Nicaragua — Shopping and Leisure
Nicaragua is well known for its quality handicraft products, such as pottery, furniture, and other arts and crafts. A good product which will fit in a suitcase is an intricately made hammock. The best place to purchase these products is the workshops of the artisan makers themselves, in the towns known as the Pueblos Blancos. This area located in between the cities of Managua and Granada, centered around the town of Masaya, is well known for producing high quality craft.
In San Juan del Oriente there are dozens of family owned potteries, delicately creating vases, bowls, and other ceramics. Otherwise, visit the craft market in Masaya, where many of the local producers flock to sell their goods, and you will be given a good variety here. The Huembes market in Managua has similar products, although usually for a higher price. In all instances, bartering is the norm at Nicaraguan markets and to get the best deal you should negotiate with the vendor.
Another well-known market is Mercado Oriental in Managua, and this is one of the largest markets in the Americas, selling virtually everything you can think of, including food, clothes, and electronics. Otherwise Managua is home to several malls that provide Western style shopping and branded products. The largest in the city is MetroCentro (by Rotonda Ruben Dario, Managua), and it offers a multitude of stores to purchase anything you may have left behind at home. Or you can go to smaller malls at Plaza Inter or Plaza Las Americas.
A good souvenir to take home from Nicaragua is the world-class rum called Flor de Cana. As with most of Latin America, rum is the most drunk alcoholic drink, and Nicaragua is no exception with this awarded winning sugarcane liquor. Gran Reserva is aged seven years and is a good quality buy, or for something lighter in flavor you can purchase four year old Extra Light or Etiqueta Negra, although there are many other varieties to choose from. Another of Nicaragua’s greatest exports is coffee from the main growing region of Matagalpa, available along with coffee from other regions coffee from many stores or coffee shops. Estelí is famed for producing cigars, which can be purchased directly from the factory in the town.