Nicaragua: holidays, events, climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. For Orthodox Christians, All Saints’ Day is on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|March April||Easter/Semana Santa|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|July 19||Liberation Day|
|August 1||Santo Domingo Day|
|September 14||Battle of San Jacinto|
|September 15||Independence day|
|November 2||All Souls Day/Día de los Muertos|
|December 8||The Conception of Mary/La Purísima|
|25 December||Christmas – Navidad|
Source: Countryaah – Nicaragua Holidays
|February||Music and Youth Festival in Managua|
|March||Folklore, gastronomy and handicraft festival in Granada|
|May||“Palo de Mayo” Festival in Bluefields|
|September||Polkas, Mazarcas and Jaaquellos in Matagalpa|
|October||Jinotega Music Festival|
|November||Folklore Festival in Masaya|
Every city has its annual festival for its saints.
|2o. January||San Sebastian||Diriamba|
|April 24||San Marcos||San Marcos|
|June 24||San Juan Batista||San Juan de Oriente, San Juan del Sur|
|July 26||Virgen de Carmen||San Juan del Sur|
|August 1-10||Santo Domingo||Managua|
|15th of August||Virgen de la Asuncion||Granada, Juigalpa|
|September 24||Virgen de La Merced||Matagalpa, Leon|
|October – April||baseball|
|September – April||Soccer|
|September||Fishing fair in San Carlos|
|November||Equestrian rally in Ometepe|
Brief overview, travel times
Nicaragua has a predominantly tropical climate, the dry season lasts from December to May and the rainy season from June to November. It is much cooler in the northern mountain region.
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. For people who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures do not cause any problems, the whole year is suitable for a stay in the country. However, people who prefer a moderate climate and lower temperatures should better use the months of December and January to stay in Nicaragua.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that NI stands for the nation of Nicaragua as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Ruins of León Viejo
The former capital of Nicaragua lies at the foot of the Momotombo volcano. It was founded in 1524 and only 100 years later destroyed in an earthquake and buried under the ashes of the volcano. The old León has been excavated since 1967 and in 2000 the remains of the former church of La Merced were found.
The ruins of León Viejo were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
Major cities in the country
León has around 150,000 residents, making it the second largest city in Nicaragua. The city is located in the east of the country on the Pacific Ocean. León is one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua. It was built in the colonial style and the city still exudes a charm that is reminiscent of the rich times. León has been the intellectual center of the country for several centuries, and liberal ideas had their origin here. In the late 1970s, the city was the focus of revolutionary struggles. Not far away is the coast of the Pacific Ocean and the Momotombo volcano shows its perfect cone outside the city.
Granada has around 110,000 residents, making it the third largest city in the country. Granada is located in the southeast of Nicaragua. Granada is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Nicaragua. Despite the numerous destruction in its history, it is today a colonial gem. Due to its location at the foot of the Mombacho volcano and on the shores of Lake Nicaragua with its islands, the city can offer not only itself, but also many beautiful excursions in the surrounding area.
Casa de Leones/Granada
The beautiful mansion was named after the two lions that adorn its portals. The impressive house was built by the first Spanish governor Juan Vasquez Coronado and expanded in 1720 by Don Diego Cardenal de Montiel, the last governor of Costa Rica, before it was pillaged by the pirate William Walker. In the last few years it threatened to deteriorate and on the initiative of Ernesto Cardenal, one of the country’s most important poets, and the German actor Dietmar Schönherr, the house was expanded into an international cultural center in 1987.
Casa de los tres mundos/Granada
The colonial building from the 16th century was restored between 1988 and 1995 and now houses the city archive of Granada.
El Viente Uno Garrison/León
The destroyed building of the 21st garrison stands in a park and commemorates the many Somoza victims with a memorial to the Combatiente Desconocido (Unknown Soldier).
Power station on the Momotombo volcano
This power station has a capacity of 35 megawatts and is built on the slopes of the Momotombo volcano. It is fed by the inactive volcano 8 km away, whose hot water and steam supplies are fed from the magma chamber to turbines. Incidentally, Nicaragua now covers 30% of its electricity needs from volcanic energy.
Granada has the most beautiful Parque central (main square) in the country. It is surrounded by tall palm trees, benches and fountains. The square is framed by historical buildings such as the cathedral and the Casa de Leones.
Palacio Nacional de la Cultura/Managua
The museum offers the best collectibles from the pre-Columbian era. Among other things, one can find statues and petroglyps that were found on the island of Ometepe and Zapatera.
Museo Antiguo Convento de San Francisco/Mueso de Idoles de Zaptatera/Granada
The museum is housed in the old convent and has the most interesting exhibition of pre-Columbian art in the country. Here are the large religious sculptures brought from Zapata Island in 1970, as well as historical photos of Granada, religious items from the colonial period and a gallery of native images from the Solentiname Islands. There are also regular exhibitions.
Casa Natal Sor María Romero/Granada
The small chapel is the birth house of María Romero Meneses and houses a modest collection of religious artifacts and books about the life of the saints.
El Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas/León
The Museum of Traditions and Legends is housed in a building that from 1921 to 1979 served as the infamous 21st prison, where many prisoners were tortured. Today, doll illustrations are shown in the former prison cells, while murals provide information about how the prisoners suffered.
Rubén Darío National Theater/Managua
The Rubén Darío National Theater in Managua opened in 1969 and was not damaged by the 1972 earthquake. The building is characterized by its modern architecture. The main hall has approx. 1200 seats, while the crystal hall has approx. 400 seats.
Teatro Municipal José de la Cruz Mena/León
The theater was built in the 19th century, and in the early 20th century many important performances by artists from Europe and Latin America were given here. The theater was later forgotten and almost burned down in 1956. It has now reopened after 40 years. It bears the name of León’s greatest classical composer, José de la Cruz Mena. Maestro Mena fell ill with leprosy, so he was not allowed to enter the theater for the premiere of his composition “La Ruína”. Contemporary witnesses say that the great composer sat on the steps in front of the theater and wept tears of joy when he heard the orchestra play his work.
Churches and other sacred buildings
Catedral Metropolitana/Léon The cathedral is one of the most important sacred buildings in Central America. Construction began in 1747, but it took until 1825 before the work was finally completed. Inside there is a gem-studded tabernacle 1.50 m high and an ivory statue of Christ, the large bronze figure of Christ from Esquipulas and the statues of the twelve apostles, at whose feet Nicaragua’s national poet Rubén Darío is buried.
Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Subtiava/Léon
The church was built before 1520 and thus arose before the city of León was founded. The church has a magnificent facade and one of the most beautiful colonial altars in the country. On the inner walls there are expressive representations of Indian motifs, including a particularly striking sun painting.
The new cathedral was largely sponsored by Tom Monogahan, the owner of a pizza chain. It has a modern but curious concrete architecture. They say it resembles a mosque or a nuclear reactor with its small towers.
Ruins of the old cathedral/Managua
The cathedral, built in 1929, was destroyed by an earthquake two years later and again 41 years later. But you can still admire the imposing frescoes and angel sculptures.
Catedral de Granada/Granada
The cathedral was built for the first time in 1583 and rebuilt in 1633 and 1751 after various pirate attacks. In 1895 it was burned down again by William Walker. In 1915 it was reopened as a church. The building is an impressive size and the facade is in neoclassical and Gothic styles. The two towers form an impressive backdrop to Granada.
Igelsia San Francisco/Granada
The wide blue church was built in 1524 and is Nicaragua’s oldest church with original steps. In 1530 the legendary Frey Bartomolé de las Casas preached in it, and in 1592 the convent was founded. The complex was sacked in 1685, and after its reconstruction it became a university in 1836. Around 1856 the church was destroyed again by William Walker, who used it as a barracks. After the convent was rebuilt it became the main secondary school in the city, later becoming the Instituto Naional de Oriente until it was closed in 1975. The restorations began in 1989 with financial help from the Swedish government. Today it houses the Museo Antiguo des San Francisco.
El Castillo de la Inmacualada Concepción/El Castillo
The fortress, perched on a hill, was built by the Spanish in 1675 to protect against pirates and British conquerors. Henry Morgan and also the young Lord Horatio Nelson failed because of the Castillo. Today the fortress is a museum and you have a wonderful view over the river.
In the old Somoza fortress you can still visit the old prison. From the fort you have a wonderful view of León.
Fortaleza de la Pólvera/Granada
The 18th century fort was used as an ammunition depot, later as a military base and ultimately as a prison.
La Paz Centro
The small town is located 54 km from León. The survivors of the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of León Viejo settled here in the early 17th century. The area has a long tradition of ceramic production and there are still small factories and arts and crafts businesses. The beautiful tiles with which the colonial houses in León are furnished are burned in large wood stoves. To see the centuries-old tradition of brick making, you can visit one of the factories between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Universidad Politecnica de Nicaragua/Managua
The Polytechnic University of Nicaragua was founded in 1967. Around 25,000 students are currently studying at the university. The university has the following faculties:
- law Sciences
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua/Managua
The Autonomous National University of Nicaragua was founded in 1812. The main campus is in Managua. Another campus is located in León. This used to be the main campus. Around 25,000 students are currently studying at the university. The university has the following faculties:
- Natural sciences
Archipiélago Las Isletas
The 354 islets in Lake Nicaragua are made of basalt stone and are covered with rich vegetation. They were created after a volcanic eruption of the Mombacho. They offer an abundance of flora and fauna, especially the bird world is plentiful. The visitor can rent a canoe or take a trip to the islands with tours organized by the local providers.
Isla El Morro
The island is located 15 km from Granada and is home to the Nicarao Lake Resort amusement park.
Isla El Muerto
A special attraction of the island are flat rocks, Nicaragua’s most interesting place for petroglyphs. The special arrangement of the stones suggest an important burial place.
Isla Ometepe (island with two mountains)
The 276 km large island is the largest island in Gran Lago (Lake Nicaragua) and impresses not only with its two volcanoes Concepción and Madera, but also with a great flora and fauna. Both volcanoes can be climbed and from the top of the Concepción volcano you can see the Atlantic and Pacific. For the indigenous people, the island was religious and left behind stone sculptures and petroglyphs.
The second largest island in Lake Nicaragua used to be a volcano that eroded over the centuries and turned into a rainforest. The island is 625 m high and with its rich flora and fauna is wonderfully suitable for hiking. You can also go on guided archaeological hikes to the numerous sites that still exist.
Saslaya National Park
In the Zelaya Department is the Saslaya National Park, which was founded in 1971 with an area of 11,800 hectares. It is located in the south of the Cordilleras Isabelia and in it is the largest elevation in the region with a height of 1,828 m. The area has a rich flora and fauna such as the jaguar, ocelot, spider monkey, birds and snakes.
Masaya National Park
In the west of the country lies the Masaya Volcano National Park, which was founded in 1978. It has an area of 5,500 ha, the biggest attraction is the volcano with a height of 635 m, which consists of a main crater with a diameter of half a kilometer and 200 m depth, and smaller secondary craters. Its base and the lower parts of the slopes are covered with large lava stones from its last eruption in 1772.