Biggest Cities In Nicaragua

​Managua​​ is the biggest and capital city of Nicaragua.
​Managua​​ is the biggest and capital city of Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is located in Central America, sharing a border with Honduras and Costa Rica. This country consists of an area of 50,193 square miles. It has a population of over 6.1 million. Many of these individuals live in the country’s cities and urban areas. This article takes a look at the most populated cities in Nicaragua.

Biggest Cities In Nicaragua


By far, the most populated city in Nicaragua is Managua, the capital. It has a population size of 1,028,808 within city limits and 1,337,709 in the entire metropolitan area. This population also makes Managua the third most populated city in Central America. Archaeological evidence suggests that this area, located along the southwestern shore of Lake Managua, has been inhabited for thousands of years. Prior to the European colonial era, Managua was a small fishing town. It was officially founded in 1819. Managua became the capital in 1857 after the country had been independent for around 30 years. Development here has been set back on several occasions due to floods, earthquakes, and fires. Today, Managua is the economic center of Nicaragua and is home to several factories and multinational companies. Its leading industries include construction, pharmaceuticals, textiles, beer, cotton, coffee, and beef.


The second-largest city in Nicaragua is León. Approximately 201,100 residents make their homes here. It is located around 56 miles northwest of Managua, by the banks of the Chiquito River. During the colonial era, León was the capital of Nicaragua. Originally, this city was founded some miles east of its current location, but an earthquake destroyed that city in 1610, and the capital was relocated. Its ruins were uncovered in 1960 and became a World Heritage Site in 2000. Today, this city is known for its architecture, particularly a large number of unique churches.


Masaya is the third most populated city in Nicaragua with a population size of 166,588. It is located approximately 19 miles south of Managua and is the capital of the Masaya Department. It is known as the location from which Nicaraguan guerrilla fighters attacked American sailors and marines during the US occupation of 1912 (also referred to as the Banana Wars). Today, Masaya plays an important role in the transport of agricultural goods from the department. Additionally, this city is home to several industrial centers, which are principally focused on clothing and footwear. Neighborhoods surrounding the city are famous for their production of hammocks and hardwood and wicker furniture.

Additional Nicaraguan cities can be found in the chart published below.

Environmental Threats In Nicaragua

Like most rapidly urbanizing countries around the world, Nicaragua faces a number of environmental threats. This urbanization results in air and water pollution, overuse of natural resources, and unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. This is particularly true in Managua. For combating these problems, the municipal government built a new sewage treatment center and system in 2009. This has helped relieve some issues of waterway contamination, which was negatively affecting local wildlife.

The Biggest Cities In Nicaragua

1ManaguaManagua Department1,028,808
2LeónLeón Department201,100
3MasayaMasaya Department166,588
4MatagalpaMatagalpa Department150,643
5ChinandegaChinandega Department133,361
6GranadaGranada Department123,697
7JinotegaJinotega Department123.548
8EsteliEsteli Department122,924

More in Society