Located in the shadow of the grand Hotel Intercontinental in central Managua , Managua Backpacker’s Inn (Chaman Viejo, 75 meters south, house #55, tel. 505/2267-0006, www.managuahostel.com , contact [at] managuahostel [dot] com, $8 shared dorm, $15 private room), blew away the competition as soon as it arrived a couple of years ago. It offers clean rooms, a friendly atmosphere, and a good value in a safe neighborhood, all within walking distance to Metrocentro and the Zona Rosa. It is very popular, so reserve (and even prepay) online.
Managua’s former backpacker stronghold neighborhood, Barrio Martha Quezada is getting tougher to recommend to anyone but overnighters bound for an international bus line. The neighborhood that has hosted international budget travelers since the sandalistas poured south to support the Revolution is run-down and worse for the wear these days, and increasingly unsafe. Travel in groups and always take a taxi, especially to the nearby Plaza Inter shopping center.
If you do stay here, the new and family-run Hostal Dulce Sueño (75 meters east of TicaBus, 505/2228-4125 or 505/8424-0272, www.hostaldulcesueno.com , hospedajedulcesueno [at] yahoo [dot] es, $8/s) is clean and safe, with private bathrooms and laundry service. Traditional Nica meals are available for $2 per person (recommended).
Guesthouse Santos (from TicaBus, one block north and 1.5 blocks west, tel. 505/2222-3713, $6) remains quirky, gaudy, and well-liked by an ever-revolving international crowd.
Hospedaje El Dorado (tel. 505/2222-6012, $15/d) is plain but secure under the watchful eye of a very demanding proprietress. The remaining guesthouses in this neighborhood will not be around for much longer as travelers increasingly pay more and go elsewhere.