Like other Nicaraguan cities and towns, Managua has very few street signs. Only the major roads are named. Large buildings, rotundas (traffic circles) and other historic sites serve as points of reference. Just to complicate matters a bit more, many of these references no longer exist.
Directions are described in terms of their direction and distance, usually in cuadras (blocks) from these points. In addition, Managua has a special system for north (al lago or to the lake), south (sur), west (abajo or down) and east (arriba or up).
Thus you might hear and we have said, “de donde fue el banco popular, una cuadra al lago, dos cuadras abajo,” which means from where the old popular bank used to be, (it has not been there since the 70’s) one block north and two blocks west.
All of this seemed quite overwhelming at first, but we would say that we are feeling increasingly comfortable with navigating the city as we spend many hours on public buses getting to know our new surroundings. To top things off the bus routes in Managua are not posted, nor is there a schedule. On the bright side an adventure awaits a bus stop away!
P.S. Kevin is not the biggest fan of U2, which in my opinion is quite unfortunate. I was grateful that he gave the “okay” to use their song title as our blog post!