For First Timers in Managua, Nicaragua: Follow These Tips for an Experience to the Max!

BY MAURA LEWANDOWSKI

Nicaragua’s capital is an exciting city with lots of cool experiences to offer! Follow these tips to help you experience Managua to its fullest.

1. “Adio’” As you stroll down the streets of Managua and decide to interact with some locals, there are a few rules on how to start a conversation. If you are just interested in saying hello in passing and don’t need to ask anything or don’t want to talk, just offer a simple “adios” as a greeting. You will hear a many “adio’” being exchanged on the streets instead of “hola” or “buenos dias.” If you do want to start a conversation with someone passing by, start your greeting with a “buenos dias” or simply, “buenas.” Just keep in mind that if you are getting a lot of adioses as you walk down the street, no one is trying to hint that you should leave, they’re just being friendly!

2. Are we there yet? If you need to ask directions while in Managua, be prepared to be confused. For some reason, the normal north, south, east and west just aren’t used in Managua. North is “al lago,” because the lake is in the northern part of the city. West is “abajo,” because the sun sets in the west. “Arriba” is east, as the sun rises in the east. And luckily, “al sur” is south. When you ask how to get somewhere, you will get responses like “dos cuadras al lago, y dos abajo.” In other words, two blocks north and two blocks west. You also might run into a problem as the directions usually include landmarks that don’t exist anymore. So, to actually find your way to your destination, you may have to ask a bunch of people directions so that you can stay on course. On a positive note, you will get to practice your Spanish and interact with locals!

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3. Beep, beep. During the first couple of days of your trip to Managua, you might be startled (or annoyed) at how often the taxis beep at you. The taxis are only beeping at you as a way of seeing if you need a ride, even if you aren’t making any sort of move to hail a cab. The taxi drivers beep at everyone, especially tourists. A simple wag of the finger will show the cab driver that you are not looking for a cab.

4. Blue jeans in ninety-degree heat?! A sweaty but true fact in Nicaragua is that most adults do not wear shorts when they are out in public. Most locals wear blue jeans or Capri pants, even though the sun is beating down during the summer months. The only people who wear shorts are tourists, so if you are looking to blend in a little better in Nicaragua, stick to a light and breezy shirts and jeans.

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Jerry Alonzo Leon

Contributor

Jerry's favorite country to travel to is Spain. When he's on the road, he keeps it real simple with a pen and a pad. His travel style is spontaneous, easygoing, and always in search of a great adventure.

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