BEST TRAVEL AGENCY
Careli Tours. This well organized, professional operation is affiliated with Swiss Travel in Costa Rica; phone: 505-278-6919. www.carelitours.com
BEST BUSINESS HOTEL
Real Inter-Continental Metrocentro. Since an earthquake destroyed Managua's downtown in 1972, the capital has been missing its center, but a new commercial area south of the original downtown is doing quite well. A welcome addition has been the Real Inter-Continental Metrocentro Managua Hotel. The 157 rooms at this five-star hotel include a presidential suite and six junior suites. The 40 rooms on the Club Floor, which is tailored for executives, come equipped with fax machines with printing, copying and scanning capabilities, dual-line telephones, oversized writing desks and ergonomic chairs. Rates start at US$105 but the hotel's Web site promises a special deal if you book online using the code CDP#1 188888. Voites restaurant features buffets of French cuisine, as well as a la carte service and theme nights. Especially good is the Pacific Coast lobster night. To keep in shape, swim a few laps in the outdoor pool or work out at the fitness center. Managua's largest shopping center and the Ruben Dario Plaza ( complete with fountain) sit across the street. Several restaurants and Managua's main entertainment venues are within walking distance. The hotel has a complementary shuttle to the Augusto Cesar Sandino airport 14 kms away; phone: 505-2-784-545. www.gruporeal.com
BEST CAR RENTAL
Hertz. In addition to a counter at the airport (look right as you leave the arrivals area) Hertz has offices in most of the major hotels; phone: 505-2-668-400. www.hertz.com
BEST RESTAURANT WITH SMALL HOTEL ATTACHED
Cesar. Located on Carretera Panamericana southwest of the Metrocentro, the Hotel y Restaurante Cesar consistently wins awards for its cuisine. Dine inside--or outside in the gardens surrounding the swimming pool. For overnight guests, the 32 large rooms are plain but they come...