Renowned as Nicaragua's shopping mecca, Masaya is a center for handicrafts and is particularly known for its well-made hammocks. If shopping's not your style, there are still several worthwhile sights within easy reach of town, including Volcan Masaya, Fortaleza de Coyotepe, and Masaya's churches. Overall, Masaya isn't a particularly attractive city, but there's enough to keep you occupied for an afternoon; serious shoppers should plan on at least one full day. the renowned shopping capital of Nicaragua beckons credit card holders from far and wide. Masaya's markets are the city's venerable main draw, though their names confuse first-time visitors. The New Market (Mercado Nuevo) is the sprawling monstrosity next to the bus station. From all outward appearances, this market differs little from other markets in the country, but head inside to the crafts section and you'll find a much better selection of artisan work than in other cities. Volcan Masaya makes an excellent excursion from Masaya, Granada, or Managua, none of which are more than 18 miles distant. The unique nature of the park allows visitors to descend into a volcano crater. Adventurers will find a variety of hiking options that take advantage of views of Laguna de Masaya, Masaya, and Lago de Nicaragua. One highlight is the fumarolas, steaming vents, which you'll encounter near the visitors center at the cone of Comalito. Located in the crater of an ancient volcano that last erupted 20,000 years ago, Laguna de Apoyo attracts visitors in search of nature and relaxation. At 918 feet deep, Laguna de Apoyo is the deepest geological point in Central America, but the shallow edges of the lake are great for swimming. Built in 1524, Granada is the oldest Spanish city in the continental Americas. Situated 28 miles southeast of Managua, the city was founded by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba, who named Granada after his hometown in Spain. The most attractive city in Nicaragua, Granada beckons visitors with its irresistible combination of colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and convenient proximity to many of the country's prime sights. Indisputably the heart of Granada, both physically and in the minds of Granadinos, the bustling Parque Central should be on every visitor's itinerary. The palm-shaded walkways make for a pleasant stroll while you admire the lush trees, pastel fountains, and carousel. Craft vendors ready to cut you a deal set up shop on the north and west sides of the park. Indulge in some people-watching while you slurp on a raspado or ice cream. The park is lined with some of Granada's most impressive colonial buildings. This is only the beginning. The guide covers much more. And for each area in this part of Nicaragua, all the hotels and restaurants are detailed, as are the places worth a visit, how to get around, the activities and adventures.
Nicaragua's Pacific Lowlands: Masaya, Grenada & Carazo
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