Things to do in Managua Nicaragua + Iguana Vendors

Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua, Central America.  Things to do in Managua Nicaragua;

  • Santiago of Managua Cathedral
  • National Palace and Museum
  • Managua Promenade
  • Streets with no name
  • Direct flights to the Corn Islands
  • Trips to Masaya Volcano
  • Eat Iguana
  • Minibus to Leon / Granada

Managua is often a transit city on the way to the Corn Islands, Leon or Granada.  However, if you decide to stay overnight, hotels are good value and there are a few interesting sights.

Santiago of Managua Cathedral

Things to do in Managua Nicaragua - Santiago of Managua Cathedral

Santiago of Managua Cathedral is known as the old cathedral because it’s actually abandoned.  It was severely damaged in the 1972 Managua earthquake which left it an unsafe structure.  Somehow a damaged cathedral with an interesting history such as this makes for great photography!  There is talk of renovating this cathedral, we’ll wait and see what happens!  Did you know there’s an abandoned train station building in Skopje Macedonia?  It was also damaged by an earthquake.

National Palace of Culture

Things to do in Managua Nicaragua - National Palace and Museum

The National Palace of Culture, Managua is without doubt a beautiful building therefore worth a visit.  Even if you’re not interested in the museum itself, it’s worth going in to appreciate the architecture from the inside.  An interesting fact about the Palace is that the clock from the old cathedral is on display inside.  Additionally, you’ll learn all about Nicaragua’s history.

Managua Promenade

Managua Nicaragua - Promenade

Managua has a clean promenade along the banks of Lake Managua. For this reason it’s a wonderful sunset location.

Where the Streets have no Name

The famous U2 song, ‘Where the Streets have no Name’ was inspired by Managua, because the streets don’t have names.  So, how can a capital city function without street names?  They have to be imaginative, for example there is a roundabout which has a small tree on it.  This is often a reference point when giving directions. For example, 300 meters left at the small tree or 2 blocks on from the small tree.  They even use the McDonald’s as a reference point!

Direct Flights to the Corn Islands

The most famous place to visit in Nicaragua is not actually the capital city, or even any of the tourist towns.  It is in fact, the beautiful Corn Islands which lie east of Nicaragua in the Caribbean.  The reason I mention these is because you can fly directly to the Corn Islands from Managua with La Costeña.

Trips to Masaya Volcano

Things to do in Managua Nicaragua - Trips to Masaya Volcano

Masaya volcano is spectacular and if you visit at night you can see the live magma.  However, I recommend you take this day trip from Granada Nicaragua as it’s much easier to take it from there.

Eat Iguana

Managua Nicaragua - Iguana street vendor

Around Managua and all of Nicaragua you’ll see vendors with live Iguanas.  These are not pets for sale but food!  I’m sure if you become friends with a Nicaraguan they’ll invite you for an Iguana lunch.  Finally, if you’re curious about the price, they were about $5 each.

How to get from Managua to Leon

Leon is only a 2 hour ride therefore you can easily find a taxi.  However, if you’re traveling solo they have regular minivans between the cities.

León to Tegucigalpa

2019-01-19T20:03:29+00:00December 22nd, 2016|Central America, Nicaragua|12 Comments


  1. Punita Malhotra January 22, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    The streets actually have no name! One hears of this only in small villages, but I wonder how easy or difficult it is in a larger area like Managua. Would be keen to visit and find out for myself. What do they put on the town map??

  2. Fiona Mai January 22, 2017 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Iguanas are something people there eat? That’s interesting! I’m personally quite afraid of those so I don’t think I will try haha. Nice to know more about Managua from your blog post 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tony January 22, 2017 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Interesting fact about U2’s song which I want aware of even though it’s a song I like. In India at a number of places we have the same situation – no street names – and people somehow or the other manage.

    Managua reall looks like an interesting place with some unique food option ????

  4. Jean January 22, 2017 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    That catherdral looks wonderful. It would have been amazing to see when it was in it’s full glory. So sad to see that it’s just standing there all alone.

  5. Suma Jain January 23, 2017 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Iguanas for meal is probably one of the most weirdest thing I have heard and defnitely not something I wish to try haha. A lot of villages and small towns in India do not use street names ( even if there is a name), people generally mention closest landmarks as references. I guess for a capital city like Managua it might be a bit difficult get around. Nevertheless the city seems like an interesting stopover before heading to the Islands. How far are the Corn Islands from Managua?

    • James Smith January 23, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

      The flight is about an hour direct from Managua.

  6. Ling January 23, 2017 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Managua looks like an interesting place in Nicaragua. The Cathedral looks interesting and would probably make for some interesting photos. I’m assuming you can’t go inside of it though…? I feel bad for the iguanas but like many places, you’re going to have some animals that a staple to the country’s diet.

    • James Smith January 23, 2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

      They are probably a great source of protein!

  7. Swati & Sam January 23, 2017 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Street with no name sounds interesting … How do the tourists manage? Would love to visit this city someday 🙂 Love all the clicks

  8. Rhiannon January 23, 2017 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    The Old Cathedral looks stunning! How crazy that the streets literally have no names?! Thanks for the U2 fact, very interesting! I was planning on visiting Nicaragua last summer when I was in Guatemala but ran out of time… Maybe some day!

  9. Allison January 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Fascinating to know that the U2 song was inspired by Managua. I can understand the verbal directions as such but how do you go using a GPS? I can imaging a lot of lost tourists wandering around lol

  10. Paulina March 22, 2017 at 10:15 am - Reply

    That is a fun fact about Managua! I have been in Grenada, but I didnt make it to the capital. nicaragua is so beautiful , I can’t wait to go back!

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