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Nicaragua is a country that is divided in half: thick jungle and small cities to the northeast, with the far more populous flat lands containing all the large cities to the southeast, where prime Nicaragua event venues are found in Managua, the country's capital. In the middle are lakes Managua and larger Nicaragua, as well as a range of picturesque, neatly separated volcanoes with perfect cones.
The country's chief airport is Managua's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA), named for a Nicaraguan hero who resisted American occupation and which sees service from Miami on American; Atlanta on Delta; Fort Lauderdale on Spirit, and Houston on United. The airport is approximately 10 miles east of the city center.
Chief among convention centers in Nicaragua is Managua's Olof Palme Convention Center, which may host up to 1,250 persons, but is in the process of being privatized. Until that is finalized, meetings are better off being held in Managua's excellent hotels, such as the 157-room Intercontinental Real Metrocentro Managua, which has space for events of up to 650 persons; the 147-room Barcelo Managua, which has space for 450 persons; and the 140-room, pyramid-shaped Crowne Plaza Managua, which has 14,000 square feet of function space for up to 1,300 persons. Other smaller hotel venues in Nicaragua are found in Granada, Leon and San Juan del Sur to the southeast of the country. In Leon there is the stunning, convent-turned-luxury hotel, El Convento, which has 31 guest rooms and space for 500 persons; while in Grenada is the equally beautiful Hotel Plaza Colon, which has 21 rooms and sumptuous interior and exterior spots for gatherings. San Juan del Sur is being developed as a beach destination, while the only established resort is the former summer home of the Somozas in Montelimar, the Barcelo Montelimar Beach Resort.
Planners can hold private functions in event spaces that show off Nicaragua's impressive Colonial-era magnificence. Examples include the San Francisco Convent, or Museo del Convento de San Francisco, in Granada, which has a history dating to 1520, but also in that city but completely different is the ChocoMuseo, which can take groups on tours, show them how to make chocolate and organize parties. In Managua there are the National Museum of Nicaragua and contemporary art museum Codice, which has gallery space, a courtyard and many works of art from the Solentiname art school of Lake Nicaragua; while in Leon is the colorful Museo de Leyendas y Tradiciones.
The Los Robles area of Managua is where groups will find the coolest neighborhood of restaurants and bars. Within it is Le Cafe de Paris for French cuisine and with a private dining room, Asados de Gueguense for roasted meats and, also for steak and good wine, Don Candido. In Granada, just off its Parque Central, is the gorgeous, stunning La Gran Francia, which dates from 1524, was completely and faithfully restored in 1995 and has 21 guest rooms and a restaurant seating up to 100 persons, while in San Juan del Sur is the trendy Bambu Beach Club, which has Austrian-Italian-German chefs and management, a spot in the beach, a surging lifestyle and excellent food.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA)
Approximate taxi fare: 572 NIO
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