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With a nickname like “The City of Flowers,” you'd expect Masaya to be a pleasant place. And generally, it doesn't disappoint. The place has a small-town friendliness about it, although with 150 000 people it's hardly a puebla.

Masaya is probably most famous for its Mercado de Artesanias, one of the largest and best handicraft markets in Central America. Many of the goods are produced locally. Beautifully painted pots and ceramics are likely to have come from Pueblos Blancos. Many of the smaller nearby communities are known for producing fine hardwood and wicker products, and you'll see several stalls devoted to these. Masaya itself is famous for producing excellent woven hammocks. If you've got the space to carry it, Viva heartily recommends picking one up.

If you're visiting between September and December, be sure to drop in on the San Jeronimo Festival. This colossal fiesta goes on for about three months, with parades, cultural expositions, and massive street parties. Celebrations wax and wane as the months go by, but tend to be biggest on Sundays.

The city is also a convenient launching point for trips to Volcan Masaya. Be sure to check on the volcano's status, as it remains very active. If things are quiet, you can actually descend into the cone to see lava bubbling down below. Try for a twilight tour, when the red-glowing magma is most impressive.

Many people choose to visit Masaya as a day trip from Granada and, practically speaking, its attractions can be taken in with a full-day's sightseeing. Volcan Masaya and Laguna de Apoyo each require separate trips, but these can also be done from Granada just as easily. Ultimately, it's up to you. Masaya is a pleasant place to spend a day or two, but if you're too comfortable in your Granada digs to want to move you can just see the city on the run.


Other places nearby Masaya: Jinotepe, Nindirí, Centro Ecoturistico La Máquina , Niquinohomo, La Boquita, Masaya Town, Diriomo, Diria, San Marcos and Catarina.

By Mike Karanicolas

Michael Karanicolas is awesome.

21 Jun 2008

Masaya Highlights

Mercado de Artesanias

This is Nicaragua's most famous market, located in an elegant century-old structure. Every Thursday, the “Night of Revelry” features folkloric dancing and music, as well as local food. It's a ...
Masaya, Nicaragua


122895Masaya has several attractive churches. Probably the nicest is the Iglesia de la Asuncion, a towering baroque building located in Parque Central. The Iglesia de San Jeronimo and Iglesia de San ...
Historical Building
Masaya, Nicaragua

Museo GalerĂ­a HĂ©roes y Martires

The Museo Galería Héroes y Martires, located just inside one of the main entrances to the Alcaldia de Masaya, is an unabashed tribute to the Sandinistas and their fight against Somoza’s national ...
Masaya, Nicaragua


122892Although the historical ambience of this old fortress is largely ruined by the prodigious graffiti covering its walls, it's still an interesting place to visit. For one thing, it offers a beautiful ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Petroglyph hike

A long time ago, ancient residents of the Masaya region carved swirling figures of birds, snakes and suns into the limestone around Laguna Masaya. You can find what remains of their largely neglected ...
Other Activity
Masaya, Nicaragua


122910The Malécon is a pleasant walkway, overlooking the lush green slopes of the Laguna de Masaya. It's a nice place to hang out, and a beautiful view. There are playgrounds and basketball courts in the ...
City Walk
Masaya, Nicaragua

Museo Camilo Ortega

Camilo (Mundo or Ramiro) Ortega Saavedra was a Sandinista leader, revolutionary and a brother of Nicaraguan president José Daniel Ortega Saavedra. A small museum dedicated to him is located on the ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Masaya Hotels

Mi Casa Hostal

Conveniently located inside the Fruti Fruti restaurant (see listing), Mi Casa Hostal is a good value budget option. A relatively safe place to stay with friendly service, this hostel has a range of ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Hotel Regis

The safe and relatively clean Hotel Regis is another good budget option if you find Hostal Mi Casa full. This hotel is one of the cheapest around, and is actually slightly cheaper than Mi Casa. ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Madera's Inn

The family-run Madera’s Inn is a pleasant hotel with 14 spotlessly clean and very well-maintained rooms. The homey common area is fitted out with a television, chairs, hammocks, and some basic ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Hotel Masaya

Hotel Masaya is interestingly designed following a Harley-Davidson theme. The friendly staff are obviously biker fans and are welcoming to all, including of course, biker groups. This nice ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Hostal Santa Maria

The owners of Santa Maria seem to think that by adding lace curtains and a few dried flowers, they can magically turn a budget hostel into a mid-range hotel. They can't. Despite the higher prices, ...
Masaya, Nicaragua


Apoyo Lodge is a large 3500sq ft private villa nestled in an ecological nature reserve on the shores of Lake Apoyo. Apoyo Lodge is situated off the beaten path and boasts no neighbors for miles ...
Other Hotel
Masaya, Nicaragua

Masaya Restaurants

La Jarochita

La Jarochita is a well-known mexican restaurant with a great reputation. There is no doubt that the food lives up to this reputation, as the enormous portions are extremely delicious. A highlight ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Fruti Fruti

Fruti Fruti is primarily known for their range of fruit smoothies, which are excellent. To accompany your smoothie this restaurant also serves food, and is a great place to grab either breakfast or ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Pizza Gold

Pizza Gold is a convenient place to grab a quick bite, and an extremely cheap way to satisfy your hunger. The individual slices of pepperoni pizza are great value as they are sold for just $0.15. ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

La Ronda

Although this place does not look like much, the food is actually quite excellent. At $1.30, the filet mignon can only be described as phenomenal. The filet is an absolutely outstanding cut of meat ...
Masaya, Nicaragua

Don Pepe

Don Pepes is a wonderfully ambient Italian restaurant. The tables are well arranged around a very handsome garden. The impeccably dressed waiters also add to the atmosphere. Unfortunately the ...
Masaya, Nicaragua
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