San José de Cusmapa, known by the name of "Segovías balcony", is a small municipality in the north of the country, in the Department of Madriz. It is the highest municipality in Nicaragua, at 1,280 meters above sea level. It is located at a distance of 248 kilometers of the capital Managua, and to 30 of the departmental head, Somoto.
Cusmapa has a tropical climate and its average temperature is between 19º and 26ª. Due to its geographical location is a place exposed to the wind and at night the temperatures descend to become a rather cool place where it invites to cover with a good blanket.
Its economic activity is centered on agriculture, mainly produce basic grains, corn and beans and less coffee. It also gives livestock exploitation and the production and exploitation of wood, especially pine.
The meaning of the name Cusmapa, presents two different versions, a current manifests that the name comes from the chorotega and means "Mountainous Place" or "High Mountains". While there are historians who decanta by the meaning coming from the nahual of "nest of ravens".
The population of this municipality is descended from the indigenous chorotegas. Indigenous traditions still preserve shared ownership of land, the existence of the councils of elders and offices of the indigenous people.
Cusmapa was founded in 1954 by the Italian father Rafael María Fabreto Michelli, where he created the urban community and a cooperative. Currently there is a foundation with the name of the father who continues his philanthropic work.
The municipality of Cusmapa has natural attractions unparalleled due to its height. In the area there are several viewpoints.
The viewpoint, called the Balcony of Cusmapa, located in the urban area, about 1,600 meters approximately, lets us see on a clear day from the Pacific volcanic chain to the Gulf of Fonseca. On a serene night and in the light of a full moon you can see the lights of the capital as capricious fireflies.
Another tourist landmark in the municipality is the viewpoint known as La Mano del Diablo, located 1 kilometer from the town, an extensive rock formation of about 400 square meters. A caprice of nature worth admiring. Also known in this area are monoliths known by the same name.
Another viewpoint is that of Piedra de Oroquina, located 4 kilometers from the municipality, in the territory of the El Apante community. From the distance we can discover an immense stone that is drawn in the middle of the landscape. From the top of the stone we can contemplate a panorama of the forest reserve, Mangas Verdes, where the thicket of the pine groves is mixed with a Nebliselva forest.
The Cave of La Tuna, only a kilometer from Cusmapa, is the product of the incursions of a prehistoric river in the stones, leaving the formation of curious shapes in the rocky matter.
Finally you can take a dip in the freezing waters of the lagoon, known by the name of la Lagunita, by the inhabitants of the area. It is located half a kilometer from the town. There, the waters of the ravines and streams meet, forming a dam of crystalline waters.
Cusmapa is just beginning in the promotion of its tourist development, is one of the areas less exploited and little known despite having some spectacular attractions. In recent years, infrastructure has been created to cover tourist demand, such as cabins and some modest lodging and dining. There are some tour operators that offer tours to the municipality.
In the municipality of Cusmapa there is a group formed by 37 women who make handicraft of the pine tree. Their crafts are sold nationally and internationally and they have a variety of products, from baskets to earrings.
The patron saint festivities of San José de Cusmapa are celebrated in honor of the Virgin of the Angels, on the 15th of March. Another holiday in this municipality is the day of San José on March 19.
How to get to San José de Cusmapa:
From Managua, if you are going in your own vehicle, you have to go to the exit of Managua towards the north of the country, by the American road.
From Managua, at the Mayoreo terminal, buses leave for the city of Somoto, approximately every two hours. The express ones dilate about 4 hours and average and the routes one hour more approximately. The cost of the trip is about 100 córdobas (about $ 3.75).