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The large, placid expanse of Xiloa, just 20 kilometers northwest of Managua, was once a favorite getaway for families who wanted to beat the city heat, but knew better than to chance the polluted waters of Lago de Managua (or other area lagoons). The 180 mph winds of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 wiped the Peninsula de Chiltepe clean, taking out Xiloa’s thatched umbrellas, eateries and houses. The lake, which didn’t have an ample shore in the first place, lost slim beaches beneath mud and muck. It would be another decade before visitors returned to Xiloa in any significant numbers. In meantime, private landowners moved in and claimed much of what had been public lakeshore. (Where the blame rests for the loss of public land depends on who you ask.)



Xiloa is just starting to rebuild its family-friendly reputation, with a much reduced park, new restaurants and the familiar thatched umbrellas. The park is open Monday to Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm, and until 8 pm on Sundays. The entry fee is C$5 per person, C$10 per motorcycle, C$25 per automobile, C$35 per truck and C$200 per bus. The rustic and slightly scummy Licroria-Disco Bar El Primo serves plates of pork, beef, shrimp, fish and fried chicken on the lake shore (mains C$60 to C$180; open daily, 10 am to 8 pm). The park has crude bathrooms and changing rooms, which are locked, more often than not. A new, unnamed Xiloa bar was scheduled to open in late 2009, with a range of alcoholic drinks and mains (including controversial turtle eggs).



To get to Xiloa, take a C$4 bus to Cuidad Sandino on the Managua-Leon highway and then catch a C$10 taxi to the lagoon.


Other places nearby Xiloá : Apoyeque and Pochomil and Masachapa.

By Rachael Hanley
A sometime newspaper journalist with a heavy side of wanderlust, Rachael moved to Quito in November to work on the V!VA staff. She is currently...
28 Sep 2009

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