Managua Department, Nicaragua
With the Pacific coastline as its western border and almost completely surrounding the beautiful Lake Managua, the Managua department of Nicaragua is divided into ten municipalities – San Judas, Cuidad Sandino, El Crucero, Managua, Mateare, San Francisco Libre, San Rafael del Sur, Ticuantepe, Tipitapa and Villa Carlos Fonseca. Located on the southern shore of Lake Managua, the city of Managua is both the capital of the Managua department and of the country and has a number of attractions worth visiting, including the National Museum, Mercado Huembres (market), and the Ruben Dario National Theater.
About twenty kilometers north of the city of Managua, the Chiltepe Peninsula juts out into Lake Managua. Two lagoons lie inside the peninsula and these popular destinations for swimming, windsurfing, diving and other activities. There are picnic areas and a tourist center with some cafés and restaurants. The beaches in the Managua department are stunning and are popular weekend destinations for inland residents, with the beach of Pochomil being the most popular swimming beach. During the week the beaches are a little quieter with mainly international tourists enjoying their beauty. Going to the other extreme, the municipality of El Crucero reaches an altitude of more than 900 meters, with a chilly wind which seems to blow constantly. The lush vegetation, rolling hills, deep valleys and even the city of Managua can be viewed from the Las Nubes lookout point in El Crucero.
Managua department incorporates a number of nature reserves, with the Montibelli Reserve being closest to the capital city. The reserve has an abundance of varied flora and fauna, attracting birding enthusiasts with its colorful birdlife. Visitors can also expect to see monkeys, frogs, snakes, lizards and butterflies. The Chocoyero Nature Reserve falls within the boundaries of the Ticuantepe municipality, and is renowned for its large numbers of green parakeets, known as Chocoyos, that nest on the cliff sides alongside a waterfall. These distinctive birds make an unforgettable sight as they leave their nests in the morning and return at sunset. Hiking trails in the Chocoyero National Park are designed to ensure that hikers get the most benefit out of the flora and fauna in the reserve, as well as the stunning scenery. Certainly, this is a must-see destination when visiting the Managua department of Nicaragua.