Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua. Situated on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua, the city was made the national capital in 1857; previously the capital had alternated between the cities of León and Granada. The city has a population of about 1,380,100, predominantly Spanish-speaking Caucasians and mestizos.

Founded in 1819 and given the name of Leal Villa de Santiago de Managua, the city began life as a rural fishing village. Efforts to make Managua the capital of Nicaragua began in 1824, soon after the Central American nations became independent from Spain. Managua's location between the rival cities of León and Granada made it an ideal compromise site.

Managua is located on the southern shores of Lake Managua (also known as Lake Xolotlan). Lake Xolotlan contains the same fish species as Lake Cocibolca's, except for the freshwater sharks found exclusively in the latter.

Managua features four smaller lakes and lagoons within the city limits. The most centrally located is Laguna de Tiscapa (Tiscapa Lagoon), south of the old downtown. Tiscapa Lagoon is of volcanic origin and was formed around 10,000 years ago. Asososca Lagoon, to the west, is Managua's most important source of drinking water. Asososca is located at the beginning of Carretera al Sur (Southern Highway), close to the connection with the Carretera Nueva a León (Leon's New Highway). Nejapa Lagoon, south of Asososca Lagoon, is also along the Southern Highway. The fourth lagoon is Acahualinca Lagoon, to the northwest. This lagoon, which gives its name to a nearby district to the east, is located on the shores of Lake Managua and has shallow waters.

Managua, like much of western Nicaragua except for the Sierras, has a tropical climate with constant temperatures averaging between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius (82 and 90 Fahrenheit). The months of December and January are coolest, whereas March and April are hottest and driest.

Managua, due to its tropical climate, varied topography, naturally fertile soils, and abundant rain and water sources, boasts a great variety of flora. Therefore, many different types of trees (some of them not found in the rest of the world, such as chilamates, madronos, ceibos, pochotes, genizaros, tiguilotes, royal palms and pinuelas) abound in the city. During the rainy season (May to November), Managua becomes one of the most lush cities in the Americas.

Journeys trips that include Managua:

Nicaragua's Forests & Fincas, Jan. 26-Feb. 4, 2008 with Will Weber


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