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


After an unsuccessful attempt at getting a ride from San Juan de Nicaragua to Bluefields by boat, we grudgingly got on a 5 AM Express (and vastly more comfortable) boat back to San Carlos (on the good advice of Freddy, the shark fin guy from Managua). Of course the military searched our bags thoroughly as we were getting on, drinking our sweet instant coffee from a styrofoam cup. We had a quick stop over in El Castillo where we confirmed with a nice coffee shop owner (originally from California) that there still is no boat to Bluefields, and also got some to go grub. At San Carlos, we hopped right on a bus to Juilgalpa. The city has a terrible bypass road, with loud, fast-moving traffic and litter lining the gutters. However there was still much ... read more
Sunset in Juigalpa
Example of electrical wiring seen in Juigalpa
Local art, Juigalpa

From Leon we travelled to the Northern highlands of Nicaragua. This whole region is off the beaten track, far from the backpackers super highway through Central America. This is where most of the coffee in Nicaragua grows. The highlands are the most rural in the country, and people live a simple life in the most basic conditions we can imagine. The boys herding the cows wear boots and cowboy hats, the women use traditional firewood heated kitchens to prepare meals based on tortillas and roast there small batches of coffee. We spend one day climbing, jumping off cliffs and swimming the Somoto canyon. Because of the rainy season the water level is nicely high and pretty wild at places. We climb across steep parts high above the water to go around the whirlpools, we jump from ... read more
Bearded trees
Somoto canyon
At the start of our Somoto trip

Geo: 12.93, -85.931542hrs: Location: Verandah of Bunglow 7 Altitude 1300: Broken sun but blowy....very blowy. Summary: today kicked off with the usual coffee at 0600hrs....late as the kettle took some 30mins to boil due to the feeble output of the solar batteries. I think we have drained the whole days supply.......other Eco bungalow occupants are sipping tepid yucca juice and switching of lights at every opportunity whilst we are scalding our lips on Barista quality Italian brew....."tough" the distance I spot a couple of "Bill Oddie" birdwatcher types setting off in search of the lesser spotted "Ooomegoolie Bird"..... EQUIPMENT ALERT: disaster has struck in the sponge bag department. A whole tube of shaving gel has managed to quietly discharge itself and coat my entire supply of Alka-Seltzers in scented gloop. We carefully hand wipe each sac ... read more
Bird watching lake
Bungalow 7

Geo: 12.93, -85.93Time Check: 1752hrs.....we are perched high in the mountains close to Mataglapa some 200km due west of the Pacific Ocean. Darkness is gathering and the sounds of the night are gathering pace producing a cacophony of chirruping from tropical "mini-beasts" out to strut their stuff.We are staying in an coffee plantation that has several well equipped and comfortable bungalows each resplendent with an "Eco roof" consisting of manicured tree ferns and other jungle vegetation. Hot water is solar powered and we are advised to think "GREEN" by switching off power at all opportunities.... Earlier in the day Elvis and our chirpy driver "Alvin" picked us up at 0900hrs.....they are great and are worked "to the bone".....airport pickups at 0400hrs........after 2hrs sleep.......demanding clientele from Miami who want cooked b... read more
Size matters!
Shake it all about!
Tobacco Plantation

Selva Negra is a paradise-like eco-lodge and organic coffee plantation in the mountains of Nicaragua between Matagalpa and Jinoteca. Their lodge restaurant sits on the edge of a huge fish pond that mirrors the surrounding alpine jungle. Among the inhabitants are a flock of about a dozen white geese that live and feed at the sight and that appear daily as they make their rounds of the estate. Like childhood images of farm animal illustrations, the dozen or so geese of Selva Negra line up like a single file of wibble-wobbling soldiers as they exit the water in perfect cadence to an unheard beat and march in a perfect line on one of the paved pathways that interlace the resort. Their mission, known only among their flock, includes marching past manicured flower beds, guest cabins, and ... read more

Matagalpa, like Esteli, is a nice relief from the heat and a good base to explore cloud forests, ecolodges, or even the seldom-visited national parks of northeastern Nicaragua. The city sits in a bowl of mountains, all of which apparently Admittedly, I didn't get to see too much of the city, as I was very sick during my stay here. I mostly watched TV in my hotel room and went for short walks around the city. There must be more tourism here during other times of year, but I get more stares and glares here than anywhere else I have visited in Nicaragua. As always, people are very friendly once I smile and talk to them, but I get the feeling that they are not used to tourists at all. I haven't seen another tourist in ... read more
Church Inside
Selva Negra Pond
Selva Negra Gazebo

Bonnie - We have been visiting Selva Negra for two days, outside of Matagalpa. This place is a preserve run with extremely up-to-date sustainable practices. it's an organic coffee plantation with workers who live here and earn the going rate but with free housing, 3 meals a day, medical care, school, etc. on top of that. The leftovers from the coffee shelling and husking process is composted with red worms, and used on the plantation. There are accommodations for 230 people at various costs, the restaurant serves organic food grown here on site. Lights are all CF's, etc. Outside our door is a lagoon with birds, including rather rambunctious geese. Howler monkeys sound like a pack of alligators. There are hiking trails and the forest is old growth (significant because much of the area around Matagalpa ... read more
g´s artsy side
selva negra chapel
our little bungalow

Gillian - with this country, this amazing place in the mountains of Nica. Richard doesn't know it yet but I owe him a cigar for pointing us in this direction and talking his mom-in-law into taking us under her wing. just have to say that the last night in leon, we had a really wonderful meal at mediterraneo. the indoor/outdoor dining was loverly, the lobster pasta a steal, and the veggie lasagna worth taking to go. after a short stumble, some nice guy pointed us through the market stalls to the hidden bus station and the bus to matagalpa was fairly painless. another little stumble in matagalpa where i discovered I didn't have all the nice info that richard had sent - it was buried in my email which was not accessible until the electricity came ... read more
waiting for the monos
more monos

This morning we spent some quality time in a cute coffee shop down the street from our hotel. They make a really perfect cup of coffee. And we utilized their wifi to work on blogs. We then spent the morning walking around looking for a tourist office or tour office because we wanted to visit a coffee farm (finca). As usual directions from locals are a bit challenging. Take a right at the pink house, go straight, you'll see it, etc. The other main issue is that signage is not a huge concern for many businesses in C.A. Oh well, we saw the town, walked a bit & finally found the tour office. The guy there gave us good advice on a self-guided tour of one of the bigger fincas nearby. Lots & lots of coffee ... read more
Mmmm Donuts!
Typical Snack Shack

We headed out this morning without a shower. I still feel clean from the multiple showers a day at PBR. Plus, shared showers are not my fav. We went on the search for Baleadas. Since today is our last day in Honduras & we've been told there aren't any in Nicaragua we have made that a priority. We sat in a little Comedor & had coffee (cup with saucer, love it!) & a baleada. Not as good as Mayra's on Jewel Cay but I can't imagine any will ever hold up to hers. Then we began our search for a cigar factory. Danli is supposedly the town in Honduras known for cigars. However, after asking different people & being pointed in different directions & getting several looks like they had no idea what a cigar was, ... read more
WA apples on the streets of Danli, Honduras?
Iglesia in Parque Central
Los Indios Cigar Factory

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