contras) consumed the rest of the 70s and all of the 80s in Managua and the rest of the country.
While Managua is anything but beautiful, it is a worth a visit. It is vibrant and energetic. You can find the poorest of the poor and the very wealthy. The city has some incredibly pricey places to shop.
One of my favorite films is called La Yuma and shows in great detail the everyday life of one of the city’s typical poor neighborhoods. The film is about a young female boxer who desperately tries to get herself and her siblings out of poverty. I have included a Youtube link to the trailer (with English subtitles). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqM-253doTU
It is crazy and disorganized. In short, it is like the world as we know it upside down. Stop over on your way to a beach or volcano and visit Managua.
I always visit. I find Managua to be a fascinating city.