Blogs from Estelí, Northern Highlands, Nicaragua, Central America Caribbean


The last post left me at San Rafael del Norte, the beginning of the coffee region. We had been meaning to go to the Somoto Canyon for some time and we were finally on our way. We stopped over in Estelí for lunch and a cafe similar to one we would find back home ; with a server from Miami and a chocolate cake tasting like one we would have made from the box mix, we enjoyed a taste of home. Then got to the bus station with a ride from a Nicaraguan-American we had met in the cafe. He said he hoped we would find our place one day. He had just moved to Esteli from California. As we were waiting for the bus, we saw a foreigner, like us, who caught our eye and ... read more
Somoto Canyon
Somoto Canyon
Looking at fish in Somoto Canyon

Our Arrival Our minibus from Leon dropped us off at the North bus station on the main highway. We walked right up the Panamerican Highway, then turned left towards the Cathedral to find a place to stay. Where We Stayed Hostal El Albergue - Calle 3a NE just west of Avenue Central. C$400 for a double room with bathroom and TV and free purified water and coffee. What We Did Visited Somoto Canyon - we booked a guide through Sonati hostal which cost $25 each for the longer trip. They called the guide who met us at the bus stop in Somoto. To get to Somoto we caught the bus at 6:30am from opposite the garage on the main highway near Calle Transversal. It took about 2 hours and cost C$28. We were met by our ... read more

As we mentioned in our last blog, we took a bus to Nicaragua last Tuesday. After a few hours we reached the border and it took 3 hours to cross it... First we got out of the bus to let our passport stamp by the Costa Rican officials. After everybody was back on the bus, the driver came to collect our passports and some money (without further explanation, so some of us got worried after a while...). A kilometer further we had to get out of the bus again and collect our luggage. It was a chaotic place, people selling all kind of stuff, offering to change money or trying to carry your luggage to earn something. And in between all this there were some long tables where you had to put your luggage, waiting for ... read more
Ojo de Agua
Volcan Conception
Lagoon on top of Volcan Maderas

Dear Blog Readers, After an intense couple of days travelling through three separate countries, we had a quick stop in Somoto planning on doing a canyon hike but the river was up and the currents dangerous so we moved straight on to Esteli. The Lonely Planet guidebook somewhat glorifies the town as a Mid-West cowboy town but for those expecting wooden saloon doors to swing open at either ends of a dusty track and two gun toting hilbillies to stroll out and draw twenty-five paces before shouting "Vamos!" and shooting each other then you are probably going to be disappointed. The city is once again centred on an oversized cathedral and a gloomy looking central park (the sort that you wouldn't fancy walking through at night). We wandered the streets and realised to our, or should ... read more

Esteli is about two hours on an express bus from Leon or Managua, and it's right off the Pan-American Highway, so it´s a pretty accessible place to cool off and check out mountain life. It's cleaner, cooler, and a little less hectic here, and it is a good base to check out Somoto Canyon and Miraflor. The central park is lively and, like everywhere else in Nicaragua, in the shadow of a cathedral. To the south is the business district, which has a variety of interesting, though basic, restaurants and stores. However, after visiting Matagalpa as well, I have to say that Matagalpa is much more lively and interesting. The surrounding mountains are much more beautiful as well. If you are choosing between the two, and don't care about the canyoning or Miraflor, I recommend Matagalpa. ... read more

After seeing Rach safely into an airport taxi I left San Pedro Sula for the forth (and hopefully last) time and made the mammoth bus tip across Honduras and south into the highlands of Nicaragua. My first stop just over the border was the small colonial town of Somoto; the town didn't feature on the gringo trail until 2004 when some Czech scientists brought the existence of Cañon de Somoto to the world’s attention. Formed millions of years ago the gorge just outside town is a mere 10m wide but plunges 150m into the granite strata. Along its three km length runs the Nascent River between the high walls. With a local guide I spent a fantastic afternoon swimming, jumping and floating downstream through this extraordinary place, the near vertical granite walls shoot up either side ... read more
Don Alberto
arte El Jalacate

I arrived at the border Los Manos border crossing at about 11 AM. It was a little later than I intended but I wasnt concerned because I didnt have far to travel. I was promply besiged by a large group of kids offering help to guide me across the border so I picked out one of them and resigned myself to the circus that would surely follow. It was bad but maybe not so bad as I expected. There was the money changing business, a $3 fee to leave Honduras (which seemed pretty bogus) plus a car permit fee and obligatory insurance to buy for Nicaragua (which seemed pretty reasonable) plus tips for the guides (one for Honduras and one for Nicaragua as per their custom) that all added up to a small sum of money ... read more

El D&D microbrewery es muy lindo, con muchos arboles, una piscina un restaurante, hamacas etc. Tuvimos mucho hambre y comimos BLT sanwiches con licuados muy ricos! Esa tarde caminamos un poco pero nos sentimos muy mal y volvimos a la habitación muy rapido! No comimos la cena, y por desayuno solamente comimos tostada con nada y agua. Es lastima porque el Lago Yojoa es muy lindo pero no lo pudimos ver mucho. El segundo dia caminamos un poco al lago pero solamente por un poco de tiempo y volvimos muy rapido al hotel. Por la cena comimos poco y hablamos con amigos en el restaurante. Habia muchos hummingbird feeders con muchos hummingbirds. Eventualmente nos sentimos mucho mejor y pudimos viajar. Tomamos un bus a Tegucigalpa, la capital de Honduras a las 6.30am. En Tegucigalpa habian taxis ... read more
Lago yojoa
Museo en Estelí
museo en estelí

Our first morning in Nicaragua we had cereal from the supermarket for brekky (Dario kindly went out and bought some while I woke up). Then we headed to the main reason we were in Esteli, to see the Mothers of the martyrs museum. It is run by the mothers of those who died in the revolution here in Nicaragua in the late 1970´s. First we went to a smaller museum with a room full of artefacts from thousands of years of history as well as more recent history. The martyrs museum was special, with photoghraphs of all the fighters for the revolution who died, including babies and children. Probably about a third of the fighters were women. There were a lot of little stories of how people died or particular battles with lots of details. It ... read more
FSLN poster
Potraits painted from photos
photos of some revolutionaries who died

I finally found an internet place that had a computer that recognized my camera card. Hope you like. Dawn... read more
My Bedroom
Composting Toilet
House from front

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