Best of Masaya, Nicaragua

Masaya is the name of both a city and a department (state).  The department is next to the department of Managua.  The town of Masaya is the largest in the department and has a lot of smaller towns rich on history, tradition and folklore.  The area the department covers is small but each little town provides there own unique niche to visitors.  The top 5 things to see in Masaya:

Best of Masaya Nicaragua Apoyo Lagoon

Top 5

1)      Masaya Volcano National Park

2)      Catarina

3)      Apoyo Lagoon

4)      San Juan del Oriente

5)      Coyotepe Fortress

Nicaragua Magazine Online Masaya VolcanoHave you been watching Survivor Nicaragua Redemption Island.  If you have been watching, one of the rewards for a challenge was the opportunity to enjoy a meal on top of a volcano.  Just 20 minutes outside of Managua is the Masaya Volcano National Park which is where the reward as enjoyed.  This volcano is constantly smoking and very active.  In its history it has erupted multiple times.  Visitors can drive their vehicle to the top of the volcano and walk up to the edge of the crater and look down from where the smoke is coming up.  The volcano has lot of history to it and you can learn more in the visitor center.  Also available for the more adventurous is cave tours where you can see tunnels formed from lava flows as well as colonies of bats. 

Catarina is the flower city capital of Nicaragua.  There are nurseries lined along the road making it a beautiful site to see.  Many people come people come from other cities to buy plants and flowers for their homes and businesses.  Catarina also boasts one of the best viewpoints in the country.  Off the main highway you can go through town to the other side where there is a great view of the Apoyo Lagoon.  It is a spectacular site and a great place to take pictures.  There are also trails you can take to walk down to the bottom where the lagoon rests.

Next on our list is the Apoyo Lagoon.  It is an old crater lake with a rocky bottom below the water.  It is a great place to spend the day sun bathing, kayaking, and swimming in the crystal clear blue waters.  There is even scuba diving available in the lake.  There are restaurants where you can have a bite to eat and enjoy some cocktails in between your dips in the water.

Near Catarina is San Juan del Oriente.  San Juan del Oriente also has its own niche.  It is the pottery capital of the country.  It is from here that much of the ceramic pottery is made in the country.  Many visitors buy a lot of this pottery to take back to the US for their homes or to us as gifts.  The pottery comes in all shapes, sizes and designs. 

The last site to visit on our list is the Coyotepe fortress.  The fortress is on top of a hill at the edge of the town of Masaya.  It was built in 1893 as a look out for enemies approaching, mostly North American forces who were trying to take Masaya.  During the Somoza regime it was used to house political enemies.  It could hold up to 800 prisoners and there were torture areas.  Today it is used as a historical site run by the boy scouts of Nicaragua.  They will give you tours through all the underground facilities.  In the past you could still find bullet shells lying around the facility.

Check out more on Masaya…

Nicaragua Magazine Online Masaya Panorama

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