Managua City Map

Managua – Nicaragua – Information


NOVEMBER 2017:



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BACKDROP:

I was making my way south into Nicaragua from El Salvador and stopped off for 4 nights in Leon … I was slowly making my way to Managua Airport.

In Leon, I stayed in the Guardabarranco Hostel (US$18 / night discounted down to US$15 / night). It was a small Hostel with about 10 rooms in total.

It had a Shared Kitchen.Leon - Guardabarranco - Shared Kitchen

Communal Area.Leon - Guardabarranco - Shared Lounge

And a back garden with a couple of hammocks.Leon - Guardabarranco - Back Garden

My room was nice.Leon - Guardabarranco - Room Entry

Albeit a bit on the small side.Leon - Guardabarranco - Furniture

And I had a good cold-water private bathroom. Leon - Guardabarranco - En Suite Entry

Wifi was good everywhere – including in my room.

It was time to move on to Managua.


LEON TO MANAGUA:

Almost every hostel can offer you a Shuttle from Leon to Managua City or Managua Airport. Mine offered it for US$11. Others charged US$12. Most charged an extra US$3-4 to take you to your actual hotel.

The Shuttle was scheduled to leave my Leon Hotel at 9:00-9:30am and arrive at the Airport at 11:00am. I was waiting at 9:00am. The Shuttle finally arrived at 9:45am.

The trip was uneventful and we hit Managua City from the west at about 11:15am.

Because the driver was running late, he dropped people off at the airport first (before heading back to City Center). We were at the Airport by 11:45am.


ABOUT MANAGUA:

The nicest thing that I can say about Managua is that it is on the map.


WALK AROUND – PHOTO GALLERY:

It is not a nice place … I didn’t even bother taking photos.


WHERE TO STAY:

Accommodation-wise, this is typical of what you find online … this is for 1 night mid November 2017 (the first month of their ‘dry season’) close to the City Centre and / or Airport …



HOTELS & HOSTELS (Nightly Rates):

BOOKING.COM:Managua Booking 1 Managua Booking 2 Managua Booking 3

AGODA.COM:Managua Agoda

EXPEDIA.COM:Managua Expedia 1 Managua Expedia 2

PLEASE NOTE: Hotel and Hostel search sites usually display prices EXCLUSIVE of TAXES. You may have to add up to 18% to the displayed price to get the final price.



VACATION RENTALS (Weekly Rates):

If you plan to stay a week or more, another good option is to use AirBnB or TRIPADVISOR.COM to book a Holiday Rental / Vacation Rental.

Due to additional ‘service’ and ‘cleaning’ charges, Holiday Rentals are usually best rented by the week. A comparable search reveals the following … please note that these prices are in US$s …


TRIPADVISOR:

Don’t bother looking for Vacation Rentals in Managua … you don’t want to be here that long.


AIRBnB:

Don’t bother looking for Vacation Rentals in Managua … you don’t want to be here that long.


PLEASE NOTE: Vacation Rentals are usually displayed INCLUSIVE of TAXES but EXCLUSIVE of any ‘Security Deposit’ (if required). BUT, the displayed price may also be EXCLUSIVE of the host site’s Extra Fees (which can add as much as 16%).

In S.E. Asia, I wouldn’t touch AirBnB with a barge pole … in my opinion and experience the accommodation that you find is an absolute rip off. However, here, they are worth a look.



IN SUMMARY:

There are plenty of places to choose from for under our target price of US$25 / night.

PLEASE NOTE: Many of these hotels still have Shared Bathrooms. Go to the hotel link and check that your preferred room has a Private Bathroom.


MY ACCOMMODATION:

I was only in Managua to pick my son up from the airport. I booked the Friday and Saturday night for myself so that I could have a quick look around. My son didn’t arrive until late in the evening on Sunday, so I booked 2 rooms for Sunday night. I paid US$15 / night (for a total of 4 nights). I paid in Nicaraguan Cordobas … which they converted to N$1,815.

I chose the Hospetaje el Viajante. It was on the airport side of town. It was cheap with a private bathroom. More importantly, it offered a free airport shuttle service – which saved me US$20 getting from the airport into the city centre.

I booked through BOOKING.COM. Through their messaging service, we exchanged messages about what time they needed to pick me up from the airport. Just in case of delays, I asked to be picked up at 1:00pm. It worked well and they arrived on time. It was a 20 minute drive back to the hotel.

The hotel is in a residential area of the city. It is typical of these Central American cities … everything is barred.Managua - Viajante - Facade

They have about 15 or so rooms. Mine was in a group of about 8 on the 1st floor.Managua - Viajante - Rooms

We had a little balcony where we could sit with a ‘view’.Managua - Viajante - Upstairs Balcony

I wasn’t expecting much for US$15 / night including Breakfast in the middle of Managua … they didn’t let me down … the room was small.

Managua - Viajante - Room EntryIt had satellite TV with lots of channels … but none in English.Managua - Viajante - Room Furniture

There was no wardrobe … so, out came my washing line again.Managua - Viajante - Room

The en suite was ‘OK’ but the shower had no rosehead … and, on my first morning they turned the water off.Managua - Viajante - Room Shower Managua - Viajante - Room Toilet

There was wifi throughout the property. The in-room wifi was ‘usable’. You had a faster wifi connection downstairs in the communal area.


