Set midway between Managua and Granada and shadowed by the hulking form of Volcán Masaya, MASAYA’s stirring geography and regular festivals would make it an enjoyable stop even if it weren’t also the centre of Nicaragua’s artesanía production. During the Sandinista years, Masaya developed its crafts tradition into a marketable commodity, and the city is now the best place in the country to buy hammocks, rocking chairs, traditional clothing, shoes and other souvenirs. Most visitors come here on day-trips from Managua or Granada, easily manageable on the bus, but Masaya is a pleasant place to overnight too.

Masaya is an attractive place to explore on foot: there’s not too much traffic in the streets and all the sights are within walking distance of each other.