The Xiloa lagoon is located about 20 kilometers north of Managua, and it can be easily accessed via the new highway to Leon. The beautiful lagoon is a popular weekend retreat for people living in the area. It provides some tourist infrastructure and several types of activities can be undertaken in or around the lagoon.
Xiloa, sometimes written as Jiloa, provides a great place for swimming. From time to time, local swimming clubs even organize contests to cross the lagoon. There is easy access to the water and open areas at the shore also allow visitors to sunbathe. Good wind conditions also enable visitors to practice other waters sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Another activity that can be undertaken in the Xiloa lagoon is scuba diving. Many different fish species, white crabs, and geothermal vents can all be seen while diving. Read more on this page about the scuba diving possibilities at Xiloa.
The Xiloa lagoon is located within the Chiltepe Peninsula. There are several small mountains that surround the peninsula, and these small mountains provide some excellent hiking possibilities. There are no real trails, however, and it requires some effort to reach the higher elevations. Nature is abundant in this area and the views are spectacular. Not only can the Xiloa lagoon be seen from above, but after reaching the top of the hill hikers can even see Lake Managua and the capital city itself. It is also possible to go to the other side of the lagoon and hike the steep hills that surround another lagoon, Apoyeque. For this hike, however, a guide and good physical condition are needed.
To hike the other, lower hills that provide a view of Lake Managua and the city, hiring a guide can also be useful. Guides can be found by inquiring at the restaurants located at the bottom of the lagoon.
There are several restaurants located at the southern shore of Xiloa. A tourist center is set up here, where some simple restaurants and small bars can be found. This center, situated right at the shore of the lagoon, also offers a small playground and some roofed seating areas that can be used by the visitors. There is a small fee for entering this area. The tourist center opens every day at 8 am. Visitors can enter until 7 pm, but people that have already entered can stay until 9 pm. There are some more restaurants further down the road, outside the tourist center.
Another possibility at this area is to set up a tent and camp at the lagoon during the night. The best place to do this is within the tourist center. This is a large area and it is easy to get the permission from INTUR (the Institute of Tourism), who have an office located on the premises.
The Xiloa lagoon can be reached in half an hour from Managua. In car, take the new highway to Leon. Shortly after passing the city called Ciudad Sandino there will be a sign for Xiloa that points to the right. After about ten more minutes the tourist center will be to the left, right next to the road. The other restaurants can be reached by continuing the road. It is also possible to get here by bus or taxi from Ciudad Sandino (buses from Managua to Ciudad Sandino leave frequently). Getting back from Xiloa to Ciudad Sandino using public transportation is harder, so be sure to inquire about the bus schedule upon arrival at the lagoon.