ACCOMMODATION SEARCH:

Have a look yourself:

Booking.com


INTERNET / WIFI:

You will not find wifi available in bars & restaurants in these areas of the city. You may still need your own Internet Plan on your Smartphone.

I already had a  Movistar SIMcard (N$50) and I topped it up with a 7 day N$100 MegaPack package: 500MB of data, free Facebook, free Whatsapp, and some talk time credits and some SMS credits.

PLEASE NOTE: Movistar seem to often have ‘quadruple’ day on a Friday. Try and top up on a Friday … or try and wait until a ‘quadruple’ day is advertised. On a ‘promo’ day you can (also) usually get unlimited 4G internet usage until midnight. Occasionally you can get an N$30 1-day package that gives you unlimited 4G internet for a whole day … this is great when it falls on a Friday or Saturday … because it mean that you can stream lots of sports (e.g. the EPL) on a weekend.


TRANSPORT:

I walked everywhere … and didn’t really go anywhere.


EAT:

You will find plenty of cheap Comedors around the streets. In these areas of town, you won’t find any nice restaurants.


BREAKFAST:

Most Comedors offer a Breakfast for N$30-40. Add N$5-10 for a coffee.

My hotel did a very simple free breakfast.Managua - Viajante - Free Breakfast

I had to wait 45-60 minutes for this breakfast to be served.


LUNCH:

You don’t see many street stalls around. Most Comedors offer a Lunch for N$40-50. Add N$10 for a fruit / soda drink. I tried a Chicken and Fried Banana meal (Pollo al Plancha) for N$40 with an N$10 bottle of cola.Managua - Street - Pollo al Plancha N$40


DINNER:

Most Comedors offer a Dinner for N$40-60. Add N$30 for a fruit juice or beer. Few Comedors remain open for Dinner.


IN SUMMARY:

Try and get Breakfast included at your hotel, otherwise, expect to pay an average of N$45 / US$1.50 for a cheap Breakfast with coffee.

Expect to pay an average of N$55 / US$1.85 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.

Expect to pay an average of N$80 / US$2.70 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice or Beer.


DRINK:

You won’t find any nice places to drink in these sorts of areas.Managua - Nearest Bar

My local was about 100 meters down the road. A 1L Tona Beer was N$60.

They closed at 6pm, just before nightfall, and barred up the place for the night.


MONEY / PRICES / SHOPPING:

I didn’t do any shopping, so I can’t comment on prices.

In these areas, all of the shops are barred up and you are, usually, served through a hatchway … it is not conducive to ‘looking around’.

A dozen bananas from a guy pulling a fruit cart down the street were 1 peso each (N$12).


AIRPORT MONEY EXCHANGE:

The main reason why I got the shuttle to drop me off at the airport is that I wanted to find a Bureau De Change.

I still had some Mexican (MXP) on me, some Honduran (HNL), some Belizean (BZ$), and some US$ Travellers Cheques that I wanted to unload. It is almost impossible to find a anywhere in Central America that changes foreign currency … if they do, it is only likely to be US$s and American Express Travellers Cheques (the latter ONLY IF YOU ARE SUPER LUCKY!).

There is only 1 Bureau De Change in the airport.

I had HNL1,742 Honduran. At the official exchange rate this should be N$2,261. They offered me N$790!

I had MXP730 Mexican. At the official exchange rate this should be N$1,161. They offered me N$697!

I had BZ$500 Belizean. At the official exchange rate this should be N$7,644. They offered me N$4,350!

I let them have the HNL and MXP … but there was no way that they were going to screw me for over US$100 on the BZ$s.

MY ADVICE: No not change foreign notes at Managua Airport. Believe it or not, the best thing to do is to change money with money changer touts as you cross the borders. They will only change notes for the 2 countries on that border. If you know the official exchange rate between the 2 currencies concerned, you can usually exchange at a cost of between 2-4% commission.


AIRPORT BANKS / ATMs:

There is only 1 (maybe 2) banks at the airport. But, there are plenty of ATMs.

In Leon, I used a Banpro ATM. The maximum that I could take out was N$10,000 (about US$335) and their fee was 4%!

At the airport, I used a Banco Lafise ATM. They charged the same 4% but allowed me to take out N$20,000.


HEALTH & SAFETY:

As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.

You are advised to be home by dark … or, at least, soon afterwards. If you are out late at night, get a taxi door-to-door from where you are to your hotel.

If you are taking out money from a bank or ATM you are advised to catch a taxi door-to-door from there to your hotel … people have been known to be followed and mugged.

The main problem is Petty Theft … which is a ‘typical’ problem in Central America. Don’t carry around anything of value (take off your watch).


WHEN TO GO:

Leon Climate ChartNovember through April is the best time to go.


WHERE TO GO / WHAT TO SEE / WHAT TO DO:

I didn’t do any sightseeing. I am, usually, more than happy to spend all day walking around a city … but, not here.


GETTING AWAY:

From Managua, I head straight back to Leon.

I will tell you more about that in a future post.


CONCLUSION:

You are best to avoid Managua if you can.

I can’t even be bothered writing up a budget for holidaying here … why the hell would you want to holiday here?

Managua DOES NOT make it into my RETIREMENT REVIEWS.

TTFN


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