Lodgings of varying quality are spread all over the city, and what zone you choose to stay in will have a big effect on your first and lasting impressions of Managua. The Microcentro is a concrete jungle, but it's where the best accommodations can be found. On the opposite end of the scale, Barrio Martha Quezada is where all the budget hotels and hostels are clustered. With its handful of Internet cafes and bars, the whole zone has earned the name Gringolandia, but I find it to be rather abandoned and uninviting, in general, especially at night. It is relatively safe, though the barrio to the east has a reputation for being dangerous; if you are careful, you will be fine. The central district is where all the backpackers and budget travelers go. Here, you'll find a cluster of hostels and hospedajes where quality varies wildly, with the Crowne Plaza an upscale exception. One advantage of Barrio Martha Quezada is that the international bus companies, such as Tica Bus, pass through here.

Ultra budgeters should try Casa Gabrinma (tel. 505/2222-6650), 1 block south and 1/2 block east of Tica Bus. Though it might not look like much from the outside, once you get inside, it improves with a nice inner courtyard and five basic, clean rooms. Rates start at $10 per person. Hospedaje Jardín de Italia (tel. 505/2222-7967), 1 block north of Shannon Pub, is another good budget choice, with clean rooms and private bathrooms. Rates start at $20 for a double.

It must be said, though, that if you really want to enjoy Managua, you should spend a bit more and stay in one of the more upscale districts such as Bolonia and Los Robles. This is where you'll find some of the nicest hotels and restaurants. Hotel rates are quoted in U.S. dollars throughout this guide, as this is how prices are commonly quotes by Nicaraguan hotels.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.