- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
Mercado Roberto Huembes
Mercado Huembes is a fun market: It's full of the exuberance, color, and life that so typifies Nicaragua, and is tourist friendly and easily-accessible. That's what makes it such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Managua, and you will be perfectly safe there while you shop.
Although Managuans rely on Huembes for lots of day-to-day stuff (chicken cutlets, toothpaste, socks) the market also has a splendid selection of pottery, paintings, leatherwork, and other Nicaraguan artisan specialties.
Only Masaya is a better place to shop. Open every day from around 7:30 a.m. to around 5 p.m.
Arts, Crafts, and Souvenirs
For a gorgeous selection of arts and crafts in a pleasant atmosphere, visit Mama Delfina (Enitel Villa Fontana, one block north, tel. 505/2267-8288), a boutique that collects the work of artisans from all over the country. At the little café on a breezy second-floor balcony, you can mull over your purchases with a tall glass of icy cacao.
The best bilingual selection of local and international books is Frontera Books (200 meters north of the Enitel Villa Fontana intersection, tel. 550/2270-2345); great children’s section, plus the latest maps and magazines.
Hispamer (Reparto Tiscapa, just east of the UCA, tel. 505/2278-1210) is the largest and oldest bookstore in the city.
In the Centro Comercial, several small, but interesting bookstores compete for your attention, including Librería El Güegüense (tel. 505/2278-7399 or 505/2278-5285), one of the better choices for books about Nicaragua and foreign-language dictionaries; and Librería Rigoberto López Pérez (tel. 505/2277-2240), named for the poet who, for love of his country, assassinated Anastasio Somoza García. The latter features a wide selection and friendly atmosphere.
General Traveler Needs
Managua has seen four U.S.-style malls built since 1998: Plaza Inter, Plaza Metrocentro on Carretera Masaya, Galería Santo Domingo farther south on the same road, and Plaza Las Américas in Bello Horizonte.
At the upper end of the market, Galería Santo Domingo sells luxury goods over Cartier, LaCoste, and Chanel counters, and a selection of European fashions; at the lower end Plaza Inter has made a go at cheaper-quality imported goods from Asia (the Plaza is wholly owned by Taiwanese investors). Plaza Las Américas falls somewhere in the middle.
Metrocentro and Plaza Las Américas are the most recommended for satisfying travelers’ needs, but at any of them you should be able to pick up a cell phone or cell phone chip, a clean shirt, new shoes, a Swiss Army watch, sunglasses, a digital camera, a sun hat, and similar (these malls offer free wireless Internet as well).
The Centro Comercial de Managua is a pleasant open-air strip mall built in the Somoza era, offering a good selection of books, clothing, fabric, and sporting goods, plus two banks, an Internet café, and a post office—not a bad place to get some errands out of the way if malls aren’t your cup of tea.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition