If you only have time to make one tourist stop in Managua , this is it. The Parque Historica occupies Managua’s breeziest and highest point; follow the road just south of the Plaza Inter and Crowne Plaza Hotel upwards to get to it.
The twin-towered monument halfway up the road is the Monumento Roosevelt, which delineated the southern terminus of the city preearthquake. Twenty meters farther up the hill is the statue of justice, sardonically decapitated ages ago.
The statue of Sandino atop the crater lip is one of Managua’s most recognizable symbols and is now a public park with impressive views of the old city and lake. The Sandinistas erected it atop the wreckage of Somoza’s presidential mansion. A permanent exhibition of old photos of Sandino has been set up in the basement of the ruins.
Just up the hill but closed to the public rests Las Masmorras, a prison in which Somoza tortured many political prisoners, including Daniel Ortega.
Older Managuans remember the Laguna de Tiscapa as a turqouise swimming hole and popular afternoon getaway. Under the Sandinista government of the 1980s it was turned into a sewer. A major cleanup began in 2005, including the diversion of sewer lines and a reoxygenation plant to treat the waters. See for yourself as you zoom across the lagoon on a zip line (tel. 505/8888-2566, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $15 for foreigners, $10 for Nicas).