Besides its capital city, which is the administrative center of the country, the department of Managua has many attractions. Its territory has coasts on the Pacific Ocean and also goes through the 'Sierras de Managua' (low mountains) and continues on the wide plains that surround most of Lake Xolotlan (also known as Lake Managua).
The department has famous beaches that are easily reachable and include luxurious or rustic tourist infrastructures. A few of them remain unexplored. Also, Managua has three important natural reserves: the Chiltepe Peninsula with two volcanic lagoons, the El Chocoyero - El Brujo natural reserve and the Montibelli Natural Reserve, which famous for being a birdwatching destination.
The region was home to many indigenous tribes, all of them absorbed by the cultural and ethnic mix of colonial times. Furthermore, visitors can see artifacts and even prehistorical traces in local museums. Also, there are many historic sites offering information about important episodes of the Nicaraguan recent history.
Managua measures 3,465.10 Km². Its tropical savannah climate gives the area mostly warm temperatures throughout the year. The only exception to this characteristic is the area of the 'Sierras de Managua'. About a 91.1% of its population live in the many cities and towns of its territory, although there is a large rural productive area. Managua has nine municipalities with a lot of destinations to visit.
Located in a valley that goes from the 'Sierras de Managua' (South) to the shores of Lake Xolotlan (North), this municipality is mainly occupied by its capital city, which is the administrative and political center of Nicaragua. Managua has its own personality: its chaotic design gathers several modern residential areas, poor settlements, volcanic lagoons, shopping malls, a hectic nightlife, hotels, restaurants and tour operators.
The capitol city of the municipality of Ciudad Sandino is the second most important one after Managua. Even though there are not significant tourist attractions, the municipality has many farms and shores in Lake Nicaragua. The local festivities are held in honor of San Francisco Javier on December 3rd. Furthermore, its inhabitants are also part of the celebrations in honor of Santo Domingo de Abajo, in August.
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Located on the summit and slopes of the 'Sierras de Managua', this municipality is known for its cool weather, despite being in the middle of a department of warm temperatures. Its urban center is the town of El Crucero, which has a hotel, a canopy tour, many restaurants serving international food and viewpoints with panoramic views. An interesting site is the community of El Ventarron, from where one can see the ocean and feel the strong winds that do not allow anything grow except grass and a few trees. Fog is also common in the area, as well as a sulfur smell brought by the winds coming from the Masaya Volcano.
The major attraction of this rural municipality is the Chiltepe Peninsula Natural Reserve, situated on the shoreline of Lake Managua. The Xiloa Lagoon, which has a tourist center, is located here, as well as the little known (and barely accessible) Apoyeque Lagoon. There are other attractions like a small forest and some caves on the southern side of town. In addition to Mateare, the capitol, other important centers are Los Brasiles and San Andrés de la Palanca.
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Also known as San Francisco del Carnicero (former name), this remote rural municipality has many plains and hills. It is located on the Northern side of Lake Managua and also has a wide shoreline in it. There are several livestock and agricultural farms, which also preserves a wild forest partially affected by loggers. In addition to the rural town of San Francisco, which is the capitol of the community, one can find several scattered communities. The only hydro-mud therapy hospital in the countr is located near the the capitol town; it offers treatments, tours and lodging options.
The beaches of Pochomil, Masachapa and Montelimar are the main attraction of this municipality. The three of them are easily accessible and have tourist infrastructure (rustic and luxurious). The small town of San Rafael del Sur is the capitol of this municipality. This territory covers coasts, where one can find beautiful sugar cane landscapes, mountainous slopes that are also part of the 'Sierras de Managua' and some preserve inacessible forests.
Natural landscapes, fauna, flora and archaeological remains are part of the attractions of this municipality. Visitors will find natural reserves such as El Chocoyero - El Brujo and Montibelli. Also, the National Zoo is located here, with diverse national exotic species. Its urban center is the small city of Ticuantepe, which as a nice archaeological museum and many parks. There are other villages nearby, where wide pineapple plantations can be seen. Furthermore, Ticuantepe has several restaurants, hotels and tourist centers along the highway that crosses the whole territory.
This municipality of flat lands has several attractions, such as the coasts on Lake Managua or the Tipitapa riverbanks. The San Jacinto Hacienda, an important stie during a historical important battle, features a nice museum in its interiors. The tourist center of El Trapiche, which has wide ponds surrounded by infrastructure and some restaurants, is also located here. Furthermore, the municipality is also known for its pools of thermal waters. The city of Tipitapa is the urban local center. Here, visitors will find good restaurants; some of them offer the famous 'Pescado a la Tipata', which basically consists on a boneless fish. The local festivities are held from January 6th to 30th, in honor of the 'Señor de Esquipulas' or the Black Christ.
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Better known as Villa El Carmen (former name), this rural municipality has coasts in the Pacific. Its many beaches are quite solitary, have little infrastructure and are rarely known. Although, there is a surf hostel and houses for rent. The territory is flat and occupied by livestock and agricultural farms. The town of Villa El Carmen is the urban center. Also, it has villages and fishing villages